Utah South #1

It is hard to believe that we have been on the road for three weeks. This adventure only gets better with time. This blog post covers our time at Arches and Canyonlands National Park. The next post will be on Capitol Reef, Bryce, Natural Bridges and Zion. On the drive from Provo to Arches the landscape gave way to more and more red rock. Our reserved RV site was right in Moab. I must say it looked a lot better online than in person. The park was tight with small spaces and very crowded. Moab is a fun and a very bustling place. There are lots of off road trails for the ATV and four wheel drive enthusiast. Our RV park was filled with big rigs and awesome backcountry machines. There were also lots of bicyclist and hikers in tents.

Arches National Park  Moab, Utah

Arches National Park Moab, Utah

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK AT MOAB

We both loved the Arches National Park Experience. If you like red rock, interesting formations and natural arches, this is the place. The weather was excellent and we soon learned the drill. It is HOT during the day and cool at night. So the objective is to get up and get going very early. The thread of our experience was around every turn there is something new to look at. There were several great hikes and the drive through the park is phenomenal. Our time there was just right for us a day and a half.

First Hike at Arches - Park Avenue Trail

First Hike at Arches – Park Avenue Trail

Park Avenue Trail - Early Afternoon

Park Avenue Trail – Early Afternoon

The Park Avenue Trail was the first hike. It was fairly easy with lots of ups and downs with great views. A very nice initiation to the park and what it has to offer.

Devils Garden Trail - First of many Arches

Devils Garden Trail – First of many Arches

Devils Garden - Interesting arch...

Devils Garden – Interesting arch…

Devils Garden Trail - Navajo Arch

Devils Garden Trail – Navajo Arch

Devils Garden Trail - Fun view through the arch

Devils Garden Trail – Fun view through the arch

Devil Garden Trail - - Long view looking north...

Devil Garden Trail – – Long view looking north…

Devils Garden Trail - Love the red rock!

Devils Garden Trail – Love the red rock!

Devils Garden Trail - Arches everywhere

Devils Garden Trail – Arches everywhere

Devils Garden Trail - The views never quit...

Devils Garden Trail – The views never quit…

Devils Garden Trail - Dark Angel

Devils Garden Trail – Dark Angel

The main hike was the Devils Garden Trail. It is seven miles long with lots of scrambling over rocks. We got a work out that day along with introduction to life on the trail in red rock territory. The hike was a bit more technical than anticipated for us flatlanders Midwesterners. There are nine arches on the route plus significant elevation changes. The trail was busy. Please do not ask me to remember the names of all the arches.

Lots of photo opts at Arches National Park

Lots of photo opts at Arches National Park

Lots of Arches throughout the park...all with their own personality

Lots of Arches throughout the park…all with their own personality

Great views from the car...

Great views from the car…

Love the colors in this shot...

Love the colors in this shot…

I liked this view...shot near the end of the day

I liked this view…shot near the end of the day

Had to hike to catch this arch...

Had to hike to catch this arch…

Double Arch in Garden of the Windows section of the park

Double Arch in Garden of the Windows section of the park

Photo taken as a storm was passing in the background

Photo taken as a storm was passing in the background

After the hike we drove almost all of the park roads. There are lots of short hikes available along the way. We did as many as time would allow. As you can see lots more arches and many outstanding views. By the end of the day we were ready for a shower and to put our feet up.

DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK

Dead Horse Point - Utah State Park

Dead Horse Point – Utah State Park

The Dead Horse Point State Park was our next stop after Moab. This was to be our base camp for our first Canyonlands adventure. Our reserved site was for four nights. The park is outstanding. Check it out if you ever get the chance. It is called the Grand Canyon of Utah. Legend has it the locals would round up wild horses and use the natural points to corral them. Will spare you the details on how the park got its name.

Dead Horse Point State Park - Grand Canyon of Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park – Grand Canyon of Utah

Dead Horse Point - Phosphate mining in the valley

Dead Horse Point – Phosphate mining in the valley

Dead Horse Point - Colorado River

Dead Horse Point – Colorado River

Dead Horse Point - Long view

Dead Horse Point – Long view

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise take two

Dead Horse Point at Sunrise take two

Dead Horse Point at Sunset

Dead Horse Point at Sunset

Would you believe this tree is over 100 years old - Utah Junipter

Would you believe this tree is over 100 years old – Utah Junipter

The Colorado River is at the base of the canyon. It is 2,000 feet down to the river instead of 5,000 like the Grand Canyon. The sunrise and sunset views are breathtaking. There are great mountain bike trails. I did a couple which were way beyond my comfort zone for risk taking and skill set but I did them anyway. This park calls us back.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK – ISLAND IN THE SKY DISTRICT

Canyonlands National Park - Island in the Sky

Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky

Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky district was next on the list. Canyonlands is large with three districts: Island in the Sky, Needles and The Maze. The Maze section was not on our list as it is not as developed and much more rugged plus it is hard to get to without lots of driving. Island in the Sky is only 30 miles from Arches but entirely different. It has its own look and feel. It is more rugged and less developed and not as busy. It has great hiking trails along with excellent scenic drives. Again we had a day and a half which was just the right amount of time for us.

