Visiting Canyonlands National Park in March

Planning a trip to Canyonlands National Park in March is a wonderful time to visit due to the moderate temperatures.

Use this Canyonlands National Park guide to plan your March vacation. We share tips to avoid the crowds, what to pack, where to stay and things to do at Canyonlands in March.

Canyonlands National Park in March

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!

Check out these Canyonlands itineraries to help you plan your vacation!

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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 in March

The weather at Canyonlands National Park in March perfect! It will be cold in the mornings and evenings, and the daytime temperatures will be just right for exploring the park.

There is not much shade to be found at Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky or Needles Canyonlands, so it’s nice to be in the park on a sunny day when the air isn’t stifling! It makes hiking so much more enjoyable!

Check out our article explaining Canyonlands Island in the Sky vs Needles!

Spring is also awesome to see the flowers that bloom during this time of year at Canyonlands. BUT Utah National Parks are busy in the spring, especially at Canyonlands, Arches and the Moab area.

There will be lines to get into the park, especially on the weekends. There may 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 March

In March the Canyonlands National Park weather will still be cold in the mornings and evenings. But the daytime temperatures will be nice for enjoying outdoor activities.

The average highs are near 64 degrees with the lows around 35.

Keep in mind the weather can be unpredictable if a storm rolls through with rain. Snow could also be a possibility in March.

Dress in layers when visiting Canyonlands in March. We recommend an insulated jacket, fleece jacket, waterproof hiking boots, winter hat, and gloves.

Is Canyonlands National Park Open in March?

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

Is March a Good Time to Visit Canyonlands National Park?

Looking for the best time to Visit Canyonlands National Park?

March 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 early, leave when it gets crowded, then go back in the afternoon!

Things to do at Canyonlands National Park in March

Check out all the fun things to do at Canyonlands National Park during the month of March!

Canyonlands Visitor Centers in March

A stop at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky Visitor Center and Needles Visitor Center is always a good idea! They are open every day in the spring. The park ranger is available to give information about things you are interested in seeing and doing.

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

Canyonlands White Rim
White rim canyons seen from Island in the Sky

Canyonlands Scenic Drives in March

We LOVE the Island in the Sky scenic drive and recommend you stop at all 10 overlooks to enjoy and photograph the landscape at this park! The viewpoints atop the mesa at this park are spectacular!

As you drive through Needles Canyonlands you’ll see the views are quite different. Take time to stop at the pullouts in the park to enjoy the diverse beauty of the colorful stone spires, called needles.

upheaval dome at Canyonlands Island in the Sky
Upheaval Dome Hike

Canyonlands Hiking Trails in March

The Canyonlands hikes in March are so nice because you enjoy the sun being out during the day. This is quite different from summer when you’re sweating and worrying about heat exhaustion.

Remember to stay hydrated and carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack. And since most of the trails are fully exposed to the sun, you’ll need sun protection like a sunhatsunscreen and sunglasses.

Our favorite Island in the Sky hikes are Mesa Arch, Grand View Point, Aztec Butte and Upheaval Dome.

The Canyonlands Needles hikes we recommend are Roadside Ruin, Pothole Point and Cave Spring.

Here’s a list of resources for hiking at Canyonlands:

Mesa Arch at sunrsie by Photo Jeepers
Mesa Arch at sunrise

Canyonlands Photography in March

We do most of our sunrise and sunset photography at Island in the Sky. Our favorite sunrise spots are Grand View Point and Mesa Arch and for sunset we the Colorado River Overlook.

The overlooks along the scenic drive at Island in the Sky are also must-photograph spots. We recommend taking pictures in the morning when the sun isn’t so harsh. If it’s a cloudy day then you’ll be able to take pictures all day!

Check out our Arches & Canyonlands Photography Guide and Itinerary if you’re serious about getting the BEST photos! We share the best photography spots at each park for sunrise, sunset and even night time…and give you our favorite 3 day itinerary! 

milky way over Mesa Arch
Milky way over Mesa Arch

Stargazing at Canyonlands in March

Did you know Canyonlands has the slogan “Half the Park is After Dark”? On a clear night, the sky is literally filled with stars so definitely take one evening to stay after the sun set and LOOK UP!

In March you can see the milky way from 3 to 5 -ish am. Yes, that’s 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 Needles
4×4 Trail at Canyonlands Needles

Canyonlands 4×4 Trails in March

If you want to drive the 4×4 trails in Canyonlands in March, you’ll need to know the up-to-date conditions. Many trails can be impassable if wet. Check with the park rangers for the conditions of the specific trail you want to drive before heading out!

If you’re up for a thrill of a lifetime, and have the right vehicle, we recommend Shafer Trail! It’s a challenging, unpaved backcountry road in Island in the Sky that connects with Moab.

We also enjoy the 4×4 trails at Needles Canyonlands, but check to see if you’ll need a permit for the trail you want to drive.

High-clearance 4WD vehicles with a low range gear (4LO) are required on all off-road trails in Canyonlands. ATVs, OHVs, or UTVs are not permitted inside the park. These 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

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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