Landing in SLC in the morning, do I have time to drive to Moab and see Canyonlands National Park the same day?
The drive takes about 4 hours from Salt Lake City to Moab. Yes you should be able to get from SLC to Moab and have some time to go into Canyonlands National Park. The first hour of the drive is on Freeway. After that you are on highways except for a 20 or 25 mile stretch you will have on I-70. You will go on Highway 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon. This road has frequent accidents and at times is closed, but it is better than it used to be. We were going through the canyon last year and it was closed for about 4 hours. If highway 6 is closed you can detour on highway 89 through Manti. This will eventually run into I-70. The detour through Manti adds about an extra hour to your drive.
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Yep, I've done the drive in about ~4 hours.
It will depend on what time you actually start driving to Moab and how much you want to do in Canyonlands. If you leave closer to noon, you won't have that much time in the park, since sunset is around 6pm tomorrow. SLC (airport) to Moab is roughly 3 3/4 - 4 hours. You will pass the turn-off to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands before you reach Moab. If you drive directly into the park, you could get to the Grand View Point Overlook in about 4 1/2 hours from the airport. From that overlook to Moab is about a 1 hr drive. So you can figure on about 5 1/2 hrs drive time (including in the park).
There is a short 1/2 mile loop trail to Mesa Arch between the entrance station and Grand View Point, that's worth doing. If you find yourself getting to the area later, another option is to drive into Dead Horse Point State Park for sunset. It's a popular place that time of day. To get there is the same turnoff as going into Canyonlands, but you turn off again to the left before reaching the entrance station to Island in the Sky (Canyonlands). There is a $10 fee per vehicle. There are a couple of spots you can stop on the way in, but most drive to the end of the road for the sunset. You'd want to get there an hour or so before sunset to give yourself time to look around and explore a bit...
good thing about landing in the morning is you'd be going against traffic through SLC.
It's a 4 hour drive to Moab. I would recommend visiting the park early morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the midday sun. However give yourself time to enjoy the park so if you leave early enough it's possible but it's a full day due to all the driving.
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