Arches, Canyonlands area Sept. 16-21

Old Sep 4th, 2021, 03:41 PM
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Arches, Canyonlands area Sept. 16-21

We are meeting friends in Moab at a VRBO we have rented on Sept. 16 for 5 nights. I would be grateful for any opinions and advice on our tentative itinerary for the five days. Some activities are locked in and others are subject to change. We will check in to the VRBO on Thursday around 3-4 and probably hit a grocery store and cook there that evening so we can just hang out and plan for the next few days. Our friends are going to be coming off of six days at Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase and Capitol Reef. Here is our plan:
Friday, Sept. 17th- Canyonlands, Island in the Sky
Saturday, Sept. 18th- 8:00 am- 1:00 pm 4X4 Arches Jeep tour with Navtec Expeditions. After that we will go back to the condo, eat lunch, relax a bit then we are going to drive Rte. 128 the rest of the afternoon with stops and exploration as time allows. We have dinner reservations at 6:30 at the Cowboy Grill at Red Cliffs Lodge on Rte. 128.
Sunday, Sept. 19th: We have two options we would like to consider: either go back to Arches to explore more on our own since we will have seen some of it on the jeep tour or postpone that until Monday in case it would be less crowded? Opinions please! Or we could go to Needles section of Canyonlands. Sunday evening we have reservations for the Canyonlands Sound and light Show with Dinner.
Monday, Sept. 20th- Last day before we check out of condo so we would do the other option we didn't do on Sunday.
Helpful info: We are in our late 60's but in decent shape and we will take shorter, easy to moderate hikes on the fly as we drive the areas. We have no problem leaving at the crack of dawn or in the dark to get to the parks early. We are early to bed early to rise retirees!
Questions: We want to also fit in some time in Dead Horse Point and need advice about sunrises and sunsets in Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point throughout our stay. What are doable options for those with our itinerary? Should we try to stay in whatever park we do that day even though that seems really long? Will we be able to leave, have dinner then go back on our free evenings easily? We can probably play things by ear to a certain extent but experiences of others would be good to know. The full moon is September 20th so we won't be able to stargaze but maybe catch a moonrise. Thank you!
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Old Sep 5th, 2021, 07:30 AM
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Can't answer your question as I haven't been - we are going to be there at the exact same time! So I'm bookmarking this in case you get some good answers.

I have been monitoring the arch's entrance webcam for months and during August there was rarely any traffic (5-6 cars at a time usually). But this weekend the long lines were back. Cars backed up as far as the eye an see from about 8 to noon (yesterday and today anyway). I'm hoping that's cause it's Labor Day weekend and in a couple of weeks it will be less. But I guess September is still high season there.

Now I'm going to be wondering if every couple in their 60s is you guys.
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Old Sep 5th, 2021, 08:12 AM
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Arches, Canyonlands Area Sept. 16-21

Isabel, I am sure you will see lots of 60 somethings! Thanks for the reminder to be checking webcam, great idea. I think that it is still going to be pretty busy in the Moab area while we are there. I looked on VRBO to see what would come up if we were trying to book now. The condo where we are staying only had availability a total of 6 days during the months of September and October and most of the properties that showed up for the sample dates I put in were the more expensive ones and I took out all the filters. Not sure about hotels except the least expensive one I saw in the list from all of the various hotel sites was $250 a night. So glad we booked a long time ago!
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Old Sep 5th, 2021, 09:59 PM
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If it is a clear day, go early and see sunrise at mesa arch. Google: mesa arch canyonlands national park
Personally, we prefer dinner at Sunset Grill at sunset. It is 500 feet high on a hill overlooking the entire area. This was once the home of Charles Steen who discovered an almost pure vein of uranium south of Moab in July of 1952. He named the mine Mi Vida (my life). $130,000,000 of ore was mined there. As I recall, he also name this house Mi Vida that was party central for Moab is state governors and other politicians. His life was one of rags (literally - children did not have shoes) to riches and back to rags thanks to IRS. They have a web site.

Red Cliffs lodge - ensure you visit their movie museum. Also, at the entry to the facility is Castle Creek Winery, with a tasting room. They also have a web site.
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Old Sep 6th, 2021, 05:57 AM
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Arches, Canyonlands Area Sept. 16-21

Parktrvl, thank you very much for these great tips!
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Old Sep 7th, 2021, 03:09 AM
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I agree with Parktrvl, do Mesa arch at sunrise if you can. It is an easy hike out with little or no elevation gain, but bring flashlights for the trip out.

