• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)

    Canyonlands

    National Park Utah

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Backpacking at the Island

photo: Hiking up the Murphy Trail
Hiking up the Murphy Trail
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert
 

The Island is a challenging place to backpack. The landscape below the mesa top is a mixture of talus slopes and vast basins without any reliable water sources. Some routes lead below the White Rim Road to the rivers, but river water is silty and difficult to purify. All overnight routes involve a descent of over 1,000 feet, except Murphy Point which is on the mesa top and is an ideal destination for single-night trips.

Backpackers camp at-large unless traveling along the Syncline Trail where there is a designated site. A permit is required for all overnight trips.

Did You Know?

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert bighorn sheep live year-round in Canyonlands. These animals make their home along the rivers, negotiating the steep, rocky talus slopes with ease. Once in danger of becoming extinct, desert bighorns are making a tentative comeback thanks to the healthy herds in Canyonlands. More...