If you stretch your imagination, you will understand why Whale Rock Trail in Canyonlands National Park got its name. Big, beached, sandstone whale out in the desert. Sure, why not? In fact, there seems to be an entire pod of them leaping throughout the landscape here. If you have kids with you, your imagination should stretch pretty far.
How to do this hike:
1. Drive about six and a half miles south of the Island in the Sky visitor center to the Upheaval Dome Road. Turn Right (west). Drive about four miles to the signed trailhead and park there. It will be on your right-hand side (north).
2. Walk half a mile out to the overlook. Ta-da! You’re there.
3. Climb to the top of Whale Rock if so inclined. Handrails are bolted at the steeper parts to help you out. The way up starts from the gradually-inclined tail of the whale.
4. Head back the same way.
Tips on doing this hike:
1. Plan to do longer hikes after or before Whale Rock; the trailhead is the same as for Upheaval Canyon and Syncline Loop Trail.
2. Great hike for kids! But watch them on the steeper parts.
3. Keep an eye out for gorgeous blooming prickly pear cactus in the spring and early summer.
Random facts about this hike:
1. It’s 250 feet to reach the top of Whale Rock.