Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands may be the least visited of Utah’s “Mighty Five National Parks,” but frankly, it’s one of my favorites.  It reminds me of the Grand Canyon, with beautiful long views & vista points that pull you right out to the edge of the canyon.  It’s also close to two other mega-popular Utah destinations: Arches National ParkMoab.  Ironically, the most famous arch in Utah is actually at Canyonlands ~ not Arches: & that is Mesa Arch (pictured below).  Because Canyonlands is such a large park, it can be hard to figure out where to base yourself.  So in this article, we’ll figure out: “Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park?

**Note: The town of Moab is not only a great base for Canyonlands National Park, it’s also a fantastic place to stay if you’re visiting Arches National Park.

Where to Stay by Canyonlands, Which of Utah's National Parks is the Best? Girl Who Travels the World, Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch at Canyonlands is one of the most popular photography spots in ALL of Utah’s National Parks: the sunrise view it frames is absolutely iconic.

You have two main choices for lodging by Canyonlands: 1) The adventure town of Moab, which is close to BOTH Canyonlands & Arches National Park. Or, if you’re visiting the Needles area, 2) The cute town of Monticello is a more relaxed & less expensive choice than Moab…

Map of Canyonlands National Park

You can see on the map how close Moab is to the Island in the Sky Visitor Center ~ the most popular section of Canyonlands.  Here, you’ll find Mesa Arch, as well as several overlooks & some easy day hikes.  Monticello is further south, closer to Needles Overlook.

Canyonlands National Park

Needles Overlook

Monticello (Close to Needles Overlook)

Moab (LOTS of Hotels & Restaurants)

Island in the Sky Visitor Center

Best Hotels in Moab by Canyonlands

Best Hotels in Moab by Canyonlands Main Entrance: 

If you want to stay near Canyonland’s Main Entrance AND you want to visit Arches National Park, there’s one obvious choice for lodging: the western-frontier town of Moab.  Moab attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country, & it’s one of the largest towns in eastern Utah, offering a plethora of hotel choices.  We’ll break these down below….

  • Best GLAMPING Hotel Option by Canyonlands: Just outside of Arches National Park is the glamper’s dream: Under Canvas at Moab ($399+). If you’ve ever wanted to live out your very own “Out of Africa” adventure, you need to stay here. Beautifully-designed tents are filled with comfortable, earth-toned furnishings & high-end yet understated design. But the best part is feeling totally immersed in nature, with views of red canyon walls looming just outside your tent….
  • Best LUXURY Hotel Options by Canyonlands: If you’re looking for luxury with a side of wellness retreat, check out beautiful Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa. Set on 160 prime acres along the Colorado River, this stunning retreat offers a farm-to-table restaurant, spa, equestrian center, outdoor pool & hot tub, petting zoo, tennis courts, & hiking trails. For more modern-luxury closer to town, try Hoodoo Moab ($309+), part of Hilton’s Curio Collection.

Which Utah National Park is the Best? Girl Who Travels the World

Helllooooo….glamping perfection!! From the leather couch to the southwestern rug, everything about Under Canvas at Moab speaks my language…

Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park, Girl Who Travels the World

Under Canvas is one of the most romantic places you can stay near Moab…

Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park, Girl Who Travels the World

Set on 160 acres along the Colorado River, Sorrel River Ranch Resort boasts one of the most unique hotel settings in Moab…

Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park, Girl Who Travels the World

Rooms at Sorrel River Ranch Resort.

Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park, Girl Who Travels the World

For a little more modern luxury, try Hoodoo Moab by Hilton’s Curio Collection.

  • Best LUXURY B&B by Canyonlands & Arches National Park: Still in the luxury category, but the “Bed & Breakfast” option, there’s really only one choice: adorable Sunflower Hill, a Luxury Inn ($200+/night). If you want to feel like you’ve been dropped into a cozy little English cottage & garden after a full day of hiking at the National Parks: stay here.

Best Places to Stay in Moab, Girl Who Travels the World

For English cottage charm in Moab: check into the Sunflower Hill Inn.

Best Family Hotels in Moab

  • Best FAMILY Hotel Options in Moab: 1) The all-suite Springhill Suites by Marriott Moab ($254+) is just 3 miles from downtown Moab, & their beautiful outdoor pool is a hit with both kids & adults. Families will appreciate the daily breakfast buffet, 24-hour convenience store, & basketball courts; 2) If you’re looking for a little more character & don’t mind being slightly further from town, try the fantastic Castle Valley Inn ~ where kids will love playing volleyball, badminton, croquet, & disc golf on their five-acre property. Adults will love the hot tub hidden in their garden, & hammocks sprinkled throughout the grounds for napping & reading…

Best Hotels for Families in Moab, Girl Who Travels the World

Several different pools & hot tubs offer lots of options for both kids & parents at Springhill Suites Moab.

