We get a lot of questions asking about the best time to visit Canyonlands National Park and what to expect each month of the year.
When planning a Canyonlands National Park vacation, figuring out the best time of year to visit is a big deal.
Use our list below to learn more about what it’s like to visit the park during each season and month to help you plan your vacation.
We share a general travel guide, list of things to do, packing checklist, travel tips and weather information for the different seasons and months at Canyonlands National Park.
Canyonlands National Park is normally open year-round, 24 hours a day. Each district has its own visitor center with operating hours that change with the seasons. Some facilities close in winter.
BEST TIME TO VISIT CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
While there isn’t a bad time to explore Canyonlands, some seasons make visiting more enjoyable than others since most of your time will be outdoors.
Spring at Canyonlands
You will encounter some of the most glorious weather while visiting in the spring.
March: 59° / 30° | April: 67° / 37° | May: 78° / 46°
This is the perfect time of year to explore the Canyonlands hikes at Island in the Sky and Needles!
Keep in mind that Canyonlands, Arches and the Moab area are VERY popular during spring break. We recommend visiting early or later in the afternoon to avoid lines and full parking lots.
Summer at Canyonlands
The summer temperatures at Canyonlands will be HOT!
June: 90° / 56° | July: 95° / 63° | August: 92° / 61°
Be sure to drink plenty of water! Pack all food and water you’ll need since the park is remote and there are no services to buy food. You can fill water bottles at the visitor center.
We recommend an early start when hiking, biking or exploring the park in the summer so you can be outdoors in the cooler part of the day. Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, a sun hat and UV protective clothing!
Fall at Canyonlands
Canyonlands in the fall is a great time to visit. The temperatures are starting to cool down so you can be outdoors most of the day.
September: 84° / 51° | October: 70° / 38° | November: 55° / 27°
We recommend you wear layers since the mornings and evenings will start to get cooler from September to November.
You won’t see colorful leaves in Canyonlands, but it the perfect time to explore the park hiking, biking, driving the off-road trails and enjoying various river activities. Check out these tours for exploring Canyonlands and the Moab area!
Winter at Canyonlands
Winter at Canyonlands is the off-season due to the weather and temperatures.
December: 43° / 18° | January: 42° / 17° | February: 49° / 23°
But if you’re willing to bundle up a bit, you’ll enjoy the quiet, uncrowded experience at the park.
You can avoid crowds and the heat of summer, but visitor services are reduced. You will need to be more self-reliant when visiting in winter.
When the sandstone trails in the park get covered with snow and ice, it can be treacherous. Also the snow can quickly cover cairns, making trails difficult to follow. Snow and ice may also be present in shady spots even if the majority of the snow has melted. We recommend instep crampons or other traction aids.
Another thing to keep in mind, on a recent winter visit, we discovered the roads weren’t plowed into the park. Use your judgement when the park is open, but the road haven’t been plowed. Island in the Sky sits at a high altitude so it takes a bit longer for things to melt there.
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WHERE TO STAY NEAR CANYONLANDS
There are no lodging facilities in the park, but there are campgrounds.
Here are 4 places we recommend:
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Canyonlands.
- Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel.
- Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
- Townhomes south of town – we really like the townhomes in Spanish Valley with kitchen, washer and dryer in the unit and a swimming pool/hot tub (just a 5 minute drive south of Moab).
- Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!
Where to Stay Near Canyonlands Needles
You can visit Needles and stay in Moab, and most people do that.
The town of Monticello is a bit closer to Needles, but the lodging, food and shopping options aren’t as good. It’s a much smaller town than Moab.