Hiking Moab Parks
Moab, the mountains surrounding it, and the many parks and recreation areas are worth a visit even if you choose to just drive through and peep at the scenery from the car.
We choose to drive and hike our way around a few different areas.
Arches National Park
Since dogs are not allowed on trails in the national park, we ended up doing a few short hikes so that we could still explore the arches and sandstone structures.
Delicate Arch is a very iconic arch within the park. You’ve honestly probably seen a picture of it somewhere on Google before. You can actually see Delicate Arch at a viewpoint area from afar, but I would highly recommend hiking to see it up close.
The trail is three miles total and gains 480 feet of elevation. John and I are seasoned hikers, so it took us around an hour and 15 minutes to complete, but I would recommend planning for a three-hour hike just to be safe.
The trail had all ages and skill levels participating, and was honestly very crowded. Be prepared to hike on soft sand, rocks, and large sandstone sections. Be wary if you’re afraid of heights, but don’t be afraid because it’s totally safe as long as you’re paying attention to your surroundings.
You can see seven arches and the Dark Angel structure if you choose to do this hike. There are plenty of arches close to the beginning of this trail so no need to walk the entire 7.9 miles if you can’t or just don’t want to. It is totally worth the trek just to see one of these arches! My favorite was Pine Tree Arch at sunrise.
John and I unfortunately ended up off trail near Private Arch so we ended up missing Double O Arch and the Dark Angel. I’m honestly really sad about it. Please don’t place cairns (trail markers) in places if you’re not 100% sure that they belong there. But anyway, be safe and make sure to have a map of this route if you choose to do to the whole thing and take the Primitive Trail.
Once again, be prepared to hike on soft sand, rocks, and sandstone structures. I’d say this hike is definitely on the harder side. It took John and me just under three hours to do the whole thing, but I estimate that we only hiked seven miles due to our minor detour.
Bring lots of water and snacks for this hike! There’s not a lot for shade and the route includes some rock scrambling. Make careful route-finding choices, and plan on giving yourself at least four hours to complete if you choose to do the whole thing.
Canyonlands National Park
Island in the Sky Area
This park is amazing! I don’t even know how to describe how huge the canyon walls are. It seems like you can see down and across for miles and miles. The views are intoxicating, and I finally know what it means to experience a sense of vertigo. WOAH.
We were here for a very short time, and we didn’t hike anything too tough because we had the pup in the car. We chose to walk to the Grand View Point Overlook. I am not exaggerating when I say how incredibly beautiful it is here.
This trail is exactly two miles out and back. It’s pretty flat and has nicely marked cairns all along the way. It is flat, but a bit rocky and dusty. Have fun and be careful near those canyon cliffs!
Dead Horse Point State Park
This place is awesome! The views of the Colorado River are super cool from above, and there are a lot of accessible trails along the canyon rim. There are yurts for camping and even a cafe at the visitors center!
East and West Rim Loop Trail
We started this hike at the Dead Horse Point Overlook, but you can start from the visitors center as well. The whole loop is five miles, but we ended up walking to three different overlooks along the trail so we ended up hiking around 6.5 miles total.
The trail is flat, rocky, and dusty. It follows two different parts of the canyon rim, and you can see many different views of the area along the way. You can overlook the La Sal Mountains, there are solar evaporation pools, and you can also see many different canyon wilderness areas.
We ate lunch at the Meander Overlook where you could see boats and the 4×4 roads below as well as a “u-turn” in the Colorado River. All in all, Dead Horse Point was a great pet friendly state park to spend the day at. I would highly recommend exploring here!
In conclusion, MOAB IS MAGICAL! Peace, love, and happy hiking.
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