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18 Fun & Best Things to Do in Canyonlands National Park

Stormy Sky over Needles District Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is a massive canyon region of Utah divided into four districts where the Green and Colorado rivers converge. Visitors exploring the national park can experience hiking to overlooks, camping, 4x4ing, picnicking, whitewater rafting, helicopter tours, and much more. Whatever you choose to do in its borders, Canyonlands National Park is a must-visit because it offers a lifetime of exploration possibilities and unique experiences. 

From the moment you enter the park, you are welcomed by a massive wilderness and natural elements which are currently divided into four parts: Island in the Sky, The Maze, The Needles, and the Colorado and Green rivers. When standing at any of the park’s countless overlooks, you’ll see miles of colorful landscape, which is home to canyons, arches, mesas, and buttes that were carved by the Colorado River.

Canyonlands National Park is a hidden gem and despite being Utah’s largest national park, the main reason why many people visit the park is for the breathtaking arches, landscape views, and scenic drives. Below, we have put together some of the fun and best things to do in Canyonlands National Park.


  • Best overall hiking trail – Aztec Butte Trail
  • Best activity for kids – Cave Spring Trail and Pothole Point
  • Best activity for adults – 4×4 Adventure Tour
  • Best sunset views – Mesa Arch
  • Best place for a picnic – White Rim Overlook
  • Best area for camping – The Needles
  • Best all-around accommodation – Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab

Fun & Best Things to Do in Canyonlands National Park

1. The Needles District

Stormy Sky over Needles District Canyonlands National Park
Kris Wiktor / Shutterstock

The Needles District is nestled in the park’s southeast corner and derives its name from the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Sandstone that dominate the area. This park area has winding hiking trails spanning over 60 miles, offering plenty of opportunities to see amazing landscapes and experience overnight trips at the campground. Both foot trails and four-wheel-drive roads provide access to park features, including the Tower Ruin, Confluence Overlook, Chesler Park, Joint Trail, and Elephant Hill. 

Additional information is available from the Needles District Visitor Center, which is open daily from spring through fall. The center, run by the National Park Service, has exhibits, backcountry permits, picnic areas, general information, and book and map sales for planning scenic drives. Park…

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