Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands, Utah

Old Jan 21st, 2023, 07:58 AM
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Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands, Utah

Hi. Would appreciate any advice,

First, please let me know if I have not posted this within the correct forum. I always have difficulty ensuring it is within the correct section. If not, please advise on how to.

My wife and I (in our 60's) plan to visit Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands in either late May or early June. We will be travelling from Boston, MA. We understand it will be warm then but we do pretty well in the heat and do our best not to overdue things. We love the outdoors and consider ourselves pretty active. It is also one of the only times we are free to visit Utah over the next year.

We love beautiful scenery, love to take easy to moderate hikes, local restaurants and great atmosphere.

We have been to Utah several times in the past visiting, Bryce, Zion, and Lake Powell. Salt Lake City appears to be the central hub where we always fly into. I realize there are closer smaller airports to Moab but considering airfare costs and the fact that I believe the drive from Salt Lake to Moab would be very scenic I think that would be our best bet,

We are planning 8-9 nights and would love your thoughts on how to plan this out. My thought was to fly into SLC, arrive approx. 2:30pm, rent a SUV, drive to Moab for our base, spend several nights, visit Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands, then drive back to SLC, spend a night before the flight back.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated including:

Does this sound like a good plan?
Where to stay in Moab? Preferably a nice place with outdoor pool, beautiful scenery and local restaurants.
How many days needed for Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands?
Not that we want to be driving all the time but are there other places you would suggest visiting while in that area? Although I mentioned we had visited Bryce and Zion it was very short and we do plan on visiting those and Escalante at some other time.

Again, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Warren
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 04:19 AM
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I would try for as early as possible in May to make your trip. How much time to stay in the area depends on how much hiking you plan to do and what other things interest you. The minimum I would want in the area would be two or three days in Arches, one day in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands and one day in the Needles district of Canyonlands and a day to explore other sites near by like Fisher Towers, Dead Horse park, etc.

Do get a cooler and fill it with the food and drinks you will need while in the parks as there is very little in the parks and they are huge. Do drink more water than you think you need as you will be coming from near sea level and it is much dryer in Utah.

Get lodging in Moab for the Arches and Canyonlands part of the trip now!

if you look here for Trip Reports on the area you will gets lots of information.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 08:21 AM
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Thank you so much! Agree on the cooler and food and drinks!

Based on some other conversations, others are recommending wee also spend time in Capital Reef and Canyonlands. They do look beautiful but keeping in mind that we have 8 nights where the last night needs to be spent in SLC for our early flight back home and the fact that we also want some time to rest and relax I'm thinking those would be a separate trip.

We would like to revisit Bryce at some point and maybe it makes more sense to visit those other areas then. Your thoughts on whether we should be visiting those areas as well or do at a later time would be appreciated as well. Sounds like based on your recommendations that we need the days we have to enjoy Moab, Arches, and Canyon lands.

I would also like to visit Grand Escalante and thinking that would work well with Bryce unless we would be trying to do too much then, i.e., Bryce, Capital Reef, Monument Valley, and Grand Escalante.

Utah is so beautiful yet so big and overwhelming. Finding the perfect balance is very difficult.

Thanks again, W
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 08:28 AM
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You do not need to rent an SUV. The roads leading to hiking trails are very good in both National Parks, and I doubt that a rental would be equipped for the rougher trails that are available in Canyonlands. The pictures are dated, and in 1987 I was driving a compact sedan:

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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 10:17 AM
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Consider a 1-day Jeep rental in Moab, so you can explore some of the many trails. That's what they are intended for. There are several; one that we have used is https://canyonlandsjeep.com/?utm_sou...m_campaign=gmb.

Otherwise, you don't really need an SUV - you certainly wouldn't want to take a normal rental car on the dirt trails anyway. We do like renting an SUV, though, just for the better view we get out of the windows at all the scenery. As to dividing the trip up, I'd go with Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse State Park as one vacation, maybe throwing in a day trip to Goblin Valley State Park. Drive the La Sal Loop, go on some trails like Shafer Trail, take a boat tour on the Colorado (Moab). Go out to Red Cliffs Lodge and downstairs into the free museum - fantastic drive out to it, also: https://moabmfwh.com/

I'd make Bryce, Zion, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, and Capitol Reef a separate trip altogether.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 11:32 AM
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Delicate Arch

