Best Hikes in Canyonlands


The mountains are calling and I must go
Mar 31, 2013
Due to water levels, there is a good chance I"ll be postponing my float down the Green River. Apparently I didn't think when picking my dates . . . .

So one of my alternatives is to float the Colorado from Moab dock to Potash dock just as a day trip (15miles) and then combine that with some hiking & exploring in Canyonlands NP.
Here's what I"m thinking of doing: Monday float. Tuesday Canyonlands. Wednesday float same stretch again + doing some of the side hikes off of the Colorado. Thursday Canyonlands again.So if you had pick your favorite, non technical, places in Canyonlands what would they be?

Canyonlands has 3 parts. Are you thinking of needles, island in the sky, or the maze?

Are you postponing the green river trip because you're afraid it'll be dangerous, or because you're afraid you won't find any camping? I think you'd still be able to find some good camping.
Totally because of finding camp sites.

I"ve been unsuccessful at trying to reach someone at Green River State Park, so I called one of the outfitters in Moab, Tex Waterways, or something like that. The current water level is 19,500 cfs. The outfitter told me that water levels are over the trees that line the banks and that camping spots would be difficult to come by. Based on your description of camp spots with water levels at about 6,000 cfs when you were there, I just thought it would be much more fun at lower levels. I found a predictive graph somewhere that suggested that the river will crest within the next week and will be down to near 17,000 cfs by the 16th.

Between a lack of campsites & inexperienced kayakers, I thought it might be better to postpone. I'll make a final decision on Friday.

Of those three areas, which is would be best for day hiking and exploring?

Thanks Steve!
Tex would know far better than I. You'll definitely be able to camp at three canyon/trin alcove. When I was there, it was 6000 cfs the first night, then it went to 13,000 CFS for the rest of our trip and we still found decent campsites. The difference between 6,000 CFS and 13,000 CFS was about 2 feet. In other words, 13,000 cfs was 2 feet higher than 6,000 cfs. But I can understand the hesitation without knowing 100% where you'll be camping. I kinda enjoy that part of the journey. :)
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Apparently I didn't think when picking my dates

I've been watching flows pretty closely this spring and I can tell you that it's been an unusual runoff. Utah's snowpack was below average pretty much statewide (the western Uintas were really the only exception). But the Green and Colorado headwaters were both well above average. So while the Utah tributaries are a bit low, the main river channels spiked about two weeks ago and are running strong.

In Labyrinth, the biggest challenge would be if you plan on just riverside camping some place. The nice sandbar camps will be underwater and the banks are mostly choked with tammies. You could still find camps (mostly at the mouths of the side canyons) but competition will be higher. On the plus side, there will be enough extra push on the river that you won't have to paddle as much.
I would wait for the river to come down (if you can), exposing all of those great sand bars, plenty of camping and fewer bugs. 4-5k cfs is perfect.
If you are car camping, and hiking in Canyonlands, there are a lot of great options. It mostly depends on how far/long you want to walk.

I've hiked Murphy's loop on Island in the Sky a couple times, incredible hike, beautiful views of the white rim. Upheavel dome is excellent as well in the same district.

The Needles has the most options, Chesler Park is remarkable. It's hard to go wrong with any hike in the area. Look at the NPS maps, and pick one.
All three sections are awesome. Really just depends on what is practical and easier for you. The Maze is my personal choice, such an incredible place, but also the hardest to get to, especially if your day hiking. The Needles are also great, and much more maintained as far as hiking trails goes. Its set up great for hiking and backpacking. Islands is quite different from the other two, and will most likely involve more elevation gain/loss in hiking. There really aren't as many trails there, although I've explored almost all the canyons there, and they are very simple to explore if you can read a map. Murphy's loop and the Hogsback, as SLC Dan said above, is a really awesome loop. Spectacular views, I love that hike.
what dates are you going? I should have my video of my Labyrinth trip uploaded in the next day or two.
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