After our first Canyonlands hike in the Needles, we thought nothing could outdo the magic of Chesler Park. But when near a National Park, one must explore. And so despite the pending heat and our previous days' exertion, we set out before sunrise to do a tour of the Island in the Sky section of the park. This section is much closer to Moab and is accordingly much busier.
Our first stop was Mesa Arch. This landmark is particularly well-known and the crowds around it were swarming (due to several tour buses) even at sunrise. The round trip hike was an easy .5 miles and though we attempted to take some photos, the crowds were so thick we decided to just move on.
Next up was Murphy Point a bit further in to the park. This 3.6 hike was a mostly flat out and back following an old dirt road to great views overlooking the White Rim and Green River.
Our last hike was the Grand View trail at the end of the main road through Island in the Sky. This 2 mile out and back hike was a real winner. Because we did the Murphy Point hike before this one, more people had gotten out and about. Still, the hike was much less crowded than any we did in Arches. This trail (again, mostly flat) was over a lot of slick rock and offered really great views of the wide canyon below.
All told, we hiked just over 6 miles throughout the morning in Island in the Sky. These distances allowed us to be particularly light weight and to refill with cold water we had frozen overnight and then kept in a cooler in the car. The hikes gave us a nice taste of the views down over the rim but weren't taxing. Next time we are back in the area, I'd be happy to do any of these hikes again.
Pro Tip: If you are wanting to prioritize, we'd recommend Grand View, then Murphy Point, then Mesa Arch.