A bit of a mistake on this portion of the trip, I should have added a day to knock out the 5th and final National Park in Utah, Capitol Reef NP. I had to pass it to get to Moab and for some reason when I was planning the trip I either missed it or deemed it unimportant, then, of course, I see awesome photos on IG and completely regret it. The rest of the parks on the trip have no stated that the entrance fee will not be waived for COVID so it made sense for me to buy the annual pass, which is $80. After your second national park, they’re all free (Depending on which parks, the highest ones are $35).
We are off to Moab, UT where we will find two National Parks within 20 minutes of each other. The first stop was to Arches NP. A few notes about Arches:
- Entrance fee $30
- Established in 1929
- 76,679 acres in size
- Contains the highest density of natural arches in the world
- Best known for the 2,000+ natural sandstone arches
Day 1 – Arrive and Drive-Thru the Park 06.17.2020
A 5.5-hour drive from Hurricane we arrived at Canyonlands RV Resort & Campground. Since we left early in the morning from Hurricane, we had plenty of time to set up camp, rest, and then head out for a scenic drive thru the Arches NP. For those that aren’t interested in hiking through the park, the scenic drive in Arches is fantastic. Driving down main park road we took our first stop by turning right down window road. There wasn’t much to see here, a lot of open lands overlooking the park.
The next stop was down a delicate arch road. You can see a few arches from the parking lot and they had some nice hike trails this was the only hiking trail we did today and it took about 45 minutes. We even saw a non-venomous snake. We drove down to the end of Main Park Road and the parking lot was full. This is the main hike that you see on IG, it’s the Devils Garden Trailhead. More on this tomorrow.
Day 2 – Canyonlands NP 06.18.2020
First off we started the day at Canyonlands National Park, this place reminded me a lot of the Grand Canyon. This park made up for that since we missed the Grand Canyon earlier on in the trip due to wildfires. A few notes about Canyonlands NP:
- Entrance fee $30
- Established in 1964
- 337,598 acres in size
- The Canyons, Mesas, & Buttes were created by the Colorado & Green River
- Best known for vast canyons
This park has two main entrances, the one that takes you to the needles and the one that takes you to the island in the sky. Since I figured we’d only need a day here (big mistake) we were limited on time (the theme of this trip) we decided to do the Island in the Sky. Wanting to go back to do the Arches NP Devils Garden Trailhead we decided to do just one hike here and then stop at any overlooks on the Grand View Point Road.
A short walk from the Island Sky entrance is a great overlook of the canyons. From there continue down the road we stopped at the Mesa Arch. This is a short easy hike and provides a breathtaking view thru the arch overlooking the canyon. After this, we decided to turn around and head out to Arches NP.
Day 2 – Hike in Arches NP 06.18.2020
The first stop was to one of many double O arches. You can view this one from the parking lot down the delicate arch road. It is a lot further than you think but an easy hike. After this, it was time to set out to see the famous landscape arch. This arch is the longest natural arch in North America and measures 93m (306ft). Before we headed out an older gentleman was telling us that this is a treacherous hike and would take hours, it’s not that at all.
However after we did see the landscape arch we continued down the trail, where it does get very difficult. This part of the trail requires climbing, scaling, and standing on top ledges with death facing either side. This is the trail that leads to Dark Angel. After walking up a steep set of rocks we got to the first portion of the top, which splits off into a few trails, we decided to head towards Dark Angel. We got to another set of climbing and ledges and decided to turnaround after talking to another person that was on their way back. He said it wasn’t really worth it and the views were best here. Since I Was wearing tennis shoes I just agreed with him haha. I stayed on the top of the overlook for about twenty minutes soaking in the views and sun and then headed back.
I really messed up my trip to Utah and should have planned to add more days. I did get a lot done in the two days and am extremely happy I stopped at all four of these national parks. There are many hikes I will like to go back and complete in the future and am looking forward to it. Tomorrow I drive out to Colorado to stop at Rocky Mountain National Park.