Exploring Utah: Arches + Canyonlands National Parks

I was first introduced to the beautiful national parks of Utah on a road trip I took in 2015 with two girlfriends. We drove from Wisconsin to Colorado, Utah, and then Nevada hitting national parks along the way. Although it was in the heat of the summer where temps soared into the triple digits, I just knew I would find myself back for more! Kervin and I took an (extra) long weekend and made the drive from Denver to Arches + Canyonlands NP and then onto the Grand Canyon and Page, AZ (more to come in another post!)  We spent a full day in both Arches + Canyonlands, however you could easily spend more or less time depending what fits your timeline! The parks are both scale-able for great views right from the comfort of the car and quick stops for scenic outlooks if you’re short on time and/or are not interested in long hikes! Keep reading to find out which hikes we did are where we stayed!

Arches National Park

WHERE WE STAYED: Canyonlands RV resort and campground. The campground is just a few miles from Arches NP and in walking distance of the brewery, gas station, and restaurants. This campground had both tent and RV sites with all the amenities including showers and flushing toilets! It was a great compromise to “rough” it a bit, while still having access to all the town had to offer.

HIKES:  Delicate Arch- 4 Miles

Skyline Arch -.2 Miles

Devil’s Garden to Double O- 4 Miles

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Devil’s Garden

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Landscape Arch

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Delicate Arch

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Devil’s Garden to Double O Arch

 

Canyonlands National Park

 

WHERE WE STAYED: Canyonlands RV resort and campground

HIKES: Island in the Sky: Mesa Arch- .5 Miles RT We happened to hit this arch at the right time to catch the morning glow! The rest of the day we leisurely drove through the park occasionally stopping at scenic outlooks.

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Mesa Arch

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View on our drive into the park

 

Top Tips:

  • HYDRATE! Drink early and often. Make sure to pack lots of water, we personally like camelbaks for ease of use, however water bottles work well too.
  • GO EARLY. I know it may be counter intuitive for some, as you’re probably on vacation, but starting on the trail head early is always worth it. We like to hit the trail head by sunrise so we’re finishing up by early afternoon before the heat of the day.
  • LAYER. The desert mornings and evenings can be quite chilly, but the days are VERY warm! Layering with breathable fabrics makes it easy to shed or add layers as needed throughout the hike.

 

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