Arches Vs Canyonlands
Of the two parks, Arches gets significantly more traffic than Canyonlands National Park. On average, 1.5 million people visit Arches every year, while only 500,000 make it over to Canyonlands per year. However, you shouldn’t take that to mean that Arches is a better destination for your next family vacation. Canyonlands has long been Utah’s most well-kept secret, featuring just as many beautiful vistas with far fewer tourists to avoid. The park has a rougher natural beauty that you can’t really find at places like Arches or Zion National Park, so if you’re into something a little starker and you’re not afraid to do some hiking, then Canyonlands is the place for you.
Of course, you can always visit both Canyonlands and Arches on the same trip. The two national parks are only a half-hour drive away from one another, which means they can make a great weekend destination together. Some people claim that seeing both Canyonlands and Arches in a single day is ideal, but we think you’ll get the most out of your experience if you spend a full day at each park. It takes a whole day just to see all of the Island in the Sky, and Canyonlands has three other districts you can explore. In fact, if you really want to have a full weekend, you can end it by heading to Dead Horse Point State Park, only 15 minutes north of Canyonlands. All three parks are within an hour of Moab, so you won’t have too long a drive back home either.
When you’re in Canyonlands, you can make sure you hit all the good spots by using our Canyonlands National Park Self-Guided Driving Tour as a base.