Canyonlands - Neck Spring Hiking Trail

Canyonlands – Neck Spring Hiking Trail

Neck Spring Hiking Trail View

Neck Spring Hiking Trail View

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail

Neck Spring Trail - Long view

Neck Spring Trail – Long view

Neck Spring Trail - Shafer Canyon

Neck Spring Trail – Shafer Canyon

Neck Spring Trail looking east

Neck Spring Trail looking east

The Neck Spring Trail was our one big hike. It was an eight mile loop again with lots of elevation change but little rock scrambling… It gets its name from being at the neck of the canyon and there is a spring or two along the way. As you will see the photos display a different image than Arches.

Neck Spring Trail - Desert shot

Neck Spring Trail – Desert shot

Shafer Canyon view

Shafer Canyon view

Shafer Canyon - Fun perspective

Shafer Canyon – Fun perspective

Canyonlands Scenic Drive

Canyonlands Scenic Drive

Relaxing at the top - Canyonlands

Relaxing at the top – Canyonlands

Canyonlands - West view

Canyonlands – West view

Canyonlands - One more shot of red rock...

Canyonlands – One more shot of red rock…

Canyonlands has arches too!

Canyonlands has arches too!

More scenic drive photo opts...

More scenic drive photo opts…

We took a day to drive the scenic drives. As you can see from the photos…there is lots to see and do here.

COLORADO RIVER DRIVE

Drive along the Colorado River from Moab

Drive along the Colorado River from Moab

Colorado River Drive Arch

Colorado River Drive Arch

Colorado River Drive

Colorado River Drive

Colorado River Drive Cave

Colorado River Drive Cave

Colorado River Valley

Colorado River Valley

Colorado River

Colorado River

Colorado River Drive - Scenic turnout

Colorado River Drive – Scenic turnout

Colorado River Drive View to the East

Colorado River Drive View to the East

The last day we were at Dead Horse we headed out for a drive along the Colorado River on Utah Highway 128 out of Moab. The drive was recommended and was a nice change from our aggressive hiking experiences. We spent most of the day sight-seeing along the river with a nice picnic stop on river bank at a BLM site.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK – NEEDLES DISTRICT

The South Utah experience just gets better and better. Our RV site reservation was at a private campground in Monticello for two nights. There were no national or state Parks close by. Again same Utah experience, the park looked much better online than in person. The Needles district was a surprise as it was so much different than Island in the Sky. It was less developed hence less traffic and there was a surprise around every turn.

Canyonlands - Needles District

Canyonlands – Needles District

Canyonlands - Needles District

Canyonlands – Needles District

More Canyonlands Needles District

More Canyonlands Needles District

Canyonlands Needles - Chesler Park Trail

Canyonlands Needles – Chesler Park Trail

View from Chesler Park Trail

View from Chesler Park Trail

Chesler Park - Canyonlands Needles District

Chesler Park – Canyonlands Needles District

Hike Chesler Park Trail - Over 300 photo - Hard to choose the best

Hike Chesler Park Trail – Over 300 photo – Hard to choose the best

More Chesler Park Hike

More Chesler Park Hike

Chesler Park - Interesting rock formations

Chesler Park – Interesting rock formations

Chesler Park Trail - Fun view around every turn

Chesler Park Trail – Fun view around every turn

Chesler Park Trail

Chesler Park Trail

Chesler Park - More red rock

Chesler Park – More red rock

Chesler Park Trail - Mile 8

Chesler Park Trail – Mile 8

Chesler Park Trail - Photographers Candy Store

Chesler Park Trail – Photographers Candy Store

More fun rock formations

More fun rock formations

Red rock, white rock and blue sky...

Red rock, white rock and blue sky…

What do you think about this view...

What do you think about this view…

Chesler Park Trail - Mile 10

Chesler Park Trail – Mile 10

Red rock - slots...

Red rock – slots…

Never lost interest in this trail - always something new around the next turn

Never lost interest in this trail – always something new around the next turn

Jan in the slot canyon - it went on for almost a mile...

Jan in the slot canyon – it went on for almost a mile…

Jan climbing through the slot...of course we did the trail backwards which made it harder

Jan climbing through the slot…of course we did the trail backwards which made it harder

Jan doing the rocks thing near the end of the hike...

Jan doing the rocks thing near the end of the hike…

Hiking out...the views are still outstanding

Hiking out…the views are still outstanding

Here we took on our ultimate hike to date an eleven miler. The hike was the Chesler Park Loop which connected with the Joint Trail. Not only was it longer than we would normally do but it also was much more challenging. The trail was rocky with some drastic elevation changes. That being said it was one of the better trail experiences. We both came away with the same evaluation, glad that we had done it. The highlight of the hike was working our way through a slotted canyon where most of the time you could touch each side of the canyon. As you can see from all the photos the trail scenery changed a lot along the way.

The red rock formations are capativating...

The red rock formations are capativating…

Guess what...this is the last Canyonlands red rock photo...

Guess what…this is the last Canyonlands red rock photo…

Next we move on to the Capitol Reef National Park. The next Blog Post will be the final phase of our south Utah adventure.

Life on the road is good…

God bless…

Larry and Jan

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