Kerry and I just got back from an awesome (though short) vacation down to Moab, UT. What an amazing place, I can’t get enough of that red rock and sandstone formations. I refer to the canyonlands area of southern Utah/northern Arizona as ‘God’s Sandbox’ Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Grand Canyon, etc… are amazing areas.

If you don’t want to hear any stories but instead want to skip right to the pictures head on over here: Moab Album

Moab in the Spring or Fall is perfect, the Summer is just too hot. We went mid-week as well which seems to have been a good choice, by Friday as we were leaving there seemed to be more people at Arches and in town.

Wednesday: Travel, hiking in Arches National Park, sunset hummer ride

  • Moab is about 3 1/2 hours from Orem (depending on how fast you drive) which is not bad. Though if it was about an hour closer I’d be hard pressed not to be heading down there a lot more often. From Orem you head south on I-15, then over to Spanish Fork and up the canyon. Once you cross the mountains and get to Price you meet up with I-70 for a bit, once you exit the highway it is about 30 miles to Arches/Moab
  • Arches National Park is awesome, definitely one of my top 5 coolest US National Parks, probably top 3. If you are short on time, there is a fair amount you can see from the road the runs through the middle of the park and a number of the arches are just a short hike from one of the many parking areas (many hikes around a mile or so round trip). Of course if you have more time, there is really cool to get up close to these amazing sandstone formations. The arches are awesome, but even just the cliff faces and fins and other structures are very impressive. We hiked to Delicate Arch and to the Windows Arches before we checked in at our hotel.
  • We checked in at the hotel at 5pm and found out that our sunset hummer tour was at 5:30pm so we quickly showered (after hiking all afternoon, sweaty!) and got ready just as the hummer showed up to pick us up.
  • The hummer tour was awesome! The guide was this entertaining and colorful local that had a plenty of stories to tell, both explaining the history & geology of the sandstone formations as well as of various car companies coming to shoot their commercials for their SUV’s and ending up ruining them (Porsche Cayenne) during the shoot. We went on a trail called “Hell’s Revenge” that is in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, near the Slickrock bike trail.
  • We ended up being so busy this first day, we didn’t even get the chance to eat until about 9 o’clock at night, we were famished but had been having too much fun to care.

Thursday: Jeep rental and 4×4′ing, dinner at Sunset Grill

  • Rented a Jeep Rubicon (special edition of the Wrangler) for the day to go on our own 4×4 adventure. We went back up to the Sand Flats area as there are a couple other jeep trails, we chose “Fins-N-Things.” At first every little rock and bump seemed like a big deal, but after we got used to it (including a tense descent down a very steep rock hill!) we relaxed a little and enjoyed the experience completely. The Rubicon is a great jeep for this terrain as you can easily lock and unlock either or both of the axles with a push of a button on the console, very handy when you are spinning a tire or three.
  • We had dinner at the Sunset Grill which is this house-turned-restaurant near the top of one side of the canyon overlooking Moab. It used to be the house of the guy who discovered a large Uranium mine in the early 1950′s — dubbed the ‘Uranium King’. It is now a nice restaurant.

Friday: More hiking in Arches National Park and return home

  • We slept in and then went to see one or two more locations inside Arches (which became 4 or 5 more)
  • We felt like we couldn’t leave without checking out the Devil’s Garden area of Arches which includes Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Landscape Arch. But then we just had to check out Skyline Arch and then Broken Arch and Sand Dune Arch and Double Arch on the way out. Phew! Every time we were thinking we had enough, we decided we “might as well” check out one more thing.

It was a great trip, very relaxing, a nice early-spring escape from the winter that will not end in Utah County.