Green River Overlook
Canyonlands National Park, UT
Green River Overlook provides one of the very best scenes in all of the Canyonlands national park. This stunning vista, with finger like canyons cut by the once powerful Green River, shows the amazing power of wind, water and time on sedimentary rock.
This remarkable chasm, with its naturally sculptured canyons and majestic flat-topped mesas can provide one of the best photographic opportunities in all the great American southwest. A must-see when visiting this area.
Trail Difficulty - EASY
I would rate the difficulty of this trail as a 1 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). The hike to the Green River Overlook is an easy 150 yd walk from the parking lot on a paved sidewalk.
Download KMZ Trail File
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GPS Coordinates & Elevation
Google Maps Birds-Eye-View
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CLICK HERE to get driving directions to Green River Overlook.
The Green River Overlook is located in the Island in the Island in the Sky District of the Canyonlands National Park. The closest town is Moab, UT (42 miles). The directions are from Moab, UT.
From Moab: travel northwest on US-191 for 11 miles until you reach the entrance to the Canyonlands National Park. At this point, take a left on UT-313 and drive west and then south 27.8 miles until you reach a road on the right (Upheaval Dome Rd). Take a right on Upheaval Dome Rd and drive for only .3 miles and take a left on Green River Overlook Rd. Drive for 1.4 miles to reach the parking lot. From the parking lot walk 150 yds on the paved walkway.
Best Time of Day to Shoot
I find the best time to shoot the Green River overlook is sunset when the glow from the late sun reflects off the distant buttes and illuminates the canyon’s west facing walls. That being said, under the right weather conditions you can also get a nice image here at sunrise.
Best Time of Year to Shoot
The Green River overlook can be photographed any time of year. However, the shot is better when there is weather and BEST when there is dramatic weather (clouds, rain, good light). In my opinion, this location provides the best photographic opportunities during the monsoon (mid July to mid Sept) season. Monsoon season can bring violent but brief thunderstorms, which can be great for photography.
What Lens(es) Do You Need
This location screams for a panoramic shot! However, I have found the best shot isolates the river and fingers with the buttes in the background. This shot was taken with a 50mm lens.
The Green River overlook is in the Canyonlands National Park and an entrance fee (good for 7 days) is required ($25). It can be purchased at the visitors’ station.
Direction of the Shot
The direction of the shot is mainly southeast @ 240°.
Special Nuances of Shot
This shot is all about the weather and the light! And the best light and conditions can be VERY rare and hard to find. For the shot above, I spent 3 evenings in a row waiting for the right conditions - and it finally paid off. And as you can see from the picture, this was taken just before a torrential rain storm with lightning strikes all around.
Special Equipment Needed
Other than a tripod, no special photography equipment is needed unless you plan on doing a panoramic shot.
Number of Other Photographers to Expect
The Green River overlook is toward the back of the Island in the Sky area (past the Mesa Arch) and doesn’t get as much traffic as other parts of the Canyonlands. There can be up to 25 visitors there at most times of the day.
The Green River Overlook is in the Island in the Sky District, which is a high desert climate where temperatures can vary up to 40° in a day. Spring and fall are nice, but summer can get into the 100’s. The monsoon season (in late summer) brings violent but brief thunderstorms, which often cause flash floods.
I use Verizon, and there is NO cell service at this location. Cell service is spotty in the Canyonlands Park and there is not a strong signal until you get closer to Moab.
The Green River Overlook is deep in a remote section of the Canyonlands National Park, and the nearest town is Moab (50 miles). Moab is a nice town and has an abundance of lodging.
The closest campsite to Green River Overlook is the Willow Flat Campground (1/4 mile west) by the Green River Overlook. This little campground has 12 sites and is available year-round on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sites are $15 per night.
There is also a campsite at the Dead Horse State Park (19 miles north and then east). The Dead Horse campground has 20 sites (17 standard partial hookups and 3 yurt). Sites are $15 per night + the cost to enter the State Park.
Nearby camping and lodging
Camping - click on the campground below for directions
Willow Flat Campground (1/4 mile west on Green River Overlook rd)
Kayenta Campground (19 miles north - Dead Horse Point)
Horsethief Campsite (18 miles north back toward Moab just past turnoff to Dead Horse Point State Park)
Cowboy Campsite (17 miles north back toward Moab just past turnoff to Dead Horse Point State Park)
Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review
Red Cliffs Lodge
Mile Post 14 Hwy 128, Moab, UT
INCA Inn and Motel
570 N Main St, Moab, UT
100 W 200 S, Moab, UT
There are no restaurants or lodges in the Cayonlands National Park. Moab, UT, is the nearest town (50 miles) and has a nice choice of restaurants. There are several good places to eat in Moab. Eklecticafé is a nice place for breakfast and the Desert Bistro is a high-end place for dinner.
Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review
36 S 100 W, Moab, UT
352 N Main St, Moab, UT
Twisted Sista's Cafe
11 E 100 N, Moab, UT
The closest laundry mat is - Moab Laundry Express LLC @ West 100 North, Moab, UT. Open 24 hours and has Wifi.
Other Photography Opportunities Around
The closest airport is Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), which is 230 miles west and services most of the major airlines in the US. Walker Field (GJT) in Grand Junction Colorado (110 miles north and then east), is a small regional airport and services United Express, SkyWest/Delta, and America West Express/Mesa Airlines.
Area Guides and Workshops
The Photographer's Ephemeris is a very valuable tool for landscape photographers to determine the direction of the sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset from any place on earth on any day (past and future).. Click here to take you to The Photographer's Ephemeris for this location.