Panoramic view w/Henry Mountains.
This is a magical campsite. Canyonlands NP issues one permit per night for this area, so you have it completely to yourself! The permits are reservable at recreation.gov. This was my first experience backpacking, but it was so amazing that I️ can’t wait to do it again! The hike in was only 1.7 miles, so it’s not too much of a commitment for a novice!
I️ learned about this site from the Switchbacks podcast, which is a wonderful resource for traveling to the National Parks! Note that campfires are not permitted at Murphy Point.
We floated the Green several years ago and were so happy to see this as our final campsite!!! This year we headed to Dead Horse Point to see the view from the top. The pictures are recent. This campground was beautiful, if a little buggy in June!
We think that Murphy Point Overlook is one of the best-kept secrets in the entire National Park system (and we visited every national park last year!)
After reading about this unique backcountry campsite in our National Geographic “Secrets of the National Parks” guide book, we were shocked that when we inquired about it to a ranger, he told us the spot was available for the night. It is still a secret.
In Canyonlands, there are many options for backcountry camping, and each area or “zone” has a designated number of permits available. What is unique about Murphy Point is that only one permit per day is issued, ensuring total solitude for camping in the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Buying the permit at the visitor center was not necessarily cheap ($30 per permit, which is good for up to 14 days), but it was easy, even in the late-summer almost-peak season.
The site itself is amazing. A short (1.8-mile one-way) trail leads out the overlook, which is stunning, especially for your own private sunset and sunrise experience. Camping here allows you to see the best of the light in the evening and early morning and experience drop-dead views from the comfort of your tent window. It’s easily one of the best campsites we have ever been in.
During the rest of our time at Islands of the Sky, we followed the crowds around to Mesa Arch and other short (but beautiful!) overlook trails. We especially loved the White Rim Overlook trail, which is easy to miss as it appears to just be a picnic area but is actually a very deserted -- but incredible -- overlook. We also spent two days backpacking in the Needles District, which we highly recommend if you have the time.
You can read much more about our four days in the park on our blog: Switchback Kids (Canyonlands)