Carol and I left Grand Junction, Colorado and headed to southern Utah to take in the first two of what’s known as the “The Mighty 5”. The Mighty 5 are Utah’s 5 national parks – Arches, Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion.
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK (Moab)– With over 2000 incredible rock formations, it is no wonder why Arches National Park is one of the most fascinating national parks in the United States and a place everyone should visit in their lifetime. Remember you can click on any picture in the blog post, and you will see a slide show of large versions of the pictures!
The park is located just outside of the cool little town of Moab, Utah and is home to the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches including the famed Delicate Arch, which is proudly displayed on the Utah license plate. Towering spires, fins and balanced rocks complement the arches, creating a remarkable assortment of landforms in a relatively small area.
The best hike we did in this area was actually not in a national park! We drove on Potash Rd( also known as the Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway) outside of Moab. It runs along the Colorado river through a deepening, sheer-walled wingate sandstone canyon for 15 miles. We parked at the trailhead for the Corona Arch trail, and hiked to see Bowtie Arch and Corona Arch. We did this hike in the afternoon and it was HOT! This was the LAST one we did in the afternoon!
Bowtie Arch has a narrow, circular opening – a former pothole – above a streaked sandstone bowl. Corona Arch, which is much more dramatic – a graceful, free-standing curve 140 feet across and 100 feet above the ground, projecting outwards from the cliffs.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK (Moab) – From the rim you glimpse only segments of the Green River and the Colorado River, which flow together at the heart of Canyonlands. But everywhere you see the water’s work: canyon mazes, unbroken scarps, and sandstone pillars.
The paths of the merging rivers divide the park into three districts. The high mesa known as the Island in the Sky rises as a headland 2,000 feet above the confluence. We only spent one day in Canyonlands and this is the area we visited. South of the Island and east of the confluence is The Needles, where red and white-banded pinnacles tower over grassy parks and sheer-walled valleys. Another area of the park is The Maze, a remote region of pristine solitude. The Maze is the least accessible district of Canyonlands. It’s big, wild, remote and untamed. Roads require high-clearance four-wheel-drive. There are no amenities – no food, no water, no gasoline. Needless to say, we took a pass on The Maze! LOL!