Canyonlands National Park
If you are looking for an easy, yet stunning out-and-back trail that showcases the splendour of Canyonlands National Park, the Grand View Point Trail is one for you. This easy 2-mile hike follows the canyon edge to the southernmost tip of the district known as Island in the Sky.
Hiking the Grand View Point Trail in Canyonlands National Park
Island in the Sky is one of the three districts that make up Canyonlands National Park in Utah; the others being the Needles and the Maze.
It is a high mesa and from its cliffs you can look out upon the complex network of canyons that have been woven into the landscape by the Colorado and Green Rivers.
Every viewpoint along this district’s rim offers memorable vistas. However, if you fancy a viewing spectacular combined with a gentle hike, the Grand View Point Trail could be just what you are looking for.
Where is the Grand View Point Trail?
The Grand View Point Trail is situated at the southernmost point of the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands.
Where to park for the Grand View Point Trail?
There is a dedicated car park located immediately adjacent to the trailhead which is highlighted on this map with an orange ‘P’.
How to get to the Grand View Point Trail?
Turn off US Route 191 onto UT 313, approximately 11 miles (17.5 km) north of Moab. After 14 miles, the UT 313 turns breaks to the left, in the direction of Dead Horse State Park.
However, continue straight at this point onto Grand View Point Road and follow this road until you reach the parking area. The distance to the parking area from the junction with US Route 191 is approximately 34 miles (54 km).
Grand View Point Trail Description
The Grand View Point Trail commences on the south side of the parking area and you don’t have to wait long to be blessed with special views. Then, within 100 metres you arrive at Grand View Point overlook.
If you were in any doubt as to how Canyonlands got its name, it will now become apparent as you gaze out from the top of the sheer sandstone cliffs over the dramatic canyon-embedded landscape 1,000 feet (304 m) below.
Here you will also find a couple of very useful information boards, one of which points out many of the prominent features that create the panorama in front of you.
These include the La Sal Mountains, Abajo Mountains, Colorado River Canyon, Monument Basin and the White Rim Road that winds its way around Island in the Sky.
Leaving the viewpoint, it is simply a case of following the cliff-top trail in a southwesterly direction. Then, when the trail begins to veer back inland, let the stone cairns guide you to the end.
The Grand View Point Trail terminates at the cliff edge, alongside a large boulder formation. If, like us, you fancy enjoying an even better view of the surroundings, climbing atop this rock grouping is the perfect spot to take a break and soak in the magical landscape.
It is also here that you get the very best views of Junction Butte, sitting majestically 1 mile (1.61 km) off the south-westerly tip of Grand View Point.
Once you have had your fill of the staggering views, simply retrace your steps back to the car park at Grand View Point overlook.
Grand View Point Trail – Our Thoughts
If you want to get a sense of what Canyonlands is all about, this is a great spot to do it. From this wonderful vantage point, you can pick out so much more than just the network of canyons that give this park its name.
The trail is never too far from the sheer cliffs and it’s a long way down, so be extra careful especially if you are visiting with young children.
Also, be aware that there is no shelter to be had along the route, so if you are visiting during the hotter months (May-September) make sure you bring a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.
Grand View Point Trail – Q & As
How long does the Grand View Point Trail take?
You should be able to complete the hike in approximately 1 hour.
How long is the Grand View Point Trail?
2 miles (3.22 km)
Is the Grand View Point Trail difficult?
No, this is a fairly easy trail.
Is the trail dangerous?
I would not say that the trail is dangerous per se but there are certainly potential dangers owing to the fact that the trail is never too far from sheer cliffs.
Are dogs allowed on the trail?
No. Pets are not allowed on any hiking trail or overlook in Canyonlands National Park. However, there are designated areas where pets are permitted within the Park. Discover where these are.
What else is there to do in the Island of the Sky District?
There is so much to do in this district of Canyonlands. It just depends on how much time you have at your disposal. We only had one day to visit both Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, so we had to be very selective.
In addition to the Grand View Point Trail, we also opted for the Mesa Arch Trail which is another short but worthwhile hike.
We also had time to visit the following three viewpoints:
- Shafer Canyon Overlook
- Shafer Canyon Viewpoint
- Green River Overlook
Again, all of these are spectacular and well worth adding to your list of things to do when visiting the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands. However, this is just a small selection of what this district has to offer. Discover all the other great activities available in Island in the Sky.
Have you experienced this trail?
If you have, please share your experience with us and our readers. If you have any questions that we have not answered here, please let us know and we will get back to you just as quickly as we can.
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