Murphy Point

A relaxed hike to a breathtaking viewpoint over Canyonlands.

Hiking Easy

Distance
5.4 km
Ascent
82 m
Descent
82 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
1.9 km
Gradient
Murphy Point Map

The hike to Murphy Point is just far enough to keep the crowds away, but easy enough for all abilities, so anyone can find some solitude at this breathtaking viewpoint on the canyon rim. Though it’s mostly flat, there’s no shade or water along the trail, so it’s best in the cool hours of morning or late afternoon. From the parking area, a sandy trail leads through a meadow of grass and sagebrush toward a flat horizon. Though there’s not a whole lot to see at first, the real reward comes at the end.

Description

About half a mile into the hike you’ll pass an old wooden fence against a natural rock wall. This is a corral built by cowboys long ago, so it’s a piece of Wild West history. Continuing on, the trail crosses some stretches of bare rock, where cairns aid in navigation. A slight uphill is necessary before the trail turns down again, and that’s when views get really good.

Looking down the trail, the horizon opens up ahead. You’ll first see mountains and broad plateaus in the distance, then the dark-red cliffs that make the middle layers of Canyonlands. As you get closer to the point, you’ll see the orange cliffs and dark chasms in the lower layers, and you can even see the Green River cutting through the very bottom. Once on the rim, you can leave the trail and find a rocky perch all your own, but the edge is not protected, so use caution. Try to pick out other landmarks like Candlestick Tower, Junction Butte, and the White Rim Road far below.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/hiking.htm https://hikebiketravel.com/the-hike-to-murphy-point-canyonlands-national-park/ https://www.grandcanyontrust.org/hikes/murphy-point-overlook

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area