The Murphy Trail is a lesser traveled, spectacular hike in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. The trail starts from a dirt parking lot for Murphy Point and is the only trailhead, so it's easy to spot. The trail begins as a clearly defined dirt path for before becoming mostly sandstone rock. Although unmarked, there are cairns to guide the way. Don't be scared to wander away from the cairns in order to explore the area and see all the views this stunning hike has to offer.
After approximately 0.5 mile down the dirt path, the trail splits at a junction. The trail to the left leads to White Rim Road, which is a much more demanding and long hike. Stay to the right to continue toward Murphy Point Overlook, the first of many glimpses of the awe-inspiring views this hike has to offer. You'll reach what looks like the end as you approach the cliff's edge, an overlook of the canyons carved out by the Green River. Follow a path to the left that leads to the sandstone portion of the hike and unobstructed views in every direction.
Though the hike is only 3.6 miles round trip, allow more time than usual to explore Murphy Point, where the different viewpoints seem endless. Because the viewpoints are so widespread, and the vistas offer overlooks in any direction, this trail is nice for a sunrise or sunset. For photography purposes, remember that a lot of the canyon will still be in shadow in the early morning. In midsummer, the best time for canyon views is around 9:00 a.m. if you aren't aiming for sunrise or sunset.