Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park

  • Post last modified:April 28, 2021
  • Reading time:12 mins read
Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park

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. Great options for where to stay are Moab, Monticello, Hanksville or Green River depending on which part(s) of the park you plan to visit.

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Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park

What to know about the Canyonland districts

Canyonlands National Park is a huge national park. To discover every part of the park could 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. Each with its own personality. The districts are Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze.

The most popular districts are by far Island in the Sky and the Needles. They are also much easier to visit than the third district. The Maze district is incredibly remote and demands more time and effort to be explored.

Because the park is so big there’s not one best place to stay. The best place for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park depends on which part(s) of the park you plan to visit.

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 for the best places to stay near Canyonlands National Park.

Canyon overlook during daytime
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Where to stay for Island in the Sky

The Island in the Sky district is the most popular district in Canyonlands National Park to visit. For visiting Island in the Sky in Canyonlands the best option for where to stay is Moab. It’s the closest town to the Island in the Sky district and it’s even nearer Arches National Park which makes it easy to combine the two.

Moab – The best place to stay for Island in the Sky

There are no hotels inside Canyonlands National Park. But for Canyonlands National Park in general and in particular for Island in the Sky the most convenient option for where to stay is Moab.

Moab is the town that without competition sits nearest the Island in the Sky district, which is the most visited out of the three districts in Canyonlands National Park. From 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 hotel when you’re not in the park.

And in Moab you find a surprisingly good amount of excellent accommodation and all the choices you need for dinner. So Moab is a really comfortable place for where 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 Arches.

It’s also possible to stay in Moab for a visit to the Needles. But more about where to stay for the Needles district in Canyonlands further down.

In short, Moab is the perfect base for both Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park and its northern mighty 5 neighbour Arches National Park.

  • Driving distance: 30 miles (52 km)
  • Driving time: ≈ 40 minutes
  • Stay here for: Best access to Island in the Sky and Arches NP.

Popular hotels where you pleasantly can stay as near the most visited Island in the Sky district in Canyonlands National Park as possible are:

  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Moab. This Canyonlands hotel sits optimally for both Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park. The location in northern Moab means that you minimize the driving time to the parks. And the mountain view, hot tub and swimming pool certainly don’t make things any worse.
  • Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn. This Canyonlands hotel is a great choice if you want all amenities but in a central Moab location. The facilities at Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn include swimming pool and hot tub.
  • Red Cliffs Lodge. 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 this Canyonlands hotel just can’t be beaten.

These hotels recommended for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park constantly receive good reviews by their customers. Click on a hotel for more information or use the booking tool further down to see all Canyonlands hotels.

Arch overlooking canyon during winter
Mesa Arch, Island in the Sky.

Where to stay for the Needles

Monticello is where you should have your base if you want to stay in the town that’s nearest the Needles district. But Moab is also a viable option for the Needles, even though it’s further away than Monticello.

Monticello – Stay with best access to the Needles in Canyonlands

No other town sits as conveniently as Monticello for the Needles district in Canyonlands National Park. Still, in this remote area of Utah you need to count with some driving to get back and forth to the main sights.

And from Monticello it’s a drive of 44 miles (71 km) and roughly one hour to get to the Needles Visitor Center.

Monticello has a much higher elevation compared to the other option Moab. The 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 accommodation options and places to grab a bite after a day exploring the mighty Utah nature. But you don’t find as much to choose from here as you do in Moab.

The fact that Monticello sits slightly south of the Needles makes it a great option for a night on the way north to Island in the Sky/Arches or south from Island in the Sky/Arches.

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 Island in the Sky/Arches.

The bottom line is that Monticello is the nearest option for where to stay near the Needles district in Canyonlands National Park. It’s a great place to stay for exploring the Needles and it sits conveniently on the way to or from Island in the Sky/Arches.

  • Driving distance: 44 miles (71 km)
  • Driving time: ≈ 1 hour
  • Stay here for: Best access to the Needles.

Moab – A longer drive but still a great option for the Needles

Even though Moab is further away from the Needles it’s worth to consider if it’s not afterall advantageous compared to Monticello.

Driving from Moab to Needles Vistor Center is 74 miles and takes 1.5 hours. So the drive is 30 minutes longer one way compared to if you stay in Monticello.

What speaks for staying in Moab is if you plan to visit the Needles together with Island in the Sky and Arches National Park. If you do so it could be more convenient to spend all the nights in one place rather than moving between hotels.

It’s also worth to note that there are many more accommodation options and dining alternatives in Moab. And more options make a longer 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 hotel pool with your favorite amenities.

Summing up, Moab is the best option for where to stay when visiting the Needles if you want one single base for the Needles/Island in the Sky/Arches NP and a bigger selection of lodging options.

  • Driving distance: 74 miles (119 km)
  • Driving time: ≈ 1.5 hours
  • Stay here for: Decent access to Needles and great base for more places to visit.
Rock formation on hill top during daytime
Elephant Canyon, the Needles.

Where to stay for 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 here. Because of the remoteness and difficulty of roads you need to prepare for a visit to the Maze in another fashion than you need if you visit the other districts.

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 options for where to stay at a hotel near the Maze district of Canyonlands National Park before or after visiting the Maze are Hanksville or Green River.

Hanksville – The nearest place to stay for the Maze in Canyonlands

Hanksville sits west of the remote Maze district in Canyonlands National Park. It’s the town nearest the Maze district, but it’s still very far away from the main sights.

To get from Hanksville to Hans Flat Ranger Station is a drive of 61 miles (98 km) which roughly takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to drive. But from the ranger station you are still hours away from the 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.

In Hanksville you disover a tiny town with little to choose from when it comes to accommodation 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 here for the nature and it’s together with Green River the best place for where to stay before and after visiting the Maze in Canyonlands National Park.

  • Driving distance: 61 miles (98 km)
  • Driving time: ≈ 1 h and 45 minutes
  • Stay here for: Shortest distance and time to the Maze.
Canyonlands National Park sign during daytime
Welcome to Canyonlands National Park!

Green River – Stay a little further away but with more options for the Maze

Green River sits along Interstate 70 north of Canyonlands National Park. The town sits a little bit further away from the Maze than Hanksville.

It’s 68 miles (109 km) and about 2 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Green River to Hans Flat Ranger Station. But 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 accommodation and dining options in Green River there isn’t a big selection. But the selection still edges it over Hanksville in that department. In Green River you have some more options for places to stay and eat.

In conclusion, the town of Green River is together with Hanksville the best place to stay before or after visiting the Maze district in Canyonlands National Park. The drive is slightly longer from Green River to the Maze, but you also have slightly more lodging and dining options to choose from here.

  • Driving distance: 68 miles (109 km)
  • Driving time: ≈ 2 h and 15 minutes
  • Stay here for: Decent access to the Maze and more accommodation and restaurants.
Huge rock formation in valley during daytime
Goblin Valley, between Hanksville and Green River.

Find a hotel near Canyonlands National Park

Use the booking tool below to find the perfect accommodation for your stay near Canyonlands National Park. Browse the map for options in various areas, or click on the search button to get Canyonlands hotels listed.

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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 should I stay when visiting Canyonlands National Park?

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 for Island in the Sky, which is the most popular part of the park.

Where should I stay to combine Canyonlands and Arches National Park?

The best place for where to stay near both Canyonlands and Arches National Park is Moab as well. It’s the town nearest both Island in the Sky in Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park.

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