07/17/2019 to 07/20/2019
Arches National Park --- Canyonlands National Park
Wednesday 7/17/2019 We were sad to leave the beautiful campground in Monument Valley but we had to continue on. Our next destination is Moab, Utah to visit Arches National Park. We arrived at our new RV park, which is named Spanish Trail around noon because we only had 144 miles to travel. After we got situated, we decided to take the nine-mile drive through the city of Moab and enter Arches National Park just to get an idea of what we wanted to do the next morning.
Our first stop was the visitor’s center where we spoke to a ranger who gave us hiking suggestions. It is still extremely hot here in Moab so we had to be careful of the time of day and how long we would be able to hike. We settled on waking up very early and going on the Delicate Arch hike which is three miles roundtrip. For the next hour or so we drove through the park, took some pictures and found the parking lot for the Delicate Arch hike to save some time in the morning. We checked the time and it takes 40 minutes to drive from our RV park to the parking lot of the hike.
Thursday 7/18/2019 We woke up around 5:30 am, had something quick for breakfast, packed a lunch and headed on our way to the Delicate Arch. We enter the park through the pay stations but since it was so early, no one was manning them. They ask you to pay at the visitor’s center. I wonder how many people actually do. I am so happy that I purchased the senior lifetime pass for $80.00 last year. It’s paid for itself 10 times over. The National Parks are usually $30.00 per car to enter. We drove through the park until we reached the parking lot and began the hike around 7 am. It was a little cooler in the morning but still was 80 degrees. It took us about 45 minutes to reach the Delicate Arch but all along the way was some great scenery. The arch is huge as you can tell from several of the photos and we spent about a half-hour wandering around and snapping pictures. This is the most popular hike in Arches and even though you can’t tell from our photos, we were by no means alone. The trip back took another 45 minutes so the roundtrip took us about two hours.
We continued on the main road to the second hike we planned for today. It was on the Devil’s Garden Trailhead and our destination was the Landscape Arch. This is also a very popular attraction. This hike was only .8 miles one way, but after we took our fill of pictures we decided to travel further along on the same trailhead and go view the Double O Arch. We had good intentions but only made it halfway because this was a more difficult section. We had to scramble up a narrow stone ledge near the beginning part of the hike and this was a little intimidating as you feel like you could tumble over the side of the ledge into the stone canyon far below. We came upon a trail sign which showed we still had .9 miles to go to reach the Double O Arch. As the temperature was now reaching 100 degrees and we’d already hiked a lot today, we changed our minds and headed to the Partition Arch which was only .2 miles away. We were very happy that we did as the Partition Arch was really great. It serves as a sort of picture frame for the valley below. We took some photos under the arch and also in the smaller round hole next to it then began the long, hot trek back to the parking lot. We accomplished all this in a total of five hours and by the time we left (around noon), we were very much exhausted by the sun. The rest of the day, we just relaxed in our air-conditioned trailer.
Friday 7/19/2019 We slept in a bit today but still made it into the park by 8 am. We weren’t planning any long hikes today, instead, we decided to take several short ones and exit the park before it became unbearably hot. Our first stop was a one-mile round trip hike to an area they named The Windows. These are two large holes in the rock walls – a North Window and a South Window. We continued walking to another arch, named the Turret Arch, from this same trail. Then we returned to the parking lot where we crossed to the other side and began another trail that led to the Double Arch which was only a half-mile roundtrip. We took plenty of photos, walked back to the truck in the parking lot and drove to the next spot.
This next stop was not an arch but was a large boulder balancing on a huge stone pillar. It was a very pleasant .3 mile walk around the appropriately named “Balanced Rock”. What’s interesting about the Balance Rock was that as you walked the circular path around it, it appeared as a couple of different shapes. Sometimes it seemed round and other times it seemed oblong. It was about 11 am now and as we exited Arches we noticed a very long time of cars (double lanes) waiting to enter. These late arrivals are in for a very crowded and hot day of sightseeing.
Very close by there is a local park named Lions Park which looked very nice and we decided to go for a drive through it. There’s one main road that runs alongside the Colorado River and we drove on it for 24 miles roundtrip before turning around and heading back to the RV park. It was a beautiful, scenic drive by the river with the canyon walls in the background.
Here is a very nice YouTube video highlighting everything we saw in Arches National Park
Saturday 7/20/2019 There’s another national park entrance about 30 miles away from Arches that is named Canyonlands National Park. Since this was our last day in Moab and we saw all the sights we wanted to in Arches we decided to go for a drive and visit Canyonlands. The first stop was their visitor’s center. This section of the park is called Island in the Sky. Canyonlands is a very large park with 337,598 acres of canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires. There are other sections of the park but the entrances are a very long drive from Moab. Directly across from the visitor’s center is a beautiful scenic view of the canyon. It’s very similar to the Grand Canyon but on a much smaller scale. Our second stop was the Mesa Arch. The hike to the arch was very short, only a half-mile roundtrip. We took several photos and then left for our last stop which was the Grand View Point Overlook.
We walked to the overlook and then kept hiking for a short time on the Rim Walk. We decided to call it a day after that and drove back to the trailer for the evening. While Canyonlands is a very nice, scenic park, I think because we have already visited the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce it was a little underwhelming for us.
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