Guide For Visiting Canyonlands National Park in the Fall

There is so much to do, see and photograph at Canyonlands National Park in the fall. The months of September, October and November are wonderful time of year to plan a trip!

Use this Canyonlands National Park guide that includes everything you need to know to plan your fall vacation.

canyonlands in the fall everything you need to know

This guide details all the fun things to do, what to pack, and where to stay when visiting Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Canyonlands Needles in the fall.

Check out these Canyonlands Itineraries for 1, 2, or 3 days in the park!

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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 the Fall

The weather at Canyonlands National Park in the fall 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 National Park Island in the Sky or Needles Canyonlands, 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!

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

Fall is a peak season for Utah National Parks. Canyonlands, Arches and the Moab area in general is a popular destination in the fall so expect crowds!

Is Fall a Good Time to Visit Canyonlands?

The fall months are considered the best times to visit Canyonlands National Park because the weather is perfect for outdoor activities!

You can enjoy being outside from morning to evening biking, hiking, and taking pictures as you explore the scenic drive!

Fall Weather at Canyonlands

Fall is the perfect time to visit Canyonlands National Park. The temperatures during the day range from 55 degrees to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The lows will dip down into the 20s to the 50s. 

  • Canyonlands in September expect to see temperatures range from 84 degrees being the highs to 51 degrees being the lows. 
  • Canyonlands in October the temperatures begin to fall even more. The high for most days is about 70 degrees with the lows fall into the upper 30s. 
  • Canyonlands in November tends to be quite cool with highs are around 55 degrees and the lows can be in the high 20s. 

With the cooler temperatures at night, you will definitely want to bring a fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves for the nights and early mornings. Dressing in layers is especially important as it gets warmer throughout the day. 

Things to Do In Canyonlands National Park in the Fall

Canyonlands is located in Southern Utah located near the fun outdoor adventure town of Moab

There are so many things to do at Canyonlands National Park in the fall like hiking, biking, scenic drives, camping and more!

Canyonlands Visitor Center in the Fall

Make the Canyonlands Island in the Sky Visitor Center your very first spot! It is open every day in the fall.  

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! 

Fall Ranger- Led Programs 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.

sunrise at Grand View Point Canyonlands

Canyonlands Scenic Drives in the Fall

Stunning views is what you’ll find when visiting Canyonlands National Park.

There are 10 overlooks and viewpoints along the Island in the Sky scenic drive to enjoy the vast and spectacular landscape at this park!

You’ll definitely want to have your camera ready to capture the beauty you’ll see!

Driving through Needles Canyonlands, be sure to stop at all pullouts so you can experience the diverse beauty of the stone spires in this part of the park.

We highly recommend getting the Canyonlands GuideAlong Audio Tour: use the suggested itineraries in the app tour plan, or divide the commentary to create your own half, full or multi day sightseeing trips. 

Check out these two scenic drives close to Needles with stunning views of Canyonlands:

Hiking at Canyonlands in the Fall

Hiking is one of the popular activities to do at Canyonlands. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore the park.

There are amazing Canyonlands hikes you can’t miss that include short walks, day hikes and backpacking trails.

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

Canyonlands Needles hikes that are easy: Roadside Ruin, Pothole Point, Cave Spring.

Trails are usually marked with cairns (small rock piles) and have signs at intersections. Many remote trails do not receive regular maintenance and may not be adequately marked. All backcountry hikers should carry a topographic map.

golden glow under Mesa Arch at Canyonlands

Fall Photography at Canyonlands

It’s no surprise we love Canyonlands National Park photography, especially in the fall. Take advantage of the more moderate temperatures, to get some truly epic pictures of Canyonlands throughout the day. 

Our favorite sunrise spots at Island in the Sky are Grand View Point and Mesa Arch. But all the viewpoints along the Island in the Sky Scenic Drive provide stunning landscapes that need to be photographed!

If you’re serious about photography, check out our Arches & Canyonlands Photography Guide and Itinerary. We share the best photography spots broken down by the time of day, and give you our favorite 3 day itinerary! 

Canyonlands Stargazing in the Fall

Did you know that Canyonlands has some of the best stargazing? There’s a saying that says “Half the Park is After Dark”. Take the time to stay in the park on a clear night and you’ll see why!  

Our favorite locations to photograph the stars and milky way at Canyonlands Island in the Sky is Mesa Arch and Grand View Point.

Needles Canyonlands camping is the best for stargazing. Due to the remote location of this park, you’ll experience amazing dark skies without much light pollution.

You can still photograph the Milky Way in the fall, right after sunset. Our Arches and Canyonlands Photography Guide provides all the amazing milky way locations at both parks!


Canyonlands 4×4 Trails in the Fall

The Shafer Trail is a challenging, unpaved backcountry road in Island in the Sky. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s an experience of a lifetime!

You’ll also find fun 4×4 trail 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).

Things To Do Near Canyonlands

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