Canyonlands National Park: Murphy Point Rainbow Sunset

Murphy Point is a 3.6-mile round trip hike with excellent views off the western end of the Island in the Sky. The trail is downhill most of the way with only 150 feet of elevation to contend with.

I hiked in with clouds brewing but wanted to get to the end by sunset. Winds all the way but the clouds kept getting darker and darker.

I looked around and found a small ledge I could duck under if needed.

I needed.

Winds soon started howling at perhaps 40 miles per hour and would have blown a sturdy tripod with a my camera on on it had I not held on to it.

It started raining and sleeting so I ducked under the ledge I found. Sand was blowing all around like mad. Sand got into my camera and tripod despite the shelter and despite me attempting to shield them from the wind.

The wind, rain, and sleet lasted about 5-10 minutes. Then it became dead calm again.

I came out from the shelter announcing “there should be a rainbow”. And there was, right in front of me.

Plan the Shot

Just be at Murphy Point at sunset. Good luck with the clouds, light, and rainbow.

Curiously, I was at the visitor center about two hours earlier and asked the ranger if he could deliver a rainbow for me that evening.

Feature Image Details

This was a a simple shot.

I emerged from the shelter and started shooting with a fairly standard range zoom.

I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at 29mm, F16, for 1/6 second at ISO 200.

My general lens of choice for most landscape photography is the Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens.

At 29mm I could have used either lens. I went with the one on my camera given the sand that was all over everything.


If you are at the Canyonlands Island in the Sky district, the Arches national Park is nearby.

For most, it’s probably the reverse, visiting Arches then going to Canyonlands as a side trip.

Also see Canyonlands National Park: Mesa Arch Sunrise

Both Mesa Arch and Murphy Point are easy trails.

Arches National Park Images

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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