On our third day of the tour we were set to have a long day of scenic driving, going from Bryce (where we spent the night) all the way to Moab, over 5 hours away.
The drive was incredible. Canyons all the way looking right and left, straight long roads through the back country, and tiny little towns where we had a few stops. One was a Mormon town, although we didn’t see anyone in traditional dress. Well worth the long time in the car.
One of our stops was Dinosaur Park, where we saw well preserved dinosaur fossils and footprints on the ground. Pretty cool!
We then arrived at our camp-site to set up our tent and chill before heading out for sunset.
Our guide took us to Dead Horse Point for sunset, where we feasted on fried chicken, mac & cheese, and salad as the sun set over a never ending canyon. One of the most incredible views and sunset we had ever seen.
Thousands of kilometers of canyons were laid in front of us, painted in a beautiful dark red colour by the sun setting and the Colorado River flowing through. This was mind blowing. We stayed there for a while to enjoy the magnificent sunset.
Once back at the camp-site, Nick and I made our way in the bush behind the camp-site to take some pictures of the stars. The area was dark enough and tree free to be able to enjoy some stargazing and take some beautiful pictures of the milky way. Utah has the most certified Dark Sky areas in the US, with minimal light pollution. We even saw a couple of satellites and a huge shooting star!
A really lovely evening.
The following morning we headed to Corona Arch, just outside the Arches National Park. It’s a short ish (about 4km) walk up rocks, again involving a couple of chains. This time no hair raising drops next to us – no problem! As the arch isn’t in the national park it was very quiet, and great to check out early in the morning.
The guide then dropped us off in the town of Moab for a couple of hours whilst he ran some errands. We took advantage of this time in town to enjoy a coffee on a terrace, watching people go by. Probably our most expensive coffees so far? AUD $19 for a Mocha and a Cappuccino, a record I think!
In the afternoon, we made our way to Canyonland National Park and made a few stops along the way, all with incredible canyon backdrops.
Before heading back to our campsite, our guide took us to a nearby waterfall to enjoy a refreshing swim in cold water. It was a great way to end a very hot day (40+ degrees again), although later I found out that there were leeches in there (Nick kept that quiet!).
We finished the day with a nice camp BBQ, and also with a tutorial on how to ‘shotgun’ a can of beer by some of the younger guys who were well versed from their college years. This involves drinking a beer very quickly, with the help of a hole in the can that you make with a key. More technique than you’d imagine!
On our final morning in Moab we got up early again (5.50am alarm), and made our way to delicate arch in Arches National Park, hoping to beat the hordes of tourists.
The walk up the arch is a 2km strenuous hike, walking up rocks on an incline. It was good to do it early in the morning as the sun gets brutally hot by 9am.
The arch was again very beautiful, though I think I preferred the one we saw the day before. Amazing to see nonetheless.
We then made a quick 1.5 miles hike through ‘Park Avenue’, a valley in the park with beautiful views over the different rocks doted around.
Utah is such a beautiful state with all these magnificent canyons. We’ve loved every bit of it.
- In summer, the sun is brutally hot and temperatures can reach 40+ degrees by 10/11am. Though it’s hard to wake up early, we found that it was well worth it when we needed to walk. Forget walking anywhere between 11am and 4pm. It’s just unbearable and very dangerous.
- Though Corona arch is not technically in the Arches National Park, it’s a beautiful place to visit and to my personal preference, more beautiful than Delicate Arch. Worth adding to the sightseeing list.