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Aztec Butte



Wow factor


Overall rating



Access road



There a few panoramas in the south-west better than this. In my experience it seems 95% of people don’t venture further than the busy parking lot. The views from here are superb but to enjoy even better ones without the tourist hordes it’s worth a mere one hour of your time to walk the 2 mile roundtrip to the actual point of Grandview Point.


A very good man-made trail undulates over the mesa to a huge chunk of rock up which you can scramble for a 360 degree vista over much of Canyonlands. Even in the height of the tourist season you won’t find too many people up here. Please note, it is a scramble to get to the top of the rock at the very end of the trail! Even if you don't make it up the rock you'll still get a different perspective on the landscape below, and it's a pleasant walk.


Right in front you looms the imposing Junction Butte, a huge landmark in this area. Far below you, look out for the occasional lone vehicle driving close to the edge of the incredible Monument Basin on the weaving White Rim Road that partially encircles Island-in-the-Sky. Take some binoculars to see the distant Needles district, and beyond the Land of Standing Rocks in the Maze district.


I’ve spent many hours up here in the golden hour before sunset just staring in wonderment while capturing video of shadows of clouds scudding over the landscape far below. For me this is the best view in the world, better even than any in the Grand Canyon, from North or South Rim.


On your return, you can opt for the main trail or just follow the rim (no trail!) back to your vehicle. You’ll need to rock hop occasionally but it’s easy and there’s very little cryptobiotic soil to avoid. About a third of the way back along the rim you may notice an old constructed trail dropping off the rim down towards the White Rim. Canyoneers can take this trail to the bottom (parts require a rappel) and then hike over to Junction Butte where another old trail takes you to the top. This is an extremely strenuous hike and not for the faint-hearted as there are some hazardous points with steep drop-offs along the way. Be warned. Most people (and there are very few) who hike up Junction Butte start from their vehicle on the White Rim Road cutting out out hours of additional hiking.

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