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The Hike To Murphy Point Canyonlands National Park

The Hike to Murphy Point Canyonlands National Park

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.

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

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 start of the Murphy Point hike in the Islands in the Sky area

The start of the Murphy Point hike in the Islands in the Sky area

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.

Historic corral at Murphy Point Canyonlands

Historic corral at Murphy Point Canyonlands

Deserted trails under big skies

Deserted trails under big skies

A blast of spring colour

A blast of spring colour

The closer you get to the rim the more spectacular the scenery

The closer you get to the rim the more spectacular the scenery

People admiring the Green River scenery

People admiring the Green River scenery

Looking down at the Green River

Looking down at the Green River

My friend Jo getting close but not too close to the edge

My friend Jo getting close but not too close to the edge

More great views from Murphy Point Canyonlands

More great views from Murphy Point Canyonlands

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. 

What a view from the tent - Murphy Point Canyonlands

What a view from the tent

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.

Stunning views of the Green River Valley

Stunning views of the Green River Valley

Lots of other hikes in the Islands in the Sky Area

Lots of other hikes in the Islands in the Sky Area

Further reading on hikes in Utah national parks

Click on the photo to bookmark to your Pinterest boards.

Murphy Point hike in Canyonlands National Park

 

 

 

 

Leigh McAdam is a Calgary based writer, author, photographer and social media enthusiast with over 57,000 followers. Her blog: HikeBikeTravel is frequently cited as one of the top travel and outdoor adventure blogs in Canada.

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
Co-author of 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. Since you have hiked virtually every trail in Canada, I think you are entitled to a 1.8 mile easy hike. I am sure you hiked it 5 times just for fun. Looks like some beautiful scenery and a gorgeous day.

  2. That is a great shot of you admiring the view. Even though it was a short hike, I’m curious to know if it felt gruelling with the heat? It just looked hot to me. Did you pound back a ton of water?

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