Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Trip to Southeast Utah

We visited southeast Utah this week - the primary focuses were Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. It turned out to be the best time to see the spectacular vista there without a crowd, and to enjoy intriguing  rock formations under the Sun without heat!

We stayed at Best Western in  the small town Moab, Utah. Moab is a great gateway to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, small town, plenty of good restaurants within walking distance to the hotel we stayed.

Day 0

Fly from DFW to Grand Junction, Colorado  (~ 1 hour 40 minute)

Stay at Grand Junction for the night

Day 1

Drive from Grand Junction, CO to Arches National Park (Utah) - 110 miles in 90 minutes

Arrive at Arches around 10am

Drive along the Scenic Drive

Hike at Park Avenue

Park Avenue, Arches National Park

Visit Windows and a few other Arches along the way

Hike to Delicate Arch - strenuous trail with slick rock and exposure to heights - beautiful view

Stayed at Best Western at Moab, Utah

Dinner at Schequan Restaurant  - Chinese food

Day 2

Go back to Arches National Park

Stop at Fiery Furnace - a restricted area which requires permit or ranger guided hike

Hike at Devil's Garden Trail

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park
"Longest of the maintained trails in the park, the Devils Garden Trail leads to eight awe-inspiring arches. Expect narrow ledges with rocky surface hiking and scrambling on slickrock. Not recommended when rock is wet or snowy"

Dinner at Zax - American food

Day 3

Drive Canyonlands National Park  - Island in the Sky district (45 miles from Moab) -  a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries.

(see Canyon from above)

Upheaval Dome Trail
Upheaval dome 

Mesa Arch trail

Green River Outlook and Rim Trail

Dinner at Fiesta Mexicana, Moab, UT - Mexican food

Day 4

Drive to Canyonlands National Park - the Needles district - Scenic drive in the canyon - spectacular, awesome view from "close-up" points

Cave Spring Trail

Slickrock Trail 
Mesa Arch

Elephant Hill - should have taken this trail first in the morning to see the needles up close

Dinner at Pasta Jay's, Moab, UT - Italian food

Day 5

Drive along Colorado River,  Colorado waterway Scenic Drive 128

Lunch at Subway

Drive through Colorado National Monument to arrive at Grand Junction  - unexpected encounter with big horn sheep on the scenic drive road.
Big Horn Sheep at Colorado National Monument

Leave for DFW in the early evening


1) no gas and food in the parks - need to bring food and water for lunch every day  - we bought lunch at local supermarket
2) Sunscreen is a must at this altitude (5000+ feet)
3) winter cloth and gear will make the trip comfortable
4) Despite all the winter storms in Utah and Colorado earlier this week, Moab was free of severe  weather.
5) Leave DFW at night (8pm), and leave Grand Junction late afternoon to maximize the fun time in Utah and Colorado

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