If you’re looking for great scenery and a peaceful, relaxing outing do the hike to Murphy Point in Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky area. It’s all of 1.8 miles one way to the Murphy Point Overlook – with 150 feet of elevation. Once there the views of the western end of Island in the Sky are superb. Reportedly this is a good hike for the morning when the lighting is good or of course at sunset.
I have a tendency to choose longer, harder hikes but sometimes that’s not the right choice. This was one of those times. We’d already checked out the short 1.0 mile loop hike around the famous Mesa Arch so this was a good place to have lunch and be back in time for some R&R before dinner. I had to remind myself that I was on a holiday and I didn’t have to go at my usual frantic pace.
The Murphy Point Trailhead is about an hour’s drive from Moab. Signage is excellent in the park so with a map, available at the Visitor’s Centre, you’d have no problem finding it. You can visit the Canyonlands National Park website for more information.
The trail to Murphy Point Canyonlands
The hike is generally flat with only one small hill – so it’s perfect for families as long as you keep your kids away from the edge.
Just a half mile in from the start of the hike you pass the remains of a historic corral pictured below. You can’t help but wonder what stories these rocks could tell.
Reach a junction. If you go left you end up descending to the White Rim Road so stay right. Hike on a well-used trail admiring views as the land narrows.
On the descent to the overlook, the landscape opens up and the scenery explodes in front of you. At the edge you are treated to jaw-dropping views of Candlestick Tower, the Green River and the White Rim Road – a popular trail for mountain biking John and I had done years ago.
Enjoy some photography, off-trail exploring and hanging out before retracing your steps.
All told you need a couple of hours to do this hike as you’re going to want to spend some time at the edge just soaking in the view.
Camping at the Murphy Point Overlook
At one point one camping permit per night was given out for Murphy Point. Check at recreation.gov to see if you can find out more information. Certainly when we were there people were camping and it is one magical spot. You would need to cart in water but it’s under 2 miles from the parking lot.
The Green River Overlook
Drive a short distance down the road and then do a quick hike (5 minutes) to the Green River Overlook. From the top at 6,000 feet you can see The White Rim Road, the Maze, the Green River, Cleopatra’s Chair, Turk’s Head, Ekker Butte and even more notable rock formations.
It’s definitely worth a side trip.
Further reading on hikes in Utah national parks
- The Devil’s Garden Hike in Arches National Park
- A Sunrise Visit to Deadhorse Point State Park in Utah
- The sunset hike to Balanced Rock, Arches National Park
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