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Trip Destination: Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park spans 337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah's high desert. Split into three distinct districts with no roads that directly link them together, there's plenty to explore whether you choose to visit Island in the Sky, The Maze, or The Needles.

Note: Canyonlands - especially The Maze District - is a very remote area, perhaps the most remote I've visited. Plan accordingly. There is no fuel or water for miles, carry plenty of extra. If you are travelling alone, be extremely cautious - if you get stuck out here, it could be many days before someone else comes along to help.

If you do decide to go to Canyonlands National Park, you're definitely going to need a National Park pass, and are likely to need a permit - both for day use as well as camping. Of course, calling ahead to understand current road conditions is a must as well.

  • Canyonlands entrance fee - while there are no fee booths at the entrance, your entrance fee is what helps to maintain the park. It's a small price to pay for the enjoyment you will receive. Additionally, as the visitor population in Canyonlands is reasonably well regulated, Park Rangers will almost always ask to see your pass.
  • Permits for backcountry use - this includes day use permits, overnight backcountry permits, and campground permits. As with your entrance fee, expect to run into at least one Park Ranger who will ask to see your paperwork.
  • Current road conditions - things can change quickly in the wilderness.

Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (Jul 2023)

As always, we wanted to run a BDR this summer, and I'd had my eye on Colorado or Utah as both are always beautiful states through which to travel. With record snowfall across the west, we realized a few weeks before our departure date that Colorado was completely out of the question, and even portions of the Utah route could still be blocked by snow. Still, the Utah BDR is an iconic route. Meandering 871-miles through the Valley of Gods, climbing the Moki Dugway, picking the perfect route through the rough roads of Lockhart Basin, and winding through four mountain ranges…

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An Island in the Sky at the Top of the World (Feb 2021)

When my buddy Ben asked if I wanted to go to the Island District of Canyonlands National Park in order to run the White Rim Trail, I was pretty pumped. While I've been to the other districts - The Maze and The Needles - I've never been to The Island in the Sky, and have always heard about how beautiful it is; some even describe it as the Crown Jewel of the park. With a plan to meet in Moab on a Thursday just after lunch, I set out on the long drive south Wednesday. My plan was to arrive…

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Ruining Around Utah (Mar 2019)

I've been to Canyonlands National Park before, but only to The Maze District. This, my first trip to The Needles District would be an experience I won't soon forget. We'd spend a week roaming around Utah, running the Elephant Hill trail and making our way into Beef Basin. We'd hike to the Druid Arch - a spectacular trek through cany and over red rock that is worth every moment of soreness you'll feel when it's over. And then, as if everything we'd seen wasn't enough, we'd head to Natural Bridges National Monument for the full tour. I must admit, it's…


The Maze, Canyonlands (Mar 2018)

This was our first trip to Canyonlands, and as such, our first to The Maze District as well. With three days to explore, we made the most of our time - entering the park from Poison Springs Canyon Road, and making our way out to the Doll House. A night there is like no other, and I highly recommend it if your vehicle is capable of the arduous journey. From there, we headed up the Flint Trail switchbacks to Panorama Point - a view unlike any other we'd seen to date. Of course, the view was a little different when…

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