Visiting Canyonlands National Park in April

Located in Utah, Canyonlands has miles of trails, canyons, rivers, and mesas to explore. Canyonlands National Park in April is one of the best times to visit due to the moderate temperatures.

Use this Canyonlands National Park guide to plan your April vacation: things to do, what to pack, where to stay, and more!

visiting Canyonlands in April

It’s nice to be able to explore the park all day long without worrying about the daytime heat during the summer!

But Canyonlands National Park in the spring is a popular season so expect crowds!

You’ll want to be sure pack the right clothing and gear so you can enjoy all the outdoor Canyonlands National Park activities any time of year!

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A Photo Tour of Canyonlands National Park

Take a visual tour through Canyonlands National Park (and Dead Horse Point) to see the stunning landscape in the parks!

Canyonlands National Park in April

Canyonlands National Park is open 24/7. Visit the NPS site to get the updated Canyonlands operating hours.

The weather at Canyonlands National Park in April is a great time to explore the park because it will be cool in the mornings and evenings, and the daytime temperatures aren’t too hot compared to the summer.

But the Utah National Parks get crowded during the peak seasons of spring and fall. Canyonlands, Arches and the Moab area in general is a popular spring break destination so expect crowds!

There will be lines to get into the park, especially on the weekends. There will be cars circling the parking lots looking for a place to park, and the points of interest will be packed with people.

Canyonlands Weather in April

The April Canyonlands National Park weather is pretty much perfect with cooler mornings and evenings, and moderate daytime temperatures. The average highs are near 70 degrees with the lows around 40. Keep in mind the weather can be unpredictable if a storm rolls through with rain.

Dress in layers when visiting Canyonlands in April. A good fleece jacket and waterproof hiking boots are good things to have in the spring.

Things to Do at Canyonlands in April

Here’s a list of all the things to do at Canyonlands National Park during the month of April!

Canyonlands Visitor Centers in April

The Canyonlands Island in the Sky Visitor Center and Needles Visitor Center are open every day in April. The park rangers are there to give you tips and ideas on all the things to do in the park.

You’ll also find exhibits, book and map sales, backcountry permits, picnic area, and general information. Water is available year-round.

hiking at canyonlands in the spring
Cave Spring Trail at Needles

Canyonlands Hiking in April

In April the Canyonlands hikes are so nice because the sun is out and it’s not overly hot. This is quite different from summer when you’re sweating and worrying about heat exhaustion.

It’s important to stay hydrated (water bottles or hydration backpacks) and wear sunscreen!

Most of the hiking trails in both parks are fully exposed to the sun, which is perfect for your visit in April since you aren’t really worrying about finding shade! Here’s a list of easy hike at both districts:

Canyonlands Green River Overlook
Green River Overlook

Canyonlands Scenic Drives in April

The Island in the Sky scenic drive is a must-do activity! Stop at all 10 overlooks to enjoy and take pictures of the views seen atop the mesa in this part of the park!

Driving through Needles Canyonlands the views will be much different since you won’t be looking down into the canyons. Instead, you’ll see colorful stone spires, or needles as you stop at the various pullouts in the park.

Mesa Arch at sunrise
Mesa Arch at sunrise

Photography at Canyonlands in April

Spring photography at Canyonlands is so rewarding, especially at sunrise and sunset.

  • Canyonlands sunrise photo spots at Island in the Sky: Grand View Point and Mesa Arch
  • Canyonlands sunset photo spots at Island in the Sky: Colorado River Overlook and nearby Dead Horse Point!

CHECK OUT our Arches and Canyonlands photography guide to know the best places to take sunrise, sunset and night photos!

We also recommend you stop at all the viewpoints along the scenic drive at Island in the Sky to photograph the stunning canyons below the mesa.

Milky Way over Mesa Arch
Milky Way over Mesa Arch

Canyonlands Stargazing in April

Definitely take one evening to stay after the sun set and LOOK UP! The slogan “Half the Park is After Dark” encourages visiting at night to simply Look up! On a clear night, the sky is literally filled with stars.

In April you can see the milky way from 1 to 5 -ish am. A bit early for most, but rewarding for those who want to make the effort! Canyonlands is a popular destination for astrophotographers so you won’t be alone in the park at night.

Canyonlands National Park is internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing because of its remote location, accessibility, altitude and clear skies.

Offroading at Canyonlands
Offroading at Canyonlands

Canyonlands 4×4 Trails in April

There are fun 4×4 trails at Island in the Sky and Needles. At Island in the Sky we recommend driving the Shafer Trail! If you have the right vehicle, it’s a challenging, unpaved backcountry road in Island in the Sky that connects with Moab.

The 4×4 trails at Needles Canyonlands require high-clearance 4WD vehicles with a low range gear (4LO). Also check to see if you’ll need a permit for the trail you want to drive.

ATVs, OHVs, or UTVs are not permitted inside the park. The 4×4 trails should not be attempted by inexperienced drivers since there is a high risk of vehicle damage that could lead to towing costs in excess of $1,000!

More Canyonlands Activities


Is Canyonlands National Park Open in April?

Canyonlands National Park is open 24/7. Visit the NPS site to get the updated operating hours.

Is April a Good Time to Visit Canyonlands National Park?

Looking for the best time to Visit Canyonlands National Park?

April is a terrific time for visiting Canyonlands National Park! But it’s also a popular spring break month so be sure to enter the park before 8 am, leave when it gets crowded, then go back in the afternoon!

What Park Activities Can You Do April?

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

Where to Stay Near Canyonlands

There are no lodging facilities in the park, but there are campgrounds:

  •  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 Moab – 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).

Plan Your Canyonlands Vacation

Things To Do Near Canyonlands

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