Trail to Delicate Arch
If you zoom a bit, you can see the cars where you park for the trip to the arch
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 11:37 AM
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I encourage you to do the hike to Delicate Arch. We were in our 70s when we did it and it was so worth it.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 11:39 AM
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As far as how long to stay in Moab, on our first visit to the area, we spent four nights, which gave us three full days - one for Arches, and one for each district of Canyonlands. That trip report can be found here:

Into the Great Wide Open - A nine day road trip
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Old Jan 22nd, 2023, 11:59 AM
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If you do stay in the Moab area 4 nights as Melnq8 #suggests, you could head down to Monument Valley (2 and a half hours from Moab ) then continue on up 89 to 15 for a drive by Escalante past Bryce and up to Salt Lake City. More driving but spectacular scenery.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2023, 01:41 PM
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Adding in the north part of Capitol Reef to include the Fremont culture petryglyphs, Fruta, and the short paved scenic drive is not much of a detour from the Interstate. If you have a night to spare in perhaps Torrey to break up the drive there are some easy hikes such as Grand Wash.
Fruita-Area-Map-and-Guide-2021.pdf
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 04:18 PM
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Great information! Great pictures! I can't wait. Thank you so much.

This is a tough one in terms of deciding what we want to accomplish this trip.
As I mentioned, we have been to Bryce and Zion NP's but only spent one brief day at each with the kids. We plan on revisiting on a separate trip.
Early June is the only window of opportunity for us this coming year. I appreciate that it would be better weather in May in terms of the temperature.

As I take in all of the advice and look at the map trying to find some time to relax (please keep in mind although we may like to sit by a pool we can only do for for a couple of hours before we get ansi), I'm trying to find the right balance.

My latest thought is :
Day 1: fly into SL, arrive just before 2:30pm. Rent a SUV (yes, we want the SUV for better viewing), drive to Torrey, spend a night. I realize this is a long drive.
Day 2: Visit Capital Reef, stay one more night in Torrey.
Day 3:: Drive to Monument Valley, Spend 1 night.
Days 4 - 7 Drive to Moab. spend 4 nights. Visit Arches, Moab, Canyonlands.
Day 8: Drive to SLC, spend 1 night prior to mid morning flight home to Boston.

I am thinking of the order of things as mentioned above so that we would have some time to relax towards the end of the vacation, I liked the idea of visiting Monument Valley. We could skip Capital Reef altogether; I just thought that it may be better than to drive from Moab to Monument Valley and then back to Moab over the same route.

We would then plan a second trip for Bryce and Zion and other nearby areas of interest. Maybe the Grand Canyon since that was another site that we only spent several hours at.

Your thoughts? Too much?

Thanks again! W
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 09:52 AM
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Re being a long way to Torrey, that's an LOL for Californians but I have friends in Florida who consider driving 30 miles a "long drive". Sunset will be late in June, so it should be a nice drive.

If you are done with a morning hike in Capitol Reef and it has not been raining, an afternoon could be spent driving south on the Notham-Bullfrog road. The road is unpaved and should only be done when it has not rained recently. I have done this in the opposite direction (coming in from the Burr Trail road, down the switchbacks (not for everyone) and then back up into Torrey.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 02:30 PM
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I'm with you there in terms of the drive. According to Google (and we always believe the Internet right??) the drive is 3 hr 35 min (218.1 mi) via I-15 S and UT-24 E.
This is why I figured we would stay 2 nights in Torrey.
Overall thoughts regarding the above potential plan, i.e., routing from SLC to Torrey through Monument Valley to Moab?

Thanks, W
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 03:29 PM
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If you plan to see the Needles district of Canyonlands, you can do it the day you drive from Monument Valley to Moab instead of backtracking from Moab later. We've stayed at the Hyatt Place in Moab and liked it. It's on the north end of town so convenient for getting to the Arches entrance.
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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 04:38 PM
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I did it as a loop from Los Angeles. Monument Valley was part of a different trip combined with the Grand Canyon I believe.

Last edited by mlgb; Jan 26th, 2023 at 04:43 PM.
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Old Jan 30th, 2023, 08:26 AM
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just a quick thought: We visited Moab in 2020 and flew into Denver. It was June of the pandemic and we wanted to avoid connecting coming from the East Coast, so we found the extra hour drive from Denver was well worth it given that we could get a direct flight to Denver but not to SLC.

You've been given some great advice. and pay attention to dates and getting timed park passes. I think Arches is now based on reservation, so don't miss that window.

have a great time!
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