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


    National Park Utah

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  • Some unpaved roads are closed

    Recent rains have caused extensive damage to some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »

  • Safety in Bear Country

    Black bears have been seen in the Needles, Maze, and along the Colorado River. Be alert and store food and garbage properly: in hard-sided, latched containers (or your vehicle) when not being prepared or consumed. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

    Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »

Short Hikes at the Island

photo: Hikers on the Grand View Point Trail
Hikers on the Grand View Point Trail
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert

Several trails explore the mesa top with minimal elevation change. Each of these trails highlights some aspect of the park's natural or cultural history. Printed guides are available at some trailheads and in the visitor center.

Aztec Butte Trail
Length: 2 mi/3 km round-trip
Start: Aztec Butte parking area
Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation Change: 225 ft/69 m
A steep climb up a slickrock dome leads to some ancestral Puebloan granaries and outstanding views of Taylor Canyon.

Grand View Point Trail (see photo above)
Length: 2 mi/3 km round-trip
Start: Grand View Point
Time: 1 hour
An easy walk out to the very end of the Island in the Sky mesa. Panoramic views.

Mesa Arch Trail
Length: .5 mi/.8 km round-trip
Start: Mesa Arch parking area
Time: 30 minutes
A mild walk out to an arch perched right on a cliff edge. A popular sunrise photograph.

Upheaval Dome Overlook Trail
Length: 1 mi/1.5 km to first overlook, round-trip
Start: Upheaval Dome parking area
Time: 30 minutes
Elevation Change: 100 ft/30 m
Good view of a very intriguing rock formation. Hiking to the second overlook adds 1 mi/1.5 km and 50 ft/15 m elevation change.

Whale Rock Trail
Length: 1 mi/1.5 km round-trip
Start: Near Upheaval Dome parking area
Time: 1 hour
Elevation Change: 100 ft/30 m
A short climb up Whale Rock leads to views of Upheaval Dome and the surrounding area.

Neck Spring Trail
Length: 5.8 mi/9.3 km round-trip
Start: Shafer Canyon Overlook parking area
Time: 3-4 hours
Elevation Change: 300 ft/91 m
This loop trail passes historic ranching features as well as two springs and diverse desert plant life.

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...