Visiting Canyonlands National Park With Kids

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Canyonlands National Park with kids. Since we live so close, we have a ton of tips to share! 

Use this Canyonlands National Park guide to plan an amazing itinerary full of family-friendly activities! We also share tips for things to pack, where to stay and more!

travel tips for visiting Canyonlands with kids

Located in southeast Utah, Canyonlands is a great destination for families to explore the stunning landscapes found at this National Park!

Kids will find a variety of fun things to do like hiking, biking, stargazing, and more! So pack up your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure with kids in Canyonlands!

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!

Tips For Visiting Canyonlands With Kids

Canyonlands is subdivided along the Green and Colorado Rivers into four unique districts, that are known as The Needles, Island in the Sky, The Maze and The Rivers.

Of all the districts, we recommend visiting Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky because it’s the most accessible. It also offers fantastic, panoramic views of the park along the Island in the Sky scenic drive.

Take a short side trip to visit Dead Horse Point State Park near the entrance to Island in the Sky. It is a must-see location!

In contrast, when you visit Needles Canyonlands, you’ll experience a remote, backcountry experience with an assortment of natural geologic formations that can only be reached by using one of the many Canyonlands hiking trails or four-wheel driving trails.

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

There are so many fun ways to explore Canyonlands: hiking trails, scenic drives, rock climbing, and off-road driving to name a few.

snow at Canyonlands in the winter
Snow at Canyonlands in the winter

Best Time to Visit Canyonlands

Finding the best time to visit Canyonlands National Park all depends on the activities you want to do, and the type of weather you’ll enjoy.

The Canyonlands National Park weather varies drastically from summer to winter so you’ll need to be prepared for the temperatures during the time you visit.

Most of the year you’ll enjoy fun outdoor Canyonlands National Park activities like scenic drives, hiking, and biking. During the winter, the activities are a bit more limited due to the cold and snow!

Things To Do at Canyonlands National Park With Kids

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

Check out this list of fun things to Do at Canyonlands National Park with kids:

Canyonlands Visitor Centers & Ranger Programs

If this is your first time visiting the park, stop at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky Visitor Center and Needles Visitor Center. Take time to talk to the park ranger to get information about things you are interested in seeing and doing.

The rangers can give you tips for the best things to do with kids You can also find out what Canyonlands ranger-led programs are offered during the time you visit.

Canyonlands Passport Stamps with Kids

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!

Canyonlands Junior Ranger Program

The Junior Ranger Program at Canyonlands is a fun kid activity! There are activities to complete in order to earn the Junior Ranger Badge and signed certificate. Grab the free Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center.

canyonlands needles landscape
Canyonlands Needles

Canyonlands Scenic Drives With Kids

Exploring the Island in the Sky scenic drive is a must-do activity! Stop at all 10 overlooks to enjoy and photograph the never-ending views!

You’ll see different views at Needles Canyonlands as you drive through the park. Stop at all pullouts to enjoy the diverse beauty of the stone spires in this part of the park, and see why it’s called Needles.

A fun way to entertain the kids while exploring the scenic drive is using the Canyonlands GyPSy Guide App! You’ll hear fascinating behind-the scenes stories, local tips, and directions that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location. It’s like having a park ranger in the car with you!

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

upheaval dome at Canyonlands Island in the Sky
Upheaval Dome

Hiking at Canyonlands With Kids

Exploring the Canyonlands hikes is one of the best activities to appreciate this park. Some of the easier hikes for kids include:

An important tip for hiking with kids is to make sure you select a hike that fits the kids’ abilities. Before you set out on any hiking trail, make sure you have the right hiking gear for kids.

milky way over Mesa Arch
Milky way over Mesa Arch

Stargazing at Canyonlands With Kids

Stargazing at Canyonlands is another must-do activity with kids. On a clear night, the sky is literally filled with stars. Canyonlands National Park is a Dark Sky Park and they have a slogan that says “Half the Park is After Dark”!

Be sure to maximize your experience by allowing your eyes time to adjust (usually takes about 30 minutes), avoiding the moon, bringing a star chart, and using a headlamp with red light to reduce harm to your night vision.

Canyonlands Tours With Kids

There are a variety of Canyonlands National Park tours kids would love: guided hikes, canyoneering, biking, and river rafting!

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

Things To Do Near Canyonlands With Kids

Where to Stay Near Canyonlands With Kids

Packing List for Canyonlands

Use our Canyonlands Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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