In April, I traveled to Southern Utah to visit Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park & Bears Ears with two friends from the East Coast. The total trip was a week, as the drive from SLC to Moab is a long one (4 hrs.) and each park is separated by good amount of distance from the other.
There’s just so much to tell and boast about this area. My goal is to tell you in two posts how to hike, navigate and what’s worth seeing in this area.
This post will cover Arches National Park & Moab. The second part will cover Canyonlands.
Arches National Park
Day 1 – We venture into Arches. I’m honestly not sure of the daily car fee as I have an Annual National Park pass. And boy is it worth it! It’s a Thursday so the park isn’t horribly crowded but we also arrived early (8am-ish) as the crowds picked up later in the day.
Driving in past the entrance is pretty amazing; immediately you see desert, sand and orange rock.
First hike (after a few stops for pictures) we did was Devils Garden which is 7+ mile hike all around multiple (6-7?) arches. But to see most of the arches you have to hike out and back (which in general I hate). And you need to pay close attention to the Cairns (little piles of rocks) & driftwood (don’t cross over it…most of the time) – these as well as the trail are fairly hidden among the landscape at times!
I would have enjoyed this hike more in about half the mileage and less sand. The first arch is Landscape Arch (photo above). It’s massive, has a cool story but sadly you can no longer walk under it. And of course, you cannot stand on any arch (follow the rules!!).
My favorite arch was Private Arch towards the end of this trail. Since it was so far into the trail (around mile 5) it didn’t have a lot of foot traffic (hence the name?) And it had lots of fun rock around it to climb on.
In between these two, there are many more arches, desert overlooks, sand & rock. Nothing super spectacular honestly…or maybe I missed trees! To round out the Devils Garden hike there is sand, so much sand. You will begin to hate sand the further you go into this trip.
Next we did the Windows Overlook area & Double Arch. What’s the difference between an arch and a window you ask? I haven’t figured it out yet. Anyone have any idea??
Double Arch was neat as you can climb into both of them. But both were very crowded; I’d still recommend! We ended the day at Moab Brewery (because duh!)
Day 2 – I convince my friends that a sunrise hike is totally worth it (you’ll notice I’m a big fan), so we head up to Corona Arch in Moab. We hike up (less than 1.5mi one way) during dusk and wait for about an hour for the sun to rise into the arch. But that hour was well spent! You have this entire canyon below you, surrounded by rock and can go on either side of the arch to watch the sun reflecting off the opposite side. It was so cool! I’d definitely recommend this hike and would absolutely do it again!
After the hike & sunrise, we got brunch in downtown Moab and did some shopping. Moab is known for mountain biking so there are cycling shops everywhere as well as boutique stores. Many of the stores have some brands I love (yay 10 Trees!), so I was pretty excited.
While we were in Moab throughout the week, we ate out most dinners and twice for breakfast. None of the dinners were spectacular, but both breakfast places were. Eklecticafe was very kitchy and made their own bread (yum!) Love Muffin Cafe was my favorite; the bread they used in the breakfast panini was amazing (big chunks of sea salt on the top, yum)!
So that’s it for this post of Moab & Arches. Post 2 will highlight Canyonlands & Bears Ears.