Canyonlands National Park is one of the mighty 5 national parks in Utah. It’s vast, remote and incredibly beautiful. But where to stay near Canyonlands National Park for the best experience?
Canyonlands National Park consists of the three districts Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze. The best places to stay when visiting Canyonlands National Park are Moab, Monticello, Hanksville or Green River depending on which part(s) of the park you plan to visit.
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The Canyonlands lodging areas
Canyonlands National Park is a huge national park. To discover every part of the park would take months and months. Its more than 335,000 acres are filled with numerous winding canyons and unusual rock formations such as arches, buttes and mesas. In the park you can stop by with your car at canyon overlooks, hike exciting trails and even travel on the rivers.
As Canyonlands National Park is so big and diverse it has been organized into three different park districts. The districts are Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze. Each area has its own personality and the best Canyonlands National Park place to stay depends on which district(s) you are going to visit.
But the most popular district is by far Island in the Sky. It’s also the most accessible part of the park. In Moab you find all the Canyonlands National Park hotels and restaurants that you need just a short drive away from the Island in the Sky adventure. Therefore Moab is the obvious option for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park if you primarily want to visit the Island in the Sky district.
Canyonlands’ second most popular district is the Needles. It’s more remote than Island in the Sky but still relatively easy to access and you can decide between lodging near Canyonlands National Park in Monticello or to have Moab as your base for both the Needles and Island in the Sky.
The third district, the Maze, is incredibly remote and demands more time and effort to be explored. Hanksville and Green River are the nearest located towns with Canyonlands accommodation for the Maze. But the cities are still so far away from the park highlights that they mostly are used as bases before or after a trip to the Maze.
Clarification note: Many sources about Canyonlands National Park mention four districts and not three. That’s because sometimes the rivers in the national park are treated as a separate district. While the rivers offer a separate experience, they flow through the other three districts in the park. Therefore the rivers aren’t included as a separate district in this guide to the best places to stay near Canyonlands National Park.
Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky
The Island in the Sky district is the most popular district in Canyonlands National Park to visit. And for visiting Island in the Sky you find the best Canyonlands lodging in Moab. It’s the closest town to the Island in the Sky district and it’s in fact even nearer Arches National Park which makes it easy to combine the two.
Moab, UT – The best place to stay near Island in the Sky
There are no hotels inside Canyonlands National Park. But Moab is the most convenient option for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park. In the city you find great lodging near Canyonlands National Park.
Moab is the town that without competition is located closest the Island in the Sky district, which is the most visited out of the three districts in Canyonlands National Park. From the hotels near Canyonlands National Park in Moab it’s only 30 miles (52 km) and a 40-minute drive to the visitor center in the Island in the Sky district.
So when you stay in Moab you get the best of two worlds. You can effortlessly explore the park during daytime and enjoy all the perks of your comfy Canyonlands National Park hotel when it’s time to recharge.
In Moab you also find a surprisingly good amount of excellent Canyonlands accommodation and all the choices you need for dinner. So Moab is a really comfortable place to stay near Canyonlands National Park.
The town of Moab is also the best place to stay for Arches National Park. Depending on where you stay in Moab it can be as little as 3 miles (4.8 km) to the entrance of the neighboring park. It’s also possible to stay in Moab for a visit to the Needles district even though Monticello is located closer.
In short, Moab is the perfect base for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park. From your Canyonlands lodging in Moab you have great access to all the fun in the park. As a bonus Moab is also a great base to visit Canyonland’s northern mighty 5 neighbor.
- Distance: 30 mi / 52 km
- Driving time: ≈ 40 min
- Pick Moab for: Best access to Island in the Sky and Arches NP.
Favorite location. It’s easy to see why Moab is such a popular option for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park. In the Utah desert the town offers both convenient access to two great national parks and all the comfort you crave for.
Recommended Canyonlands hotels for Island in the Sky
SpringHill Suites by Marriott – Canyonlands accommodation in northern Moab
Springhill Suites sits optimally for both Canyonlands and Arches. The location of the place to stay in northern Moab means that you minimize driving time to the parks. And the mountain view, hot tub and pool certainly don’t make things any worse at the hotel near Canyonlands National Park.
Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn – A Canyonlands place to stay in central Moab
Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn is a great Canyonlands hotel if you want great comfort but in central Moab. The facilities at the Canyonlands lodging in the central Moab area include swimming pool and hot tub.
Red Cliffs Lodge – The best place to stay when visiting Canyonlands for peacefulness
If you look for serenity and don’t mind a 17-mile (27 km) drive from Downtown Moab you don’t need to look further. Red Cliffs Lodge sits in a breathtaking setting with a horse corral by the Colorado River. The view at the Canyonlands lodge just can’t be beaten. Red Cliffs Lodge is the best option for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park if you look for serenity.
Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park: The Needles
Monticello is the option for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park with best access to the Needles district. However, Moab is also a viable option for the Needles even though it’s a little further away than Monticello.
Monticello, UT – Canyonlands lodging with the best access to the Needles
No other town is located as conveniently as Monticello for the Needles district in Canyonlands National Park. Still, in the remote area of Utah you need to count with some driving to get from your Canyonlands lodging to the main sights.
From Canyonlands accommodation in Monticello it’s a drive of 44 miles (71 km) and roughly one hour to get to the Needles Visitor Center. So it’s a longer drive from the Canyonlands hotels in Monticello to the Needles than it is from Moab to Island in the Sky.
Monticello has a much higher elevation compared to Moab. The former city sits at an elevation of 7070 feet (2155 m) compared to Moab’s 4026 feet (1227 m). The elevation difference makes the summer heat a bit less intense and the winter temperatures more chilly in Monticello.
