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The main trail I wanted to do in Canyonlands during out week in Moab in December was the Murphy Point Trail. Sometimes called the Murphy Point Overlook. And now I think it’s one of my favorite easy hikes in Utah.
We did the White Rim Overlook Trail before this and ended up hike to Murphy Point in the late afternoon, finishing not long before sunset. It was getting dark on our drive back down to Moab.
The parking area for Murphy Point is really small and not marked well. There was, I think, just one little sign and only room for a few cars. We saw one couple leaving on our way in and a few people at the overlook, then a couple on their way in as we were leaving.
It wasn’t busy and while we saw people at the overlook, we were far enough apart it didn’t matter. They actually got there after us and were gone before we got back to the car!
The trail is nice and easy, starting out as a dirt path through a little meadow type area. I really enjoyed this part because it feels so different from all of the other areas of the park.
It’s not the most thrilling trail ever but it’s really nice. Before long, you’ll be walking over the slickrock following cairns to the end. It’s a very straightforward trail. It’s enjoyable and easy.
The end point is more slickrock so we walked around here for a while to try and get some other views. It wasn’t as cold and windy here but the lighting was pretty harsh.
Since it was late afternoon/early evening the sun was setting basically in our eyes so it was hard to get nice pictures looking out at the end view here.
While I was bummed about the lighting, I did like this trail a lot and am so glad I got to do it! I don’t even know why I was so set on doing this one, but I was and I’m glad we did it this day because we didn’t go back up to Canyonlands on this trip!
In different lighting, this could easily be one of the best views in Utah and you can even see the White Rim Road below! I was trying to follow it but there was one section I just could not figure out where it went.
After walking around at the overlook for a while, mostly to the left, we headed back because I was ready to eat. Also, it wasn’t super snowy, but we did get to see a little snow along the trail.
I enjoyed that because that’s why we stayed in Arizona for the winter, to see the desert with snow. And we did, but barely. We had a good amount of it for our week in Zion, but it didn’t snow in Page until after we left. Of course.
Overall, I loved the Murphy Point trail and would definitely recommend it if you want a quiet trail with great views of the canyons below. If lighting matters to you, I would try and do this one earlier in your day in Canyonlands so the sun is behind you.
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 Murphy Point trailhead?
The Murphy Point trailhead is 8.4 miles from the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, about 15 minutes. It’s about 41 miles from Moab, a 56 minute drive. It’s right on the main scenic drive between Mesa Arch and White Rim Overlook.
How long is the Murphy Point hike?
3.4 miles round-trip but I think we hiked closer to four miles because of the walking around at the viewpoint we did. It’s a little longer but not a full-day, or even an entire half-day.
Is the Murphy Point Hike hard?
Nope! There was one part that felt a little hard to follow but we got back on track pretty quickly. Effort-wise it’s not bad at all. It only has 147 feet of elevation gain, less than the White Rim Overlook Trail!
It’s easy enough that I did this hike after White Rim in my fancy winter boots that aren’t hiking boots in any way whatsoever.
Is the Murphy Point Trail worth it?
Yes! I liked this trail a lot and it’s a great option for a slightly longer hike in Island in the Sky. It’s not too long, it’s not strenuous, and it has amazing views. I would definitely recommend this one.
It’s a great choice on a Moab weekend trip if you have a whole day in the park or even if you just have half a day. You could still make it to the other major stops and overlooks with half a day.
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Have you hiked the Murphy Point trail in Canyonlands? What did you think of it? What is your favorite trail in the park?