In Arches, lots of folks do Delicate arch for sunset. We were 70’s folks and did not want to do the return after dark so did it in the afternoon. We are flatlanders,so found it more challenging than other hikes in Arches but also more spectacular when we made it up there. Many of the other arches are easy walks and not too long. Landscape arch is probably the longest, bot not much elevation gain And you get to go through a fin and if you want a hike down to Pinetree arch on the way out. The Windows and Turret arch are very close to the parking area.

In Needles, do go to Cowboy camp/Cave spring and stop at Newspaper rock for the petroglyphs. The scenery on the drive in is spectacular and the view is the opposite from Island in the Sky.

Have a fantastic trip, wish I was along for the ride.
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Old Sep 7th, 2021, 12:27 PM
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Not sure, but I donít think that 4 x 4 tour is going to take you to the highlights in Arches. If youíve never been definitely return and at least see Delicate/Landscape/Windows. Delicate the most famous, but I personally like Landscape arch just as much so if time is an issue do the later as it is a shorter hike. There are also other arches to see on the way to or near Landscape.

As far as Dead Horse Point visit when going to Islands in the Sky. If doing sunrise at Mesa and touring Islands in the Sky visit on the way back to Moab, can be as short as a one hour detour to view.
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Old Sep 7th, 2021, 09:47 PM
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I have this on my lower bucket list, but all reviews are very positive
Night cruise down the Colorado River at Moab
Home :: Canyonlands by Night and Day
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Old Sep 10th, 2021, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Parktrvl View Post
I have this on my lower bucket list, but all reviews are very positive
Night cruise down the Colorado River at Moab
Home :: Canyonlands by Night and Day
Yes, I was going to write and recommend that cruise when I saw this post. We took it and it was a highlight of our trip. Do the early trip so you can have the benefit of the morning light which highlights the rocks. Also the walk out to Delicate arch is a longish one, we found the observation point to be just fine. On the other hand, the walk to landscape arch is interesting and easier. If you can, use a camera that can use filters. There are two reasons for this. First, the fine dust in the air can ruin a good lens in short order so using a UV or neutral filter will protect it. Also, a circular polarizing filter can be used in difficult light conditions such as haze, too bright, or if overcast. There is one brand called ICE that is both good and not expensive.
Canyonlands is only 35 miles from Arches which is itself right outside of Moab. Try to get an early start at Arches. You may know that the differences in light at different hours in Arches makes a profound difference in the appearance of the landscape so try to experience it at different times of the day as your experience will be enhanced.
Needles is a long drive and a round trip will take up a day and leave you tired at the end.
If it is still open The Oar restaurant in Moab is quite good.
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Old Sep 10th, 2021, 10:38 AM
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[QUOTE=jet519;17282238]We are meeting friends in Moab at a VRBO we have rented on Sept. 16 for 5 nights. I would be grateful for any opinions and advice on our tentative itinerary for the five days. Some activities are locked in and others are subject to change. We will check in to the VRBO on Thursday around 3-4 and probably hit a grocery store and cook there that evening so we can just hang out and plan for the next few days. Our friends are going to be coming off of six days at Zion, Bryce, Grand Staircase and Capitol Reef. Here is our plan:
Friday, Sept. 17th- Canyonlands, Island in the Sky
Saturday, Sept. 18th- 8:00 am- 1:00 pm 4X4 Arches Jeep tour with Navtec Expeditions. After that we will go back to the condo, eat lunch, relax a bit then we are going to drive Rte. 128 the rest of the afternoon with stops and exploration as time allows. We have dinner reservations at 6:30 at the Cowboy Grill at Red Cliffs Lodge on Rte. 128.
Sunday, Sept. 19th: We have two options we would like to consider: either go back to Arches to explore more on our own since we will have seen some of it on the jeep tour or postpone that until Monday in case it would be less crowded? Opinions please! Or we could go to Needles section of Canyonlands. Sunday evening we have reservations for the Canyonlands Sound and light Show with Dinner.
Monday, Sept. 20th- Last day before we check out of condo so we would do the other option we didn't do on Sunday.
Helpful info: We are in our late 60's but in decent shape and we will take shorter, easy to moderate hikes on the fly as we drive the areas. We have no problem leaving at the crack of dawn or in the dark to get to the parks early. We are early to bed early to rise retirees!
Questions: We want to also fit in some time in Dead Horse Point and need advice about sunrises and sunsets in Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point throughout our stay. What are doable options for those with our itinerary? Should we try to stay in whatever park we do that day even though that seems really long? Will we be able to leave, have dinner then go back on our free evenings easily? We can probably play things by ear to a certain extent but experiences of others would be good to know. The full moon is September 20th so we won't be able to stargaze but maybe catch a moonrise. Thank you![/QU

