Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park, UT

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  • Post last modified:February 21, 2024
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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 districts

Canyonlands National Park boasts more than 335,000 acres filled with winding canyons and unusual rock formations such as arches, buttes and mesas. Stop by with your car at canyon overlooks, hike exciting trails and even, if you’re down for a wet adventure, travel on the rivers.

As Canyonlands is so big and diverse, it’s organized into three different park districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles and the Maze. Each area has its own personality and the best place to stay depends on which district(s) you are going to visit.

Island in the Sky, the most popular district, makes up the most accessible part of the park. In nearby Moab, you find all the hotels and restaurants you need for a comfy time in the desert.

The Needles is less visited than Island in the Sky but still relatively easy to access. For The Needles, either bed down in Monticello (closest) or visit from Moab (slightly longer).

Incredibly remote, The Maze requires more time and effort to be explored (necessary preparations). While Hanksville and Green River are the gateway towns, these are still so far from the action that day trips are unfeasible.

Canyonlands overlook during daytime
Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Moab

While there are no hotels inside Canyonlands National Park, Moab is the closest town. Welcome to the adventurer’s paradise.

From Moab, it’s only 30 miles (52 km) and a 40-minute drive to the Island in the Sky Visitor Center.

Driving from Moab to Needles Visitor Center is 75 miles (119 km), taking 1.5 hours.

As a bonus it’s, actually, even closer to Arches National Park than to Canyonlands National Park. It can be as little as 3 miles (4.8 km) to Arches’ entrance, depending on exactly where in Moab you choose base yourself.

Moab makes the most of its convenient location by offering great amenities. Consider these comfy hotels for your Canyonlands stay.

  • Pick Moab for: Best access.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott

This location in northern Moab minimizes the driving time to the parks. And the mountain view, jacuzzi and pool certainly don’t make things worse.

Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn

Best Western Plus Canyonlands Inn is a great hotel if you want top comfort but in central Moab. The appreciated facilities include a swimming pool and hot tub.

Red Cliffs Lodge

If you look for serenity, you don’t need to look further. Red Cliffs Lodge sits in a breathtaking setting, 17 miles’ drive from Downtown Moab, with a horse corral by the Colorado River. This view just can’t be beaten — no way.

Mesa Arch overlooking Canyonlands National Park during winter
Mesa Arch, Island in the Sky.

Monticello

Monticello is the option for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park with best access to The Needles district. From Monticello, it’s a 44-mile, one-hour (71 km) drive and roughly one hour to get to The Needles Visitor Center.

This is a higher elevated town: Monticello sists at 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 chillier.

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 in Monticello as in Moab.

  • Pick Monticello for: The Needles.
Elephant Canyon in the Needles
Elephant Canyon, the Needles.

Hanksville

Tiny 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.

To get from Hanksville to Hans Flat Ranger Station is a drive of 61 miles (98 km), taking roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes. But — 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 iconic Maze Overlook. That’s how remote Canyonlands National Park is.

  • Pick Hanksville for: The Maze.
Canyonlands National Park sign during daytime
Canyonlands National Park, UT.

Green River

If you plan on visiting The Maze, also consider bedding down in Green River. Bigger than Hanksville but tiny by most standards, Green River is located along Interstate 70, north of Canyonlands National Park.

It’s 68 miles (109 km) and about 2 hours and 15 minutes to drive from Green River to Hans Flat Ranger Station. But, once again, in the remote Maze district, you still have hours left to the canyons from there.

  • Pick Green River for: The Maze.
Huge rock formation in valley during daytime
Goblin Valley between Hanksville and Green River.

Where to stay near Canyonlands National Park FAQ

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 near Island in the Sky, the most popular part of the park.

What is the closest town to Canyonlands National 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 accommodation options in Hanksville and Green River.

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

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

How many days do you need at Canyonlands National Park?

Just for Island in the Sky, you need a full day 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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