Canyonlands: Island in the Sky

For spring break we decided on a spontaneous trip.  Our only requirements were that it was somewhere south with warmer weather!  We ended up staying at a hidden gem of a campsite in Green River, UT (more info at the end of this post!) and found ourselves exploring Canyonlands National Park for a couple days.

Island in the Sky district is the most accessible area of Canyonlands so with our limited time we decided to check it out and leave Needles and Maze districts for another time.  I was also super smart this trip and forgot my hiking shoes (slip on Tevas for the win) so I wasn’t going to be able to do any super long hikes.  We ended up getting a great little taste of Canyonlands and can’t wait to come back!

Whale Rock

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy-Moderate. 1 mile round trip fun trail with climb up on top of a giant sandstone rock.  Great views on top, just watch little ones so they don’t tumble down.

Upheaval Dome

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy-Moderate. 1 miles round trip to the first viewpoint and some elevation gain with some stairs.

Grand View Point

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy-Moderate. 2 miles round trip and very little elevation gain.  You are following the trail along the canyon edge so you are close to the cliffs edge.  Definitely keep your kids close to you!  As long as you stay on the trail you are safe.

Mesa Arch

Little Mountaineers Rating: Easy-Moderate. .5 miles roundtrip and only a little elevation gain.  The Arch is a drop off to a cliff so be careful with your kids around that area.


Make sure to stop at some of the many stunning viewpoints throughout the park!

Camping in Green River Utah:

We found a riverside campsite at Lower Gray Canyon Rec Area in Green River, UT.  This is a small campground (11 regular sites 1 group site) all along the gorgeous river with stunning backdrops of this remote desert.  There are no signs or advertisements in town so it seems like it is still a little bit of a hidden gem.  I’m sure it gets busier in the summer, but it was spring break and there were only a couple of other campers when we stayed.

Right next to the campground is Swasey’s Beach, a large, soft, sandy beach area and some day use sites.  My kids had a blast playing on the sand and in the calm, shallow water on the rivers edge.  We can’t wait to come back again!

Green River, Utah is less then an hour away from Moab, Arches NP and Canyonlands NP, making it a great place to stop along the way.


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