In Monticello you find some Canyonlands National Park accommodation and places to grab a bite after a day exploring the mighty Utah nature. But you don’t find as much to choose from in Monticello as in Moab.
The fact that Monticello is located slightly south of the Needles makes it a great option for a night on the way north to Island in the Sky or south from Island in the Sky.
If you travel north to south from Island in the Sky/Arches you can spend a whole day in the Needles district and then relax on your hotel in Monticello after. Or contrary if you go south to north you can have a night’s good sleep in Monticello before you explore the Needles for a full day and then continue toward Moab.
To sum up, Monticello is the option for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park with the best access to the Needles district. In addition Monticello is also located on the way to or from Island in the Sky.
- Distance: 44 mi / 71 km
- Driving time: ≈ 1 h
- Pick Monticello for: Canyonlands hotels closest to the Needles.
Moab, UT – Combine the Needles and Island in the Sky
Moab is located further away than Monticello from the Needles. Driving from Moab to Needles Visitor Center is 74 miles (119 km) and takes 1.5 hours. So the drive is 30 minutes longer one way compared to if you stay at an Canyonlands hotel in Monticello.
But what speaks for picking a Canyonlands National Park hotel in Moab is if you plan visiting Needles together with Island in the Sky and Arches National Park. If you plan to do so it could be more convenient to pick Moab as one single base near Canyonlands National Park rather than moving around between different Canyonlands hotels.
It’s also worth to note that there are many more Canyonlands National Park hotels and restaurants in Moab than in Monticello. And more options make a longer Canyonlands stay more attractive. Maybe you want to make it a whole week in the desert and just relax a few days in the sun by your Canyonlands hotel pool with your favorite amenities.
To sum up, Moab is the best option if you want one single base for the Needles/Island in the Sky/Arches NP. The hotels near Canyonlands National Park in Moab are conveniently located for exploring the area. And another advantage with picking Moab for Canyonlands lodging is the bigger selection of hotels and dining options that the city offers.
- Distance: 74 mi / 119 km
- Driving time: ≈ 1.5 h
- Pick Moab for: One base for the Needles and Island in the Sky.
Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park: The Maze
The Maze district in Canyonlands is even more remote than the other two districts. And most visitors to Canyonlands NP don’t ever set their feet in the Maze.
Because of the remoteness and difficult roads you need to prepare for a visit to the Maze in another fashion than you need if you visit the other districts.
You don’t even find any lodging near the Maze district. And because of the time it takes to travel not just to but also within the park, most visitors choose to spend a few nights camping while exploring the Maze instead of going in and out just for a day.
However, the best Canyonlands lodging options for the Maze district before or after park exploration are Hanksville and Green River.
Hanksville, UT – Canyonlands accommodation nearest the Maze
Hanksville is located west of the remote Maze district in Canyonlands National Park. It’s the town nearest the Maze district, but it’s still a long drive away from the main sights. There simply are no Canyonlands National Park places to stay near the Maze District.
To get from Canyonlands accommodation in Hanksville to Hans Flat Ranger Station is a drive of 61 miles (98 km), which roughly takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive. And from the ranger station you are still hours away from the best canyons of the Maze.
From the ranger station it’s recommended to budget with more than 3 hours to get all the way on the difficult roads to the Maze overlook. That’s how remote Canyonlands National Park is.
Still Hanksville is the city with Canyonlands lodging closest to the Maze District. And in Hanksville you discover a tiny town with little to choose from when it comes to Canyonlands lodging and places to eat. But the Maze district is such a remote part of Utah that anything else would be surprising.
To sum up, Hanksville is a humble and remote small town without much to offer. But you come to the area for the nature and it’s together with Green River the best place to stay before and after visiting Canyonlands’ the Maze.
- Distance: 61 mi / 98 km
- Driving time: ≈ 1 h and 45 min
- Pick Hanksville for: Canyonlands lodging closest to the Maze.
Green River, UT – More Canyonlands hotels a little further away
Green River is located along Interstate 70 north of Canyonlands National Park. The town is even a little further away from the Maze than Hanksville.
It’s 68 miles (109 km) and about 2 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Canyonlands lodging in Green River to Hans Flat Ranger Station. And in the remote Maze district you have hours left to drive to the canyons even when you have reached the ranger station.
When it comes to Canyonlands National Park accommodation and dining options in Green River there isn’t a big selection to choose from. But the selection of Canyonlands lodging still edges it over Hanksville. In Green River you have some more options for Canyonlands lodging and restaurants.
In conclusion, Green River offers Canyonlands lodging before and after visiting the Maze district. The drive to the Maze is slightly longer from Green River than from Hanksville, but you also have slightly more Canyonlands lodging and dining options to choose from in Green River.
- Distance: 68 mi / 109 km
- Driving time: ≈ 2 h and 15 min
- Pick Green River for: Decent access to the Maze and more lodging and restaurants.
Search for hotels near Canyonlands, UT
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Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay near Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Where you should stay depends on which part(s) of the park you plan to visit. Moab is the ultimate option for where to stay near Island in the Sky, which is the most popular part of the park.
Moab is the closest town to Canyonlands National Park if you aim for the Island in the Sky area. For the Needles district Monticello is located closer. The Maze is the most remote part of the park with the nearest Canyonlands accommodation in Hanksville and Green River.
The best place to stay near both Canyonlands and Arches National Park is Moab. It’s the town nearest both Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park.
Just for Island in the Sky you need a full day at Canyonlands National Park to see the best sights and explore some of the trails. Add more time to venture deeper into the park or if you plan to visit more Canyonlands districts.
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