Best Hotels for Families in Moab, Girl Who Travels the World

If you’re looking for a little more character & “Western” feel, try the five-acre Castle Valley Inn.

Best Hotels for Families in Moab, Girl Who Travels the World

The lovely setting of Castle Valley Inn.

 

Best Budget Hotels in Moab by Canyonlands

  • Best Budget Hotel Options in Moab: If you want to spend less than $200/night in Moab, three great options are 1) My Place Hotel-Moab ($143+), which has an absolutely stunning pool area for this price point, along with clean, comfortable rooms & kitchens; or 2) Wingate by Wyndham Moab ($134+), which is extremely clean & modern, offering a heated outdoor pool & bike storage; or 3) The slightly more frontier-feeling Big Horn Lodge ($153+). You can’t beat Big Horn’s prime downtown location, which is right next to a market; rooms are more rustic than the first two options, & their pool isn’t as pretty ~ but if you want to be right in town, this is a good option.
    Best Budget Hotels in Moab, Girl Who Travels the World

    For a budget hotel, the My Place Hotel-Moab has an AMAZING outdoor pool area.

    Best Budget Hotels in Moab, Girl Who Travels the World

    Clean & straightforward rooms are what you’ll find at the Wingate by Wyndham Moab, which has a nice pool area ~ for less than $200/night.

    Best Budget Hotels in Moab, Girl Who Travels the World

    Rustic Big Horn Lodge is located right in the heart of Moab.

Best Hotels in Monticello by Canyonlands

Best Hotels in Monticello, Utah (by Needles Overlook):

Now, we move on from Moab to the only other great town to base yourself in for a trip to Canyonlands: the charming town of Monticello.  Accommodations here are FAR cheaper here than in Moab ~ but the trade-off is, they’re not as luxurious.  You will find character in spades though, especially at my top Monticello pick: the Grist Mill Inn.  More on this spot below…. 

So what’s another reason to stay in Monticello vs. Moab?  The Needles Overlook area (pictured below) is a fantastic spot for people who just want to drive right up to beautiful viewpoints; there was ZERO hiking involved for me to get the shot below.  You simply park, then walk out to the rim ~ where you can take all kinds of amazing photos.  Monticello is also a great place to stay if you’re visiting places like Monument Valley, or Mesa Verde National Park, which is en route if you’re heading south.  And finally, the Needles district of Canyonlands is far less crowded than the Main Entrance; another good reason to visit.

Which of Utah's National Parks is the Best? Girl Who Travels the World, Canyonlands National Park

We arrived at Needles Overlook at sunrise ~ after a 45-minute drive from the Grist Mill Inn in Monticello, Utah. There were about 15 other people there at that time. If you want to get down into the canyon at Needles: you’ll need a 4X4 vehicle.

Best Budget & Character-Filled Hotels in Monticello: There are two stand-outs in Monticello: 1) The Grist Mill Inn ($100+), & 2) Inn at the Canyons ($82+). The Grist Mill is where we stayed: it’s an old Victorian-style house that has been repurposed into a delightful inn; rooms are very large, & the style is old-fashioned & of-another-time. The family who runs the Grist Mill is delightful; you may run into them in the communal kitchen or dining area.

Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park, Girl Who Travels the World

Grist Mill Inn is set in a charming Victorian house with a large, welcoming front porch.

Whereas the Grist Mill is set in a quiet, residential neighborhood ~ Inn at the Canyons is located right off the main road, & is more of a straightforward motel option. There’s an indoor pool here & free breakfast…but not too many frills.  For a more luxurious option, head further south to Blanding where you’ll find the beautifully-decorated & cozy Stone Lizard Lodging ($149+).

Where to Stay by Canyonlands National Park, Girl Who Travels the World

As Monticello doesn’t have too many luxurious options, the Stone Lizard Lodge in Blanding gives you a little more “oomph” & comfort…

Where to Stay by Canyonlands & Arches

 I hope this article has helped you delineate & figure out which Utah town is best for your visit to Canyonlands & Arches National Parks.  Read about some of Canyonlands’ great easy day hikes (kid-friendly) or why Monument Valley is a must-visit

xoxo Noelia 

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