April 23 – May 12, 2019
Canyonland and Arches National Parks
Canyonlands National Park
Wow, is all I can say about Arches and Canyonland National Parks that surround Moab, Utah. The first day we arrived we drove up to the Island in Sky section of Canyonlands on HWY 313 looking for a camping spot, our mouths were open the whole time. The majestic beauty of the red sandstone cliffs and the carved canyons formed by the Green and Colorado Rivers were amazing. I’m sorry to say I did not get any pictures, my camera was in the rig and not charged. I was thinking we would be back after we parked the rv. But that did not happen as we never did go back that way.
Canyonlands is divided into 4 sections, The Maze, Island in the Sky, Horseshoe Canyon and The Needles. Guy and I decided to take a drive to the southern end of Canyonland which is the Needles section. Deciding we would go back to on a better day to the area that is the most popular, it was raining and cold and not the best picture day.
There are over 60 miles of interconnecting hiking trails throughout the Needles section. The hiking trails are a mixture of slickrock, sandy washes steep passes with drop offs, narrow areas, and ladders. The beauty was just as amazing but from a different view. The Needles section was named for the colorful spires of Cedar Mesa Santstone that dominate the area.
Guy and I drove thru the park stoping at 3 hiking spots that were not strenuous but ended up about 5-6 miles. The Cave Spring trail is one of the year round water sources. The area has evidence that it has been in human use for over 1,000 years.
We stopped for a hike out to the Cowboy Camp and along the rocks following a trail marked by piled up rocks, and up and down a few wooden ladders. Cowboys lived in isolated camp from the 1800’s up to 1975 when cattle ranching was discontinued in Canyonlands. On the walls of the camp there is rock paintings, grinding sticks and the smoke blacked ceiling.
Arches National Park
The day we picked to head to Arches turned out to be a cloudy rainy day. We figured that after the weekend it would be a little quieter, boy were we wrong! We waited in line over 45 mins as the 2 lines to get in was close to a mile long. Having our National Park pass was such a great investment as we got in for free. They don’t allow dogs on the trails so we chose to leave LaciLou at home. At the gate they give you a map of the most popular attractions which helps to identify what you are looking at. Most of the arches you walk to and can stand by our under.
The Arches National Park is adjacent to the Colorado River, and has more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, and contains the highest density of natural arches in the world. The highest elevation in the park is 5,653′ and the lowest is 4,085′. The park receives and average of 10″s of rain annually. There are an abundance of wildlife like red fox, mule deer, big horn sheep, rattlesnakes, lizards, antelope squirrels, peregrine falcons, and many more. Of course we only saw some squirrels and birds.
Underground is a salt bed which is the main cause of the formation of the arches, spires and balanced rocks. The salt bed is thousands of feet thick in areas, which has caused the ground cover to allow the salt to liquefy and thrust up layers of rock salt domes and other formations. There are more than 1 million visitors each year and threaten the fragile high-desert ecosystem.
Climbing on any named or unnamed arch with an opening of more than 3′ is banned by the park regulations. Most of the arches require walking along trails, some are short walks up to some pretty long ones. We were glad it was a cool day which made it much easier to hike around.
Some of the arches I could not remember the names but wanted to include them anyway. The park was pretty amazing and very appropriately named with so many arches every where you looked.
This is our last write up of our stay in Moab, Utah and now ready for more adventures. Stay tuned on our travels into South Dakota.