Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.60 mi (5.79 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to hiking essentials to get you started:

Backpack: Osprey AG Pack

Hip Belt, Adjustable Torso, Compression Straps, Raincover + Hydraulics LT 2.5L Water Reservoir Included

Men's Manta 28L • $98.93-107.25 • Osprey | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's Mira 26L • $98.93-107.25 • Osprey | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

 

Hiking Shoes: Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Shoe 

Cushioned, GORE-TEX, High Traction Contagrip, 15.8 oz

Men's • $123.71-165.00 • Salomon | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $124.93-165.00 • Salomon | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Shirt: Mountain Hardwear Canyon Pro Long Sleeve Shirt 

Sun Protective, Moisture Wicking, Quick Drying, Roll-up Sleeves

Men's • $71.25-75.00 • Mountain Hardware | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $44.98-47.47 • Mountain Hardware | Amazon | Backcountry

GPS Watch: Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Watch

Waterproof, Calorie Burn Tracker, GPS, Sleep Tracker, Shock Resistant, Speed Tracker, Lap Timer

$128.03-170.00 • Garmin | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Trekking Poles: MSR DynaLock Explore Poles 

Aluminum, Adjustable with DynaLock Levers, Four-season Functionality, 20 oz.

$99.95 • Amazon | REI

Socks: Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock 

Made in USA, Anti-bacterial, Merino Wool, Breathable, Fast-drying

Men's • $17-22 • Darn Tough | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $12.19-22.00 • Darn Tough | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Headlamp: Black Diamond Storm Headlamp 

LED, Waterproof, Maximum Beam Distance: 80 m, Takes AAA Batteries

$49.85-49.95 • Black Diamond | Amazon | REI

First Aid Kit: Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight and Watertight .5 Kit

Ultralight, Watertight, Group Size: 1 person, Trip Duration: 1-2 days

$16.95-19.47 • Adventure Medical Kits | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Spectacular views. Solitude.

Cons

None.

Trailhead Elevation

6,250.00 ft (1,905.00 m)

Net Elevation Gain

150.00 ft (45.72 m)

Features

Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Comments

05/06/2018
My daughter and I did this backpack in early May of this year. The views are spectacular!
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