September 26, 2017

Arches + Canyonlands in ONE DAY

Arches National Park, Utah, USA
We were already in town for my cousins wedding for the week to see family and friends, so we decided to do something fun just the two of us. We drove down to Green River and spent the night at a hotel. Early in the morning we grabbed some breakfast and hot chocolate and hit the road. We had very limited time so we wanted to see as much as possible in one day. We decided to buy the annual pass because we plan to visit a few more National Parks, and State Parks in the coming months.

We started out at Dead Horse Point State Park and saw the beautiful view there. Then we headed to Canyonlands where we looked at a few viewpoints, and then hiked to the Mesa Arch. The Mesa Arch was my favorite part about Canyonlands. It was so beautiful in person.

Make sure you wake up really early, 5/6 AM! Start by going to Dead Horse point and looking at that view. Then make your way to the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands, that was my favorite thing we saw in Canyonlands. It is best to catch this in the morning so the lighting is just perfect for the arch. Later in the afternoon the lighting can be too harsh for good pictures. From the Mesa Arch go to the overlook point and look at that incredible view. This view looks very similar to the Grand Canyon, but smaller. You can see the other edge of Canyonlands called "the Needles" from this view point. It is incredible seeing the different formations that exist and to think about how they were formed. 
Depending on what time it is, you can either try one more short hike or you can head to Arches. Arches National Park is significantly more popular than Canyonlands. We waited in line just to get into Arches for an HOUR. Try to get to Arches as soon as you can to avoid this. You could easily spend several days in each park if you were planning to do all of the different hikes. In Arches I would suggest going to the Window Arch, that doesn't really require a hike, but a nice walk to see the different arches, unless it is above 85 degree then it is a little more than a small walk ;). I would finish up the day doing Delicate Arch. This hike is a little more intense than I expected. It is about 5 miles round trip and if it is hot outside you will need to carry A LOT of water with you. There is almost no shade until the last 500 feet. But there is nothing quite like seeing the Delicate Arch with your own two eyes. 

Make sure you stop by the visitors center before it closes, usually around 5, to get your National Parks Passport stamp! That is one of my favorite things to do now when we visit National Parks. 
© brookelmer