Visiting Canyonlands National Park in November

Canyonlands has become a popular Utah National Park for outdoor enthusiasts. Canyonlands National Park in November is a great time to go to enjoy the outdoors because the weather is pretty much perfect!

Use this Canyonlands National Park guide that includes everything you need to know to plan your November vacation. We share things to do, what to pack. and where to stay during your trip to Canyonlands in November.

visiting Canyonlands in November

Canyonlands is located in southeast Utah with a stunning landscape of canyons, mesas, buttes, and rivers. November is one of our favorite times to visit to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, scenic drives, and more!

We live only a few hours away from Canyonlands so we’ve had the opportunity to visit many times. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically for the month of November!

Check out these done-for-you 1, 2, and 3-day 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 November

The weather at Canyonlands in November is a great time to explore at Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky or Needles Canyonlands because it’s not too hot or too cold.

The two districts are very different and park entrances are about a one hour drive away from each other. Check out our article explaining Canyonlands Island in the Sky vs Needles!

The Utah National Parks in the fall will be crowded at the beginning of the month, on weekends, and on the FREE National Park entrance day on Veterans Day in November!. By the end of November things are starting to wind down and aren’t as busy!

Canyonlands Weather in November

The weather at Canyonlands National Park in November begins to really cool down. You’ll find cold mornings and evenings, and daytime temperatures are a bit cool.

The average highs are around 56 degrees with the lows around 30 in November. And if a rain storm rolls in the weather can be unpredictable.

You’ll want layers at Canyonlands during November for the colder mornings and evenings:

If you’re not used to Utah’s dry air, you’ll also want lip balm and lotion!

Is November a Good Time to Visit Canyonlands?

November may not be best time to visit Canyonlands National Park for everyone. The weather is pretty chilly in the mornings and evenings, but just about perfect during the day.

The one thing we LOVE about visiting Canyonlands in November is that we can enjoy outdoor activities all day long and not worry about the heat like you do in the summer.

Things to Do at Canyonlands in November

Here’s a list of Canyonlands National Park fall activities you can do in November: hiking trails, scenic drives, stunning viewpoints and photo spots! 

There are fun ways to get everyone excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Canyonlands Ranger-Led Programs in November

The Visitor Centers should be your first stop – check the NPS website for operating hours in November.

They are open every day in the September. Take time to talk to the park ranger to get information about things you are interested in seeing and doing. Get tips and ideas on other things to do as well! 

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

There are fun and interactive Canyonlands ranger-led programs where you’ll learn about the natural and cultural resources at the park. Join a ranger for a talk, hike, or evening program. Check the website for the most updated schedule of events.

If you’re visiting Canyonlands National Park With Kids, the Junior Ranger program is a must!

Canyonlands Passport Stamps

Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!!

We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!

Green River Overlook
Green River Overlook

Canyonlands Scenic Drives in November

Due to the elevation at Island in the Sky atop a mesa, the views along the Island in the Sky scenic drive are spectacular!! We recommend you visit all 10 viewpoints.

About 1.5 hours from Moab you’ll find Needles Canyonlands. Be sure to stop at all the pullouts along the main road to enjoy the diverse beauty of the stone spires in this part of the park.

Check out these two scenic drives to see different views of Island in the Sky and Needles!

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.

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Canyonlands Needles

Canyonlands Hiking in November

Exploring the Canyonlands National Park fall hikes in November is awesome because the sun is out and it’s not overly hot. All trails are fully exposed to the sun, which is perfect for your visit in November since you aren’t really worrying about finding shade!

Even though the temperatures are cool, it’s still important to carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack.

Island in the Sky hikes we recommend: Mesa Arch, Grand View Point, Aztec Butte and Upheaval Dome.

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

Aztec Butte at Canyonlands
Aztec Butte at Canyonlands

Photography at Canyonlands in November

It’s no surprise that sunrise and sunset are the best times for Canyonlands National Park photography. Island in the Sky is where we focus most of our photography time.

To photograph Canyonlands sunrise at Island in the Sky we like Grand View Point and Mesa Arch. Keep in mind that in November, you won’t have Mesa Arch to yourself so be patient. Mesa Arch at sunrise is the most popular photo spot in Canyonlands.

PHOTO TIP: The glow on the bottom side of Mesa Arch lasts a long time. We like to wait for all the sunrise photographers to get their shots and leave, then we usually have the place to ourselves!

And for Canyonlands sunset photo spots at Island in the Sky we like the Colorado River Overlook as well as nearby Dead Horse Point State Park.

CHECK OUT our Arches & Canyonlands Photography Guide and 3-day itinerary to capture amazing images at both parks, no matter what type of camera you use!

Stargazing at Canyonlands in November

Canyonlands National Park is an International Dark Sky Park so it’s one of the best places for stargazing! 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 November you won’t be able to see or photograph the Milky Way, but the endless sky of stars is incredible nonethless!

Canyonlands is a popular destination for astrophotographers so you might not be alone in the park at night. Be courteous to other photographers in the area by using a headlamp with a red light!

Jeep in Canyonlands

Canyonlands 4×4 Trails in November

November is one of the best times to enjoy off-roading at Canyonlands. If you want to experience a thrill of a lifetime, drive the Shafer Trail! It’s a challenging, unpaved backcountry road in Island in the Sky that connects with Moab.

And check out the 4×4 trails at Needles Canyonlands too. Some of them require a permit so check in advance 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!

You might consider taking a guided Canyonlands 4×4 tour instead:

Canyonlands Tours in November

One of the best ways to get to know the park is booking a Canyonlands National Park tour! Whether you’re looking for a half-day or full-day excursion, there are plenty of Canyonlands tours available to fit your needs. Here are a few fun Canyonlands Tours to consider in November:

Biking in November 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.

You’ll find hundreds of miles of roads for mountain biking in Canyonlands for day trips and overnight trips:

  • Overnight Biking 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 Biking 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.

RV camper in Canyonlands
RV camper in Canyonlands

Canyonlands Camping in November

November is a great time for Canyonlands National Park camping:

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!

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

Things To Do Near Canyonlands in November

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