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One of my goals in Utah was to do more in Canyonlands National Park. I still haven’t done enough there but I finally did a couple more hikes, one of which is the White Rim Overlook Trail.
I didn’t really have plans to hike the White Rim Overlook Trail but we stopped at the parking lot for it and figured we’re here, why not do it? It’s not like it’s a super long hike and is easy to do with just one day in Canyonlands.
The parking lot isn’t too big, so if it’s full you may have to come back later and I would imagine it fills up in the summer and over holidays.
If you really want to do this, early morning or sunset would both be great and maybe a little less busy. Thinking about it, afternoon and evening would probably be best so the sun isn’t blasting in your eyes.
We gathered our things and hit the trail. I love this area because it has a bunch of potholes that fill with water and it looks so cool. It’s one of my favorite stops in Canyonlands.
We got to see them with little icy pools in them this time and I even found one with a smiley face in the air bubbles! Highlight of the hike? No but it was fun haha.
From the parking area, just head straight to the little brown trail marker sign. The White Rim Overlook trail will be to the right. It’s easy to spot.
The trail starts off on rock and is marked by a few cairns before becoming a dirt path that is very easy to follow. We walked around the potholes at the beginning a little bit for pictures before hiking on the actual trail.
At the beginning of the trail, it wasn’t too cold or windy, but closer to the end it was freezing! It was so windy and cold (not the worst wind ever but not pleasant) but we were there in December, so that’s why it was so much colder.
The trail is really straightforward and it’s not like, an adventurous trail, but the scenery is really enjoyable and then you get to the view! It’s probably one of the best views in Utah. I mean all of Island in the Sky, but especially along this trail.
At the end you can kind of walk along the edge, but not too close because rock can break and you can fall or you can just trip or something and no one wants that. For real, don’t sit on the edge.
There was a weird rock formation to the left that we went around, then to the right a bit. I love the view from here so much. You can see the White Rim Road winding along the next level of canyon edge below you and the snow-capped La Sal Mountains on the other side of the canyon.
We just hung out at the end for a while, despite the wind, enjoying the canyons and solitude. It’s still so mind blowing seeing all the levels of canyon (if that makes sense), the river below, the weird formations. I love it.
Canyonlands still isn’t my favorite national park in Utah (Capitol Reef wins that still) but it’s so good! It’s still one of the best places to visit in Utah, for sure And now I just want to do even more there.
If you’re feeling really determined (and physically fit) back at the sign showing the two different trails here, you can actually hike down to White Rim Road from here.
But then you have to hike alllllllll the way back up and that is not going to be easy. So if you’re not prepared for that much effort, then the White Rim Overlook trail is good enough.
We saw a couple of other people on the trail but it wasn’t too busy. Being there in December probably helped with that but I think it’s a fairly popular trail so I would expect to see other people on this, especially in the summer.
The views from here are incredible and you’ll be able to get slightly different views from the different areas along the rim. But like I said, don’t get too close because people have died here from falling and I don’t want that to be you.
I would definitely recommend hiking the White Rim Overlook in Canyonlands because it’s an easy hike and had incredible views. Whether you have a whole day in the park and time for lots of hikes or just time for one, I would try to make this one of them, or Murphy Point.
National Park Pass + Other National Park Deals
- If you’re planning on visiting multiple parks (3 or more) on this trip or within the year, I would highly recommend getting a national park pass. It’s $80 but will pay for itself in about three trips to parks. It’s so worth it and I buy one every year! They’re also great for gifts for the park lovers in your life.
- To help plan the best national park trip ever, this Ultimate National Park Planning Bundle is perfect! You get two ebooks and a planner, saving 50% by getting them as a bundle! If you want all the details, this is the bundle for you. Buy the Ultimate bundle here.
- This National Park Planner (one of the ebooks from the bundle above) is perfect if you just want some guidance in your planning. Buy the planner here.
- Get yourself a little National Park notebook to write all about your adventures while you’re on the road. These from Field Notes are all very cute! If you want one for all of the NPS sites (400+!) then this one is for you!
- Before your trip, get some national park apparel for your trip! Homage is donating 5% of sales from the national park collection to the National Parks Conservation Association this year. Buy national park shirts here.
- Consider reading some of these books set in national parks before your big trip, on your adventure, or once you get home to take you back to the parks until next time.
- Planning a big national park trip? Check out these other posts: National Park bucket list, Make the most of a National Park trip, National Park camping packing list, My favorite National Park hikes, More National Park hikes I love, Underrated National Parks.
Where is the White Rim Overlook trailhead?
The White Rim Overlook trailhead is 11.4 miles from the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, about 25 minutes. From Moab it’s 24 miles and about an hour drive. It’s right along the main scenic drive.
How long is the White Rim Overlook hike?
The White Rim Overlook trail is 1.8 miles round-trip. It a good choice for a not-too-short, not-too-long hike in Canyonalnds.
Is the White Rim Overlook hike hard?
Nope! it has just 160 feet of elevation gain and is super easy to follow starting out on rock with cairns then changing to a dirt path. I might even have to add this to the best short hikes in Utah list.
Is the White Rim Overlook trail worth it?
Yes! This is an easy hike with great views. The effort to reward payoff is very good. If you want to hike in Canyonlands, but not just to Mesa Arch and you don’t want a long or difficult hike, White Rim Overlook is perfect.
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Have you hiked the White Rim Overlook Trail in Canyonlands? What did you think of it? Do you want to? What is your favorite hike here?