It’s no secret that the most incredible view of Moab’s biggest national park can be found at the Grand View Point in Canyonlands.
If you’re looking to be wow-ed by layers upon layers of rock, canyons, and epic desert landscapes, then you’ve come to the right place.
The Grand View Point Overlook features stunning views of the Green River and Colorado River canyon systems. Canyonlands National Park is enormous and the Grand Viewpoint Trail lets you see the entire park from one stunning overlook trail.
As one of the must-see attractions in Canyonlands, you simply cannot miss the Grand View Point Overlook and trail.
You’ll find layers upon layers of stunning red and white rock formations. Tall buttes and mega-mesas dot the landscape as you make your way to the southern-most point in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park.
I’ve been coming to Moab for over six years. This place is like a second home to me – I simply love the desert scenery here. And between you and me – Canyonlands is my favorite national park.
If you’re looking for expert-level knowledge for visiting the Grand View Point in Canyonlands, you’ve come to the right place.
I’m literally a paid expert in all things outdoors, and Moab is one of my favorite stomping grounds. See the Grand View Point like a local, not a tourist with this mega-epic guide.
About this Guide to Grand View Point in Canyonlands
So in order to soak up all of the desert goodness that the Grand View Point in Canyonlands has to offer, you’ll need this guide. Inside you’ll find:
- The best time to visit Canyonlands
- Where to find the Grand View Point Overlook
- Practical info about the super-simple Grand View Point Trail
- Tips for beating the crowds at Canyonlands
- Nearby attractions
- Additional Canyonlands National Park planning resources
The Best Time to Visit the Grand View Point in Canyonlands
If you’re looking for the best weather, then visit the Grand View Point in the spring or fall. Temps are typically warm, but not too hot during the day and cool at night.
October is a particularly nice time to visit, since the wind is really low as well. Spring offers up a little bit more of a chance for precipitation, which might ruin other things on your Moab itinerary, but the desert flowers and cacti are starting to bloom.
Local Tip: As one of the prettiest national parks in the US, you don’t want to miss the desert blooms!
Although the best time to visit Moab is either the spring or fall months, they are also the most crowded since this is one of the best things to do in the Mighty 5 national parks in Utah.
Winter is another wonderful time to visit Canyonlands if you don’t mind the cold since it’s one of the best national parks to visit in the winter. It’s regularly below freezing at night (and even during the day). However, you’ll find that the place is virtually empty.
Pro Tip: If you get lucky, be sure to check out the Grand View Point in Canyonlands after a light snow. It’s simply jaw-dropping.
Avoid visiting in summer. Period. It’s not only ungodly hot (100-plus degrees in the desert feels more like a blast furnace), but it’s also extremely crowded.
How to Reach the Grand View Point Overlook
To reach the Grand View Point in Canyonlands, you’ll want to head to the Island in the Sky District, which is also home to one of many scenic drives in Moab.
Located 45 minutes north and west of Moab, take the 191 north until you reach a signed junction for road 313. Follow signs for Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Continue straight on that road until you reach the Island in the Sky entrance to Canyonlands.
Next, keep driving, following signs for Grand View Point Overlook. At the end of the main road, you’ll find a large, paved parking area. Start your journey here.
Practical Info About the Grand View Point Trail
The start of the viewpoint features sweeping views and then just keep on going. As one of the best hikes in Canyonlands, the trail is easy to follow.
Overall, this easy, well-marked trail winds its way to the southernmost point of the mesa.
It’s an easy hike with a few carved steps. Overall, it’s not super wheelchair accessible after the first few hundred yards (you’ll want knobby tires), but you’ll get treated with plenty of views right from the car.
- Round Trip Distance: 2 miles
- Elevation Gain: 70 feet
- Approximate Time: 1 hour
- Difficulty: very easy
- Coordinates: 38.3108, -109.8566 (38° 18′ 38.9″N 109° 51′ 23.8″W)
- Cost: it’s $30 for vehicle entry into the park. Or free entry with an America the Beautiful Pass.
- Dog-Friendly: No dogs allowed.
- Trailhead Facilities: Vault toilets, RV/trailer parking
- Highlights: Sweeping views of White Rim Canyon, The Maze, Orange Cliffs, Junction Butte, the La Sal Mountains, and the Needles District.
Soaking in All the Best Views
Once you reach the trailhead, simply follow the cairns. You’ll start off at the official “Grand View Point Overlook,” but if you keep going, the views get even better (hard to believe, I know).
A gentle, well-marked trail takes you along the edge of the canyon where you can see the famous White Rim Road below. The La Sal Mountains sparkle in the distance with their snow-capped peaks.
Pro Tip: Keep your kiddos close, there are no guard rails. A lot of the edges of the mesa are under-cut, making them a little precarious to stand on.
You’ll reach a series of small stairs that go over some hilly features. After that, you’ll get to see views on both sides of the mesa. Off to the north is the Green River canyon system and Orange Cliffs.
Eventually, the mesa comes to an abrupt end after about a mile. There’s a large rock in front of you, scamper your way up it for the ultimate perch along the Grand View Point Trail.
The climb up requires one or two quick scrambling moves, but isn’t anything serious. I did it 2 weeks after shoulder surgery in a sling without any issues.
Head back the way you came, noting the difference in views off towards the larger mesa area.
Pro Tip: Explore a little bit, but stick to hard, rocky surfaces. Avoid stepping on black soil – it’s actually alive!
Beating the Crowds
The Grand View Point in Canyonlands is one of the must-see attractions in the Island in the Sky District, and one of the best hikes in Moab.
That means there will be people since this is one of the best things to do in Moab, Utah. However, when we hiked this trail at around 8 am on a December weekend, it was dead quiet – like only 2 other groups kind of quiet.
Winter is the best time of year to visit if you’re looking for solitude, but pack warm layers! It will certainly be cold!
Since most people opt to watch the sunrise at Mesa Arch, you’d likely have this place to yourself for sunrise. The views would be pretty outstanding for sunset too.
Or, if you’re visiting Mesa Arch, head here right after, before the crowds arrive in the park and make your way back towards the park entrance throughout the day.
There are a lot of amazing nearby attractions to check out. A few of the best things to see include:
- Shaffer Canyon Drive
- White Rim Road
- White Rim Overlook
- Green River Overlook
- Upheaval Dome
- Mesa Arch
- Buck Canyon Overlook
Additional Canyonlands Resources
Planning a trip to Canyonlands? I’ve got you covered with these expert resources:
- The Best Camping in Moab
- Backpacking in Canyonlands
- Mega-Epic Things to Do in Canyonlands (coming soon)