what to do in canyonlands with kids

Tips for Visiting Canyonlands National Park With Kids

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Planning a family trip to Canyonlands National Park and wondering what to do in Canyonlands National Park with kids? We have you covered! While not one of the most popular parks in Utah, it’s definitely worth a visit! Here are the best things to see and do in Canyonlands National Park with kids.

canyonlands national park with kids

How to get to Canyonlands National Park

If you are flying in, the closest major airport to Canyonlands National Park is SLC, at just under 4 hours away. Las Vegas is 6 hours and 45 minutes away, which is where our road trip through the Mighty 5 started. There are also two regional airports nearby (CNY and GJT), however there aren’t as many flight options into these smaller airports.

Best time to visit Canyonlands National Park

The best time to visit Canyonlands National Park is the spring and fall (April/May and September/October). The temperatures are mild and the park isn’t as crowded in the off season. We visited in mid June and it was hot! 90s in the afternoon but somehow it was fine for our hikes.

Where to stay when visiting Canyonlands National Park

There are many family friendly hotels in Moab and two campgrounds in Canyonlands National Park, so you definitely have some lodging options.

Camping in Canyonlands National Park

The two campgrounds in Canyonlands National Park are Island in the Sky and The Needles Campground. Island in the Sky is first come, first served but you can make reservations certain times of the year for The Needles Campground.

Best family-friendly hotels near Canyonlands National Park

Looking for the best family friendly hotel in Moab? We stayed at the Hyatt Place Moab and it was perfect for families with young kids. The hotel was just 8 minutes from the park entrance, making it one of the best kid friendly hotels near Arches National Park.

where to stay in moab with kids
Our room at the Hyatt.

Things to bring when visiting Canyonlands National Park with kids

  • National Parks Journal: Have your kids commemorate their trip by filling out their National Parks Journal.
  • Hiking Backpack: I love my Osprey Daylite backpack for day hikes and it was perfect on this trip.
  • Hydration Backpack: If you don’t want to lug around bottles of water, get your kids a hydration backpack so that they can carry their water and a few snacks on their own.
  • Sunscreen: This is especially important in the hot summer months! We love Blue Lizard and now that they make a spray sunscreen, it makes applying it super fast and easy.

Books and games about Canyonlands National Park

Things to do in Canyonlands National Park with kids

Canyonlands National Park is split into 3 districts-Island in the Sky (most popular), Needles and the Maze. The Maze is pretty remote and doesn’t offer much for families with young kids, so I wouldn’t even consider it when visiting Canyonlands National Park with kids.

We spent our time in Island in the Sky so this guide will focus on that area. This area is closest to Moab and since we were limited on time by the time we reached Moab, it didn’t make sense to drive close to 2 hours to Needles.

Best kid-friendly hiking trails in Canyonlands National Park

  • Mesa Arch Trail: This is a 0.7 mile loop trail that takes you to one of the most photographed places in the park, the Mesa Arch. Use common sense when approaching the arch since it’s near a big drop off. Many people seem to think photos are more important and were getting very close to the edge, even with young children.
  • Grand View Point Trail: This trail is 1.8 miles long and you’ll have to go back the same way you came. It’s fairly easy terrain, good for young kids, with some amazing views of the park.
  • Upheaval Dome Trail: This is a 1.3 mile out and back trail, that offers two observation points, one of them being just .25 miles from the start of the trail. It’s a lot of climbing on this trail, on rocks and stairs and a huge drop off once you reach the view, so be mindful of your kids.
what to do in canyonlands with kids
Mesa Arch Trail
visiting canyonlands national park with kids
Mesa Arch
best kid friendly hiking canyonlands
Grand View Point overlook
best kid friendly hiking canyonlands
Grand View Trail
kid friendly hiking canyonlands
Upheaval Dome trail
best kid friendly hiking canyonlands
Upheaval Dome trail
best kid friendly hiking canyonlands
View from Upheaval Dome trail

Junior Ranger Program in Canyonlands National Park

Before going to the park, be sure to pick up a Junior Ranger booklet from the Visitor Center. Once your kids complete the activities, they will earn their very own Junior Ranger badge.

canyonlands junior ranger program

Where to eat near Canyonlands National Park with kids

Indo Grill

This is an Indian restaurant in downtown Moab. We love Indian food and at this point in the trip we were getting sick of the same pizza, burgers, etc. we have come across everywhere so we welcomed something different! Milana and I shared the chicken tikka masala, with some garlic naan and raita. If you like Indian food, this is a great option in Moab.

where to eat in moab with kids
Yummy dinner from Indo grill.

Moab Diner

After several hours of hiking, we needed some food! The Moab diner has an extensive menu offering lots of different food types. I had a BLT and Milana opted for chicken fingers. We also shared a huckleberry malt.

kid friendly restaurants moab
Lunch from Moab Diner

MOYO-Moab Frozen Yogurt

If you want dessert, check out this self-serve frozen yogurt place. Lots of flavors and toppings to choose from!

dessert in moab utah
Coconut and strawberry yogurt.

The Cowboy Grill

If you only have one sit down meal in Moab, make it here! The food here is really good and the views from the patio are amazing! Had we known about this place, we would have spent our last night at the Red Cliffs Lodge, where this restaurant is located. The drive from our hotel in downtown Moab took about 25 minutes, down one of the prettiest roads we have seen on this trip. I ordered their trout and Milana had the salmon. They did have a kid menu, but it was your typical kid foods and she wanted salmon not chicken fingers at a place like this. We both enjoyed our dishes and it was our favorite kid friendly restaurant in Moab!

kid friendly restaurant moab
The drive to the Cowboy Grill.
kid friendly restaurant moab
View from our table
kid friendly restaurant moab
Amazing food!

We hope you find this post helpful when planning your trip to Canyonlands National Park with kids. Be sure to check out our other National Parks with kids guides, as well as our Mighty 5 road trip with kids itinerary to help plan your trip to the Utah National Parks. Want to save this to read later? Pin one of the images below!

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