- Balanced Rock Trail (Arches NP)
- Windows Trail (Arches NP)
- Devil’s Garden/Primitive Trail to Navajo Arch (Arches NP)
- Big Horn Overlook Trail/Part of West Rim Trail (Dead Horse SP)
- Dead Horse Overlook Trail/Part of East Rim Trail (Dead Horse SP)
- Grandview Trail (Canyonlands NP)
We arrived in Moab, pulled into our RV spot, and were afraid to get out. It was 105F! We set up camp and started the AC up in the RV to begin cooling down our little house. The temperature read 94F on the RV thermostat when we started the cooling process. With the mid-day heat competing with the RV’s AC it took THREE HOURS to cool the RV down to 80F. We’ve got a pretty beefy AC unit (16,000 BTUs) for a 16′ living space but that heat had it workin’! We took a look at our weather app and saw it would be 103-107 the entire week. It was obvious from Day 1 that we would be doing evening and night hikes. We did a grocery run and stayed in the rest of the evening, a little bit scared.
We found a great quesadilla food truck, Quesadilla Mobilla. The line was long but it was so worth the wait. Delicious. There were misters all along with waiting and dining areas along with shade trees, so it was pretty pleasant to be outside despite the heat. Looking at the weather, it would be above 100 until about 6pm and still in the upper 90s until 10p. We waited until about 7:30p then decided to head out for a hike! We went into Arches National Park and did a nice driving tour until the sun set (~8:30pm). We drove to Balanced Rock where there’s a great short hike you can do. After the hike we stayed for stargazing. Even with the ambient light from Moab it was DARK! A nice clear night with a near-new moon made for a great night for stargazing. We could see the Milky Way and used an app on our phone to map out the constellations. Jupiter put on a great show and was the largest and brightest light in the sky. It always amazes me to see the sky like that. Old, old light. Just amazing.
The next day we didn’t dare leave the RV until dusk. We ventured back into Arches to see the famed window arches. We drove to the North & South Window Arch parking lot and did the hike up and around the back of the arches. The arches are primarily formed by water, ice, underground salt movement and the extreme temperatures of the area. The walkway up from the parking lot leads you to the North & South Window Arches and to Turret Arch off to the right. There’s a hiking path that brings you behind the window arches and away from the crowds. The path eventually leads back to the Window’s parking lot. During our hike the most magical thing happened! As we took a second to appreciate the beautiful scenery and stood there in silence, a Native American flute began to pierce the silence. We both stood there in disbelief. A man stood in Window Arch and began to play the most beautiful music. It was ephemeral and had such a strong effect on us. We stood transfixed in disbelief at the randomness of our great fortune. After the serenade we took a short walk down to Double Arch, which was a great place to climb around the boulders and marvel at the scale of these arches.
After another day spent in the RV we emerged around 6:30p and drove back into Arches. Our original plan for the day was to take do the hike around Fiery Furnace but the hike requires a ranger-guide, which wasn’t available because of the pandemic. Instead, we drove all the way to the end of the park to the Devil’s Garden Trailhead, which leads you to Tunnel, Pine Tree, Navajo, Partition, and Landscape Arches. The hike was a bit challenging. We had to scale some large boulders to get to certain parts of the trail, which made it really fun! We hiked to Navajo Arch, which was by far my favorite! The arch is essentially an entrance into what looked like an eden. There was shade and trees and beautiful rock faces lining this little cavern. I could have brought a book and some lunch to spend the day. One last crawl brought us to the very top of the arch where we enjoyed a beautiful view of the sandstone arches and spires. We finished the hike at the famed Landscape Arch, which is the largest arch in the park at 306 ft. It’s absolutely amazing how thin it is. It looks like it could fall at any time! (In fact, a piece did come off in 1991, which someone caught in a photograph.)
Dead Horse State Park came as a recommendation from someone we met in Moab. It’s a popular place to go with locals who try to avoid the crowds of the more popular national parks. The park lies between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and has beautiful canyons rivaling Canyonlands. We hiked the Big Horn Overlook Trail & part of the West Rim Trail, which brought us past some amazing vistas and around the west rim of the canyon. It had rained just before we started the hike. About 15 minutes into the hike we turned around toward the storm clouds and saw a beautiful double rainbow! It was the second double rainbow of our trip. Overall, we had a nice day spending time in this great state park.
The next day the temperature reached 107F and we were scared to go outside! It felt so hot. We stayed in our air conditioned RV for most of the day and used it as a rest day 🙂 For our last day we headed back into Dead Horse State Park. We drove to the very end of the park and hiked the Dead Horse Overlook Trail & part of the East Rim Trail. It was another beautiful hike that brought us around the other side of the rim. We headed over to Canyonlands National Park for the second half of the day. We took a driving tour of the park and took in the views at the many overlooks (Orange Cliffs, Buck Canyon, Shafer Canyon). The Colorado River runs through the Canyonlands and is the force that shaped the canyons. After touring around, we drove to the Grandview Point Overlook and started our hike on the Grandview Trail. It definitely stood up to its name and offered us grand views during the hike! Beautiful vistas overlooking the canyon. What a great way to end our visit to our first parks in Utah.