White Rim Overlook: Canyonlands Underrated Easy Hike To Incredible Canyon Views

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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.

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White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah
This is what most of the White Rim Overlook Trail looks like

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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 Goodies

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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, from Devils Garden Campground in Arches its 1.5 hours, and from Dead Horse Point it’s 35 minutes.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

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.

How hard is the White Rim trail?

Not very! 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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

How long does it take to do White Rim Trail?

I would plan 1-2 hours for the White Rim Overlook trail. That gives you plenty of time to enjoy the trail and the views at the end.

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.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

Moab tours

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

Where to stay in Moab

Moab Under Canvas – Staying here is how I ended up moving out west! This is a glamping resort just outside of Moab, right by the turn off too Canyonlands.

Quality Inn – This is on the far end of Moab (away from Canyoonlands) but still close to town, though you will have to drive downtown. It’s nice enough but not fancy. I’d stay here again.

Lazy Lizard Hostel – If you’re on a major budget and want less than no frills, this is it. We spent a couple weeks here one winter and have stayed a couple of other times. They have dorms, private rooms, and cabins.

Sleep Inn – This is my favorite place we stayed in Moab because it’s right downtown. It’s fairly new so it’s nice but not like, 5 star nice. Some rooms have kitchen facilities if you want to cook for yourself.

Camping in Canyonlands

The Willow Flat Campground is the only campground in Island in the Sky and it’s open year-round. It has 12 first come, first serve sites that fill up quickly in the summer and fall.

There are toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits but no drinking water or other amenities so be sure to come prepared. This is the closest place to stay too Mesa Arch.

White rim overlook trail Canyonlands Utah

Other Canyonlands posts you may like

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?

2 thoughts on “White Rim Overlook: Canyonlands Underrated Easy Hike To Incredible Canyon Views

  1. Canyon Lands. One of the trails took you past a cave that the Indians stored their seeds for the following year. I never could make that hike. If you did, did you go past this cave? I was more than ten years ahead of you on most of Utah. I camped at the camp north of Moab. I totally enjoyed the entire area.

    1. It sounds like maybe False Kiva? If it is, I haven’t been there yet but I want to! I know access to Flas Kiva is more limited now though. I love the Moab and Cedar Mesa area so much, I bet it was amazing visiting it before it was as busy as it is now.

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