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Island in the Sky

Canyonlands Island in the Sky

Canyonlands National Park's Island in the Sky District sits high on a mesa more than 1,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. From its lofty perch are endless views of the landscapes beyond. Island in the Sky is only a 40-minute drive from Moab, making it easy to visit during your stay. There is much to see and do at the Park: Stop by the visitor center, drive the paved scenic drive to spectacular views along the way, hike its many trails, camp, experience the star-filled night skies, and drive the four-wheel-drive roads that access backcountry areas for day or overnight trips.

Plan Your Visit

The Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park is located in Southeastern Utah, 32 miles (51.5 km) from Moab. Driving time to the visitor center from Moab is about 40 minutes. To reach the Island, drive 10 miles (16 km) north of Moab or 22 miles (35 km) south of I-70 on US 191. Turn onto UT 313, and then drive southwest 22 miles (35 km).

 

Park hours:  Canyonlands Island in the Sky is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Note: the entrance road can sometimes close in winter for short periods after winter storms.

Visitor Center:   The visitor center hours vary by season.  

Entrance Fees You can pay at the park entrance station or online at pay.gov.
Admission to Canyonlands National Park is good for seven days.

Private Vehicle - $30.00
Motorcycle - $25.00
Per Person (bicyclists, hikers, and pedestrians) - $15.00
Youth 15 and under are admitted free.

Park map: A digital version of the Island in the Sky map is available here. You will receive a copy of the Canyonlands Official Map & Guide (which includes a map of the entire park) when you enter the park (at the fee booth or visitor center). Or you can purchase the map & guide at CNHA's online store.

Things to Know

Can I ride my ATV/UTV in Canyonlands? ATVs, UTVs and OHVs are not permitted in the park. Motorbikes must be highway-legal.

Can I drive to the Needles District from Island in the Sky? Island in the Sky is located on the top of an isolated mesa. The paved road into the park does not connect to any other paved roads or to other districts of the park. You will exit the Island on the same road you came in on to exit the park and return to Highway 191.

Can I take my pet? Activities with pets are very limited at Canyonlands. Pets are not allowed on hiking trails or anywhere in the backcountry. Pets are not allowed to accompany you if you are traveling by four-wheel-drive vehicle, mountain bike or boat.
Car temperatures rise quickly in the sun, even on cool days. Your pet can easily die of heat exhaustion. If you are leaving a pet in a car, crack the windows as much as possible and leave water to drink. We recommend you not leave pets in the car at all when temperatures are above 68 degrees F (20 degrees C), even with the windows cracked.

Can I get gas in the park?  There is no food, gas, lodging or other services in the park. The nearest amenities are in Moab, 32 miles (51.5 km) from the Island. Visit discovermoab.com for details.

Will my cell phone work at Island in the Sky?Cell phone coverage is poor to nonexistent throughout Canyonlands.

What’s the weather like?  Check the Canyonlands National Park website for weather information or stop by the Moab Information Center for the latest weather, road and trail conditions.

Safety:  Hydration is essential in the desert, even in winter. Take and drink lots of water as you explore the park. Protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen, wearing a hat and light-colored clothing.  Wear sturdy shoes.
Water is available seasonally at the visitor center. NOTE: There is no water available elsewhere in the park; bring all that you will need.

Help protect the park: Every Step Counts! Help us protect the dark lumpy biological soil crusts during your visit. Biological soil crust is a living groundcover that forms the foundation of high desert plant life in Canyonlands and the surrounding area. Please walk only on trails, rock or in sandy washes (where water flows when it rains), and keep all vehicles and bikes on designated roads.

Things to Do

Canyonlands Island in the Sky ranger talk

Visitor Center: Stop into the Island in the Sky Visitor Center to see exhibits, watch a park orientation video and shop the park store.  Rangers are on hand to answer questions you might have about the park. Water is available seasonally. NOTE: The only water available at Island in the Sky is at the visitor center. Water is available seasonlly, so bring all that you will need.

Interpretive Programs: Learn more about the natural and cultural resources at Canyonlands National Park. Join a ranger for a talk, hike, or evening program. Check here or check at the visitor center for times and locations.

DrivingThe paved 34-mile (55 km) round-trip scenic drive leads to many spectacular overlooks and trailheads along the way. Plan on spending at least an hour in the park in order to drive out to Grand View Point. You'll need more time to enjoy additional overlooks or explore some of the short trails.

Canyonlands National Park White Rim RoadWhite Rim Road: The 100-mile (160km) White Rim Road loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top providing expansive views of the surrounding area. Under favorable weather conditions, the White Rim Road is moderately difficult for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles, and a challenging mountain bike ride. This backcountry area requires a permit for day-use and overnight stays. Trips usually take two to three days by four-wheel-drive vehicle or three to four days by mountain bike. Learn more about the White Rim Road.

Hiking: Whether you prefer a short, easy hike or a longer more strenuous experience, you'll find lots of different hiking options at the Island. Visit the Island in the Sky hiking page for detailed information.

Camping at Canyonlands National ParkCamping: Sites at Willow Flat Campground are available year-round: first-come, first-served. There are 12 sites with tables, fire grills, and vault toilets. Firewood and water are not available. You can get drinking water outside the visitor center spring through fall. Sites are $15 per night (Interagency Passes honored).

Other Activities: Island in the Sky offers lots of different ways to enjoy the park. Click here to discover the many things to do at Island in the Sky

Sample Itineraries

Island in the Sky Visitor Center

Make the visitor center your first stop. Shop the store, watch the park movie. Ask about ranger programs. Get current information on trails, roads and weather. 
Then head into the Park!
In 2 hours you can: Drive to Grand View Point or Green River Overlook. Hike the easy 1/2 mile (0.8 km) trail to Mesa Arch.
If you have 4 hours: Drive to Grand View Point, Green River Overlook, and Upheaval Dome. Hike the Grand View Point, Mesa Arch, and Upheaval Dome Overlook trails.
If you have 8 hours: Drive the scenic road visiting every overlook. Hike several shorter trails or one of the more strenuous trails descending to the White Rim. Enjoy lunch on the trail, or picnic at White Rim Overlook or Upheaval Dome picnic areas.
Sunrise and Sunset: Visit Mesa Arch at dawn. Visit Green River Overlook or Grand View Point at dusk for colorful sunset views. Hike to the top of Aztec Butte or Whale Rock for a spectacular views.

Visit the NPS Canyonlands Island in the Sky web page for more information about the park.

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