If you’re on the hunt for sweeping canyon views, look no further than Murphy Point in Canyonlands National Park. This mellow, flat hike makes a perfect early morning walk through the desert. Watch as shadows dance across the canyon walls as you soak in the gorgeous desert landscape. Here’s your guide to the Murphy Point hike.
Located in the famous Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, Murphy Point spurs off from the Grand View Point Overlook. Offering up 270-degree views of the mighty canyon network, this must-hike trail brings you the best in sweeping desert landscapes.
Simply head past the Island in the Sky Visitor Center. Continue onwards down Grand View Point Road until you reach a pull out for the Murphy Point Trail. There is only parking for a handful of cars, so be sure to arrive early to ensure you snag parking.
Like many of the hiking trails in Island in the Sky, the Murphy Point Trail offers easy hiking terrain with big vistas at the end. This out-and-back trail gains little elevation and doesn’t offer any shade. However, you can complete the trail in about an hour and a half plus a little time to enjoy the view.
Here’s a look at some practical information about the Murphy Point Overlook Trail:
Distance: 3.4 miles round-trip
Elevation Gain: 147 feet
Estimated Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Dogs Allowed?: No
Pro Tip: Hike to Murphy Point early in the morning to enjoy stunning lighting across the canyon system. You’ll also beat the heat!
The hike starts out on a seemingly endless, flat mesa. Follow the well-carved trail through the gentle desert landscape. In the spring, keep an eye out for wildflower and cactus blooms. The walking is easy, yet unshaded through this section.
As you approach the end of the mesa, the views of Murphy Point slowly come into view. Continue down the trail until you’re treated with outstanding views of the entire Canyonlands system.
Out in the distances, you’ll see towering fins of rock and a network of canyons known as the Maze District. This less-traveled region of Canyonlands National Park is famous for intrepid backcountry adventures.
The region is so little-traveled that some of it has yet to be mapped accurately even today! The sweeping views at Murphy Point bring a sense of scale to the massive Canyonlands National Park.
There’s a lot to see in Canyonlands National Park. Enjoy a full day hiking the Island in the Sky district and enjoying the unbeatable views. A few areas of interest near the Murphy Point Overlook include:
Overall, the Murphy Point Trail brings some of the most scenic canyon views of the entire Canyonlands National Park. Experience the vast, steep canyon system and enjoy a little desert hiking along the way.