Cliff climber taken from boat near Moab, UT
OTE]
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Old Sep 11th, 2021, 06:49 AM
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Thanks everyone! I am glad I haven't printed out my document with all of the info and itinerary yet because I keep copy/pasting all of your helpful comments into it!
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Old Mar 6th, 2022, 10:38 AM
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Jet519- any comments, highlights from your trip?
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 02:04 PM
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Yes Deladeb, I should have submitted a trip report but I broke my elbow on a hike at Canyonlands and I had to get it taken care of when I got back home. One of the highlights was the 4 by 4 tour. Our guide took us to areas that you would not see, he took us in a back way to the park and we saw some arches you can't get to normally as well as some awesome stair step spots that he navigated down. We Used Navtec Expeditions. We spent the next day in Arches on our own and went on several short hikes, starting out with sunrise I think, at the Double Arch area. Then we wound our way around the park to three other areas but I can't remember any of them except Devil's Garden. We did part of that hike, probably just a mile or two. We also drove along the Colorado River on Hwy. 128 and that was gorgeous, highly recommend. The big rock formations we similar to ones we saw in Monument Valley. We stopped at the Lodge along that route and walked through the hotel and watched the video presentation about all of the movies, shows, and commercials that have been filmed around there and looked at lot os neat memorabilia and pictures. We went on the Canyonlands by Night boat tour but I was not that big of a fan. Their light presentation didn't really seem to be working correctly and it was kind of hokey. But the guide did point out some neat formations on the canyon walls that looked like various animals, faces, etc. And the highlight was that it was a full moon so we were able to watch the moon rise and reflect across the river. Our last day we went to the Narrows section of Canyonlands and that was another favorite. The drive was interesting, diverse and when we got into the Needles area, we hiked around for a while as well as lots of stops along the way. It is spectacular and definitely worth the drive. You can also hit "Hole in the Rock" and Wilson Arch on the way to or from.

The VRBO we stayed in was really nice and I would stay there again. it was Ravens Retreat through Utah Escapes Vacation Home Rentals; 3686 S. Spanish Valley Drive, Unit G2. It had everything we needed including a nice patio which we sat at everyday at some point.

My husband and I drove to
Moab from Las Cruces, NM so we spent the first night in Durango. On the way home we drove through some of the reservation land roads to an area of the Painted Desert that is not with the one where everyone goes. A guy at a gas station told us how to get there. We saw beautiful scenery on the way and wild horses. We went to Winslow, AZ for lunch and walked around a bit. We stayed all night in ShowLow Pinetop, AZ. The next day we headed home from there through some of the Gila Wilderness which is such a beautiful, relaxing drive. That is all I can remember!
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 04:38 PM
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Broken elbow, yikes! And here I felt sorry for myself when I broke my wrist during a fall while hiking. Can't imagine a broken elbow.
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Old Mar 10th, 2022, 06:25 PM
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Wow, thanks for the details Jet. Your trip sounds wonderful, especially seeing the moon on the water.
I still need to get to Canyonlands and Arches, would that VRBO be in a central spot for these 2 parks?
We went to Zion and Bryce 20 years ago. Our highlights were watching a sunrise somewhere in/near Bryce and waking up on Easter in early April to 8 inches of snow, hiking in inappropriate shoes in Bryce in the snow and then taking a helicopter ride over Bryce.
‘On another trip we went to Monument Valley a couple days after Christmas, when we approached the area the snow was glistening like diamonds, just magical.
‘Thanks again for the update. I hope you are completely healed.
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Old Mar 11th, 2022, 06:44 AM
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Yes, as far as my elbow, I was very fortunate, no surgery needed, just a cast for a couple weeks, then physical therapy. And the really crazy part is that I just thought it was a sprain, didn't really know it was specifically the elbow, so I didn't get it treated until after we got home. And I am 68 with osteoporosis. And I am a professional pianist which I am still doing some work in that area after retirement from teaching music my whole life. I must have had some guardian angels with me!
We have been to all of the other parks you mentioned, we did a jeep tour at sunset with a Navaho guide in 2003 at Monument Valley, which was wonderful.

As far as the VRBO, you had to drive through Moab to get to Arches and Canyonlands so it took 30-45 minutes but Canyonlands Narrows was closer on that side of town. We didn't really mind going through town a few times so we could scope out what was there, etc.
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