I moved to Utah in September 2017, and my adventuring started almost immediately. I work 4 x 10 hour shifts at the hospital, which is nice because it allows me 3 full days for exploring on my weekends.
One of my good friends from grad school lives in California now, and drove to visit me one of my first weekends in Utah. With some great hikes and other suggestions from my coworkers, we ventured down to Moab to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks!
This park is a red-rock wonderland, and the arches are unlike any others in the world. Arches has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to other remarkable land forms. One of my favorite things about this park is how many accessible, short hikes there are to the numerous arches in the park. We visited at the end of September, so the crowds and heat had both died down substantially, which really made everything more enjoyable.
- Balanced Rock (0.3 miles)
- The Windows (1 mile)
- Delicate Arch (3 miles)
- Sand Dune Arch (0.3 miles)
- Skyline Arch (0.4 miles)
- Landscape Arch (1.6 miles)
- Double Arch (0.5 miles)
- Fiery Furnace (permit or guided hike only)
After spending a beautiful day exploring the park, we found some BLM land to camp on for the night!
One of the best parts about living in Salt Lake City, is that it’s so easy to make it down to these parks for a quick day or two. I had another opportunity to head down to Arches this past December for a quick day trip, and it was somehow even more beautiful than I remembered. We left Salt Lake City early in the morning and made it down to Moab before 10 am, hiked a few of our favorite hikes, drove the scenic loop, and then stopped for some buffet pizza before heading home!
Canyonlands National Park is a quick 30-minute drive from Moab, UT. This park has hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore. Both the Island in the Sky and The Needles areas offer short walks, day hikes, and backpacking trips, while The Maze area of Canyonlands is mostly just for backpacking. I’ve only been to Canyonlands once, and visited the Island in the Sky area when I was there. The Mesa Arch is a popular hike that leads to a cliff-edge arch. The arch has stunning views towards the La Sal Mountains, and is one that’s very popular with photographers. Other hikes we did this day included White Rim Overlook and Grand View Point. I haven’t made it back to Canyonlands for a second trip yet, but when I do, I’d love to hike in The Needles District!