Visiting Canyonlands National Park in October

Canyonlands National Park in October is one of the best times to visit due to the moderate temperatures.

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

But Canyonlands in the fall is a popular season so be prepared for crowds!

Use this guide to help you decide if an October vacation to Canyonlands is the right time for you to enjoy outdoor adventures at this park.

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To get the most out of visiting this park, you must be prepared with the right clothing and gear.

DOWNLOAD our Canyonlands National Park packing list for summer and winter.

Hiking Shoes – Injuries from improper footwear is a common problem that casual visitors and hikers encounter. To make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible, avoid smooth-soled shoes and only wear sturdy shoes with ample tread.  → Check out the Merrell Moab hiking shoes we use.

Hydration and Food – Due to the high desert and altitude in Southeastern Utah, you should drink at least one gallon of water per day, and always carry water with you during all hiking activities. Eat plenty of healthy snacks and food. → We use Camelbak hydration packs or carry Hydroflask bottles in our packs.

Lip Balm and Lotion – Utah’s high elevation and dry air can be hard on your skin. You’ll want to carry lip balm with sunscreen and hydrating lotion to apply as needed when you’re out exploring the trails.

Clothing – Summers in the park mean soaring temperatures, unrelenting sunlight, and low humidity. To keep cool, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing that does not absorb sunlight. Also avoid sun burn by wearing a wide brimmed hat and by generously applying sunscreen to any parts of your body that are exposed to the sun.

During the winter, wearing the right clothing is important to stay dry and warm. Take note that snow and ice can accumulate and make popular trails quite slippery. That’s why trekking poles and traction devices for your shoes are essential. It’s also just as easy to become dehydrated in the cold as it is in the heat. It’s important to carry plenty of water during the winter, and not just during the summer.

During spring and fall, it’s all about layers! The mornings and evenings will be cool so have a fleece jacket handy!

National Parks Pass – Before you visit Arches National Park be sure to pack your The America the Beautiful Annual Pass.

Other items we recommend – US national parks packing list

But above all else, always make sure to carry enough food, water, and other essentials since Canyonlands is a remote park with few services and reliable sources of freshwater. 


The weather at Canyonlands National Park in October 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.

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


You may not know this, but the national parks in Utah get crowded during the peak seasons of spring and fall.

Canyonlands, Arches and the Moab area in general is a popular destination in the fall so expect crowds!

In October you may still find lines to get into the park, especially on the weekends. The points of interest and hiking trails at Canyonlands may be busy.

photograph canyonlands in the spring


The weather at Canyonlands National Park in October is “just right” with cooler mornings and evenings, and daytime temperatures are still moderate.

Keep in mind the weather can be unpredictable if a storm rolls through with rain.

The average highs are near 70 degrees with the lows around 40.

We recommend you carry a fleece jacket when visiting in October.


Hiking at Canyonlands in October is 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.

Remember to carry water, stay hydrated and wear sunscreen!

Most of the Island in the Sky Hikes and trails at Needles are fully exposed to the sun, which is perfect for your visit in October since you aren’t really worrying about finding shade!

Canyonlands Needles spires


Fall photography at Canyonlands is so rewarding.

CHECK OUT our 3 day photography guide for Arches & Canyonlands National Park to capitalize on all the best places and times to take pictures in the park!

Mesa Arch at sunrise is the most popular photo spot in Canyonlands. In October, you won’t have this location to yourself so be patient.

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!

→ CHECK OUT: 3 Day Photography Guide for Arches & Canyonlands National Parks


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 October you can see the milky way right after sunset. It will set around 9:30 pm so it’s a short window to capture this amazing astrophotography image!

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

Canyonlands is a popular destination for astrophotographers so you won’t be alone in the park at night.

Be courteous to other photographers in the area by using a headlamp with a red light!

milky way at canyonlands in the spring


Is Canyonlands National Park Open in October?

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

Is October a Good Time to Visit Canyonlands National Park?

October is a terrific time to plan a vacation to Canyonlands! But October is also month where people like to come to the area when the temperatures are more moderate.

Our tip is to enter the park before 8 am, leave when it gets crowded, then go back in the afternoon!

What Park Activities Can You Do October?


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

There are no lodging facilities in the park, but there is one campground.

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.

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