Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park
Fast Facts

BEST

  for

KIDS

ADDRESS
County Road 142
Canyonlands National Park
Utah 84532
CONTACT
ACTIVITIES
Interpretive Programs
Hiking
Camping
 
 
More about Canyonlands
KID-FRIENDLY HOTELS
 
Points of Interest Nearby
 
 

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Traveler
   Rating
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Set high on vertical sandstone cliffs, Island in the Sky commands spectacular views of spires, fins and canyons, independent of the direction you look. Yet the vistas aren't the only attraction at this Canyonlands district. Erosion and weathering, responsible for the monoliths you see, will one day transform this mesa top into an inaccessible butte. The family-oriented, ranger-led programs are about things kids like: biological soil crust and potholes as well as drawing and pantomime. Miles of trails both short and long make Island in the Sky a great place to explore on foot. The nearly 20 miles of paved scenic drive ensure this section of Canyonlands National Park easy to navigate. But be sure there are no guardrails here.
Getting There
 
Island in the Sky Visitor Center is located just 32 miles (51km) from Moab making it the most accessible of the three districts at Canyonlands. From Moab and Arches National Park take US 191 north to Highway 313. Families in search of an adventure may want to make the return trip along Shafer Trail and Potash Roads. (A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for this route.)
Getting Around
 
Island in the Sky is the easiest Canyonlands district to navigate in a short period of time. The nearly 20 miles of scenic drive are paved and there are a variety of pullouts and overlooks with short picturesque trails. Aztec Butte, Grand View Point, Mesa Arch, Whale Rock and Upheaval Dome are all under 2 hours and have minimal elevation gain. The long hikes, in general, are graded strenuous due to a significant elevation gain and loss. Most follow switchbacks from the mesa top to White Rim bench. Of note, none of the trails at Canyonlands have guardrails.
Hours & Times
 
Canyonlands National Park is open 24 hours a day year-round. The Island in the Sky Visitor Center is open daily 9:00-16:30 from November through February with extended hours from March to October. The Visitor Center is closed December 25. Ranger-led interpretive programs are offered mid-March through October. Many of the programs are family-oriented and offer kids a chance to earn a junior ranger badge. The program schedule is posted at the Visitor Center.
Admission & Fees
 
A day use fee, valid for 7 consecutive days, is charged per vehicle unless you traveling by foot, bicycle or motorcycle in which case the fee is per person. Campground fees are charged separately. An activity fee is charged for backcountry permits whether you are hiking, mountain biking, rafting, horseback riding or four wheeling. Backcountry permits can be reserved in advance or purchased on site at the various visitor centers.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
There are no stores, concessions or gas stations on park grounds. Bottled water is available for purchase at the visitor center only. Trail guides are available at the visitor center and some trailheads.
 
Traveler Reviews

BEST

  for

KIDS

Go with the flow

Submitted on 29 December 2007 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
Traveler
   Rating
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
When we planned our outing at Island in the Sky we thought a half-day would be enough. We spent nearly the entire day and could have stayed longer without boring the kids. Island in the Sky is nearly an hour from Moab, each way. Both Green River and Grand View Point are a drive from the entrance. Even if you only take one hike, each lookout calls for another shot. And taking pictures takes time. Of note, the ranger-led family programs are well worth the hour. Not only are the topics of interest to the kids, they provide kids a chance to learn by doing.
Was this review helpful?  Yes   No
Write a Review
Traveler
   Rating
Best
 for
Kids
Preview & Post
Books for Kids about Utah
Travel Trivia
Spanish is the official language of:
Free Travel Journal
Get a free kids travel journal to document your family vacation.
Download PDF