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The week started with a long drive through the desert from Salt Lake City to Moab. Luckily, the views of the red mountains are amazing and keep getting better the closer you get. We got excited about our stay when we passed the entrance to Arches National Park just a few miles up the road from our campsite.
Slick Rock Campground
Slick Rock Campground was not a bad campground but I don’t know if we will be back. We had a spot in the “Entrada” section. This was some of the longest spots available but unfortunately, most of the sites had trees in the rear of the site limiting how far you could actually back-in. You did get a nice shaded area behind your camper though. The major issue was that there were only hook-ups every other campsite. This means that if you have a fifth wheel and get the wrong site, your door opens on the sewer side and you need to run all your connections under your rig. We also had the unfortunate issue of having a large group split to take sites on both sides of us. They walked through our campsite to talk to each other and even set-up a tent right behind our fifth wheel.
We went to the Moab Brewery to meet with Kyle and Olivia of Drivin’ and Vibin’. When you first walk in you are hit with hot, humid, barley and hop filled air. Once you adjust to the smell of boiling wort the place isn’t bad. The food options are ok and the beer was cold.
Dog-Friendly Hikes in Moab
We took Carmen to Grandstaff Canyon Trail on a recommendation from Kyle and Olivia. It was a great trail that led between two massive red rock canyon walls. The path also crossed the stream at the bottom a couple times. There are rocks that allow crossing without getting your feet wet but I would still recommend wearing shoes that won’t be hurt by getting wet…
Carmen also came along for a hike to Corona Arch. This arch is on BLM land and was one of the ones you would see pictures of adventures people using a rope to swing through the center. There was only one part of the hike (a small rock face with steps cut into it) that was difficult for dogs. The rest of the hike was enjoyable and we saw many other dogs there.
Arches National Park
We spent two afternoons exploring Arches National Park. The switchback road up the cliff once you enter sets the stage for what’s to come. At the top of the switchbacks, you round a corner and the massive red cliff walls appear to one side and the rest of the relatively flat top stretches into the distance. The park has a way of making you feel small.
Our first day was spent admiring the views along the main road. Stopping at balanced rock, we took a stroll on the path that wraps around it. We packed back into the truck and continued to the double arch/window arches section of the park. We took the “primitive trail” to the window arches and were pleasantly surprised when there was no one else on it. At one point we stopped walking and the absolute silence startled us. We are not used to being somewhere completely silent. After a minute, the anxiety it caused faded away and it felt peaceful.
Since they were doing construction, everyone needed to be out of the park by 7:00 pm. A ranger came along with a loudspeaker and told everyone to return to their cars at 6:30 pm. We hurried along the trail around the back of the arch. When we finally arrived we had the whole arch to ourselves. After snapping a few quick photos, we hurried back to our truck down the main trail. As we drove down the road back towards the entrance, we pulled over and watched a beautiful sunset light up the sky with shades of yellow, orange, pink, and purple over balanced rock.
The next day we drove straight for Delicate Arch. The parking lot was rather small and full even on a weekday in October. We needed to make a few circles before getting a spot as someone was leaving. Bring water to this hike as it is a little strenuous. Nothing to be concerned about but it does get you breathing heavy and your blood pumping. As we got to the top we were buffeted by pretty strong gusts of winds. We passed many children crying at the end of the trail as sand picked up by the wind stung as it struck your legs and face. When we saw a hat fly off a guy’s head and off into the surrounding canyon we decided it was best to store ours away. We, unfortunately, we didn’t get any great photographs here. The few we attempted to get were blurry as the wind shook the camera as a stranger attempted to take a photo. After spending some time watching people struggle in the wind we began the hike back to our truck. We watched another amazing sunset as we drove back to the park towards the entrance.
Canyonlands National Park
The drive out to the Island in the Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park is definitely worth it. We took Carmen along for the drive since we didn’t plan on any long hikes and more of an explore by car day. The views and overlooks continue to get better and better as you head towards the end of the mesa. It’s breathtaking how many canyons there are in this national park and amazing to see them all from such a high vantage. Seeing 4×4 traverse the miles of road at the bottom of the mesa was interesting as well. You can still see the scars in the landscape from bulldozers in the ’50s creating roads while looking for Uranium to mine.
We started to get hungry so started to head back towards Moab for lunch. We decided to take a “shortcut” back to Moab down a 4×4 trail. As we began our descent down the trail, the name of the steep section we were in appeared on Google Maps. It was called pucker pass. We passed a few jeeps and Ford F-150 coming from the other direction so continued down the road. It had a steep drop off to one side and rock wall on the other. As we turned a corner we saw a massive boulder that had fallen across the road. There was enough room underneath to fit a jeep or standard truck but it looked too tight for our gigantic Ram 3500 dually. We made a 15-point turn and went back up the pass.
At the top of pucker pass, we stopped to let Carmen run around the BLM land and burn off some energy since she was getting antsy. We walked for a little until we were out on one of the rock fins that extend out everywhere in UT. We had about 10 feet of rock and then 100-foot plus cliffs on each side. Rae, not being a fan of heights, decided that 10 mins was enough time to get pictures so we head back to the truck.
UTV rides with Moab Tourism Center
One of the best ways to explore the area surrounding Moab is through its many off-road trails. We chose to explore those trails with a UTV (or Side-by-Side) tour with Moab Tourism Center. The tour guide gave us instructions on how to drive the UTV (it’s easy) and we took off toward the entrance to the Hell’s Revenge trail. There were many stops along the way to see dinosaur tracks and huge canyons with a longer stop overlooking the Colorado River. We then head back taking a slightly different route.
We can’t wait to get back to Moab, UT. There is so much to see and do that you can’t possibly do it all in one visit. That will all have to wait as we head to St. George, UT to use as a home base as we explore Zion National Park. Have you been to Moab? What was your favorite thing? Let us know in the comments below.