Canyonlands is a National Park in Utah with a stunning landscape of canyons, mesas, buttes, and rivers. Here’s everything you need to know to visit Canyonlands National Park in August.
This time of year is HOT and crowded so use our Canyonlands National Park guide to plan your August vacation.
You’ll find tips to avoid the crowds, things to do, what to pack, where to stay and activities to do when visiting Canyonlands in August.
Canyonlands National Park is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Located in southeastern Utah, Canyonlands is a vast expanse of red rock canyons, mesas and buttes that will take your breath away.
Use our Canyonlands Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in August! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!
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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!
Visiting Canyonlands National Park in August
You won’t find shade when visiting Canyonlands Island in the Sky or Needles. In August plan to do all outdoor activities in the morning and late afternoons.
All five Utah National Parks are crowded during the summer. Canyonlands, Arches and the Moab area in general are popular destinations. We recommend getting into Canyonlands early to avoid the line of cars at the gate.
Canyonlands Weather in August
The Canyonlands National Park weather will be HOT. The average highs in August are 97 and the lows are 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The morning temperatures are just right for hiking, biking and exploring the park!
Is August a Good Time to Visit Canyonlands?
Due to the heat, we don’t find August to be the best time to visit Canyonlands National Park. But August is a good time for milky way photography!
We prefer the other three seasons for a Canyonlands vacation:
- Canyonlands National Park in the Spring
- Canyonlands National Park in the Fall
- Canyonlands National Park in the Winter
Arches & Canyonlands AUDIO TOUR
“Download the app to your phone – no cell or wifi service needed. Based on your GPS location, the app takes you on a guided tour of the park and points out all the interesting features and stops. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you.”
Things to Do at Canyonlands in August
Here’s a list of Canyonlands National Park summer activities that you can enjoy during your visit: hiking, camping, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fishing, exploring the many scenic overlooks and geological features.
Canyonlands Visitor Center in August
Definitely stop at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky Visitor Center and Needles Visitor Center when you first arrive at the parks. They are open every day in the summer. It’s a good time to talk to the park ranger about things you are interested in seeing and doing, as well as get tips and ideas from them as well.
You’ll find exhibits, book and map sales, backcountry permits, picnic area, and general information. Water is available here year-round.
Ranger- Led Programs in August at Canyonlands
There are fun and interactive ranger-led programs where you’ll learn about the natural and cultural resources at Canyonlands National Park.
Join a ranger for a talk, hike, or evening program. Check the website for the most updated schedule of events.
Canyonlands Scenic Drives in August
In August the Island in the Sky scenic drive is a nice activity to enjoy the AC in your vehicle as you stop at the various overlooks. There are 10 viewpoints from atop the mesa to see and photograph the canyons and landscape at this park!
Remember it will take 1.5 hours from Moab to reach Needles Canyonlands. The views there are quite a bit different from Island in the Sky. Stop at all pullouts to enjoy the diverse beauty at the various points of interest.
We recommend the Canyonlands GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.
Boating in August at Canyonlands
The Colorado and Green Rivers offer miles and miles of flatwater for canoes, sea kayaks and shallow-water boats. There are also sections for whitewater river rafting! August is a great time to enjoy the river section of Canyonlands!
Private Permits: You must have a Canyonlands river permit for all private river trips. You may reserve overnight permits up to four months before the following seasons and reservations close two days prior to a launch date. Day use permits are available year round.
Guided Trips: There are local outfitters in Moab that offer half-day to week-long guided trips with several nights of camping.
Hiking at Canyonlands in August
We highly recommend exploring at least one of the Canyonlands National Park summer hikes. There are hundreds of miles of easy, moderate and strenuous trails to choose from.
In August it’s a MUST to stay hydrated and use sun protection while hiking!
The Island in the Sky hikes we recommend: Mesa Arch, Grand View Point, Aztec Butte and Upheaval Dome.
We like the easier Canyonlands Needles hikes like Roadside Ruin, Pothole Point and Cave Spring. There are a few popular difficult hikes as well: Chelser Park Loop and Druid Arch trails.
Photography in August at Canyonlands
Sunrise and sunset are the best times for Canyonlands National Park photography. To photograph sunrise at Island in the Sky we like Grand View Point and Mesa Arch. And for the sunset we like the Colorado River Overlook.
All the viewpoints along the scenic drive at Island in the Sky provide landscape views you’ll want to photograph as well!
Summer wildfires can create smoky and hazy skies that can produce a neat effect in your photos, but may not provide the crisp images you are hoping for.
If you’re serious about photography, check out our Arches & Canyonlands Photography Guide and Itinerary. We share the best photography spots at each park for sunrise, sunset and even night time…and give you our favorite 3 day itinerary!
Stargazing in August at Canyonlands
Canyonlands has the slogan: “Half the Park is After Dark”. Take the time spend one evening after the sun sets and LOOK UP!
In August you can see the milky way from 9:30pm to 1:30am. Canyonlands is a popular destination for astrophotographers because it’s internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing due to the remote location, accessibility, altitude and clear skies.
Biking in August at Canyonlands
You can ride on any public roadway at The Needles and Island in the Sky. You must ride single file. There are no road shoulders or bike lanes.
In August it will be HOT so plan to ride in the morning!
You’ll find hundreds of miles of roads for mountain biking for day trips and overnight trips:
- Overnight Trips: must have a Canyonlands overnight backcountry permit. Reservations for White Rim campsites are very competitive so plan to make a reservation up to four months in advance.
- Day Trips: must have a Canyonlands day-use permit for White Rim, Elephant Hill, Lavender Canyon, and Peekaboo/Horse Canyon roads.
If you’ll be riding on 4WD roads, there are no shoulders or bike lanes so be aware of passing vehicles.
4×4 Trails in August at Canyonlands
We LOVE driving the Shafer Trail! It’s a challenging, unpaved backcountry road in Island in the Sky that connects with Moab. It’s got steep drop-offs so it might not be good for those with a fear of heights!
There are also a few 4×4 trails at Needles Canyonlands, but check to see if you’ll need a permit for the trail you want to drive.
At Canyonlands, high-clearance 4WD vehicles with a low range gear (4LO) are required on all off-road trails – no ATVs, OHVs, or UTVs are allowed inside the park.
You can rent Jeeps in Moab, but these trails should not be attempted by inexperienced drivers. There is a high risk of vehicle damage on many trails in Canyonlands that could lead to towing costs in excess of $1,000!
You might consider taking a guided 4×4 tour instead:
Canyonlands Tours in August
With experienced guides on Canyonlands National Park tours, you can explore all the amazing sights the park has to offer and make sure you don’t miss anything.
Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of Canyonlands National Park tours available to fit your needs: guided hikes, canyoneering, photography, and river rafting!
- All-Day Hiking Tour at Canyonlands National Park
- 3-Day Backpacking Tour in Canyonlands National Park
- Sunrise Photography: Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point
- Mountain Bike Tour in Canyonlands National Park
- Canyonlands Cataract Canyon Rafting Tour
Canyonlands Camping in August
August will be a hot time for Canyonlands National Park camping:
- Island in the Sky Campground is a small campground with 12 sites. It is fully operational all-year-round, but the sites fill quickly.
- Needles Canyonlands camping you’ll find 26 individual camping sites and three group sites around the Needles district.
If you can’t find a spot in the park, there are many RV parks near Canyonlands National Park where you can camp!
To enjoy a more elevated type of camping, check out the options for glamping near Canyonlands National Park!
BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps