Visiting Moab (Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, & Dead Horse Point State Park)



Top-Down, Left-Right: Dead Horse Point, Canyonlands, North Window (Arches), Double Arch (Arches), Mesa Arch (Canyonlands), & Turret Arch (Arches)

For the Thelma & Louise Half Marathon, I did a quick long weekend getaway. As I said before, I originally intended to go away with my best friend, but in the end she was unable to go. So I traveled by myself, which is something I used to do all the time, but now rarely do. It was a bit of a treat to have a long luxurious weekend all to myself.


In order to minimize the amount of time away from home, I flew out Thursday evening, which got me to Salt Lake City late at night. Ben found a great hotel deal in SLC. I slept fitfully. Despite getting in late, I still woke up early in the morning because of the time difference. I contemplated getting breakfast, but I’m not usually a breakfast eater and I was eager to get to Moab, so I grabbed some coffee and headed out.

The four-hour drive to Moab was beautiful. I greatly enjoyed the scenic drive and time passed quickly. I got to Moab around noon and I was ready for lunch. I had some uninspiring enchiladas at a Mexican restaurant (I expect more from the Southwest region). While eating, I noticed other single women eating there as well. Apparently, Moab is a popular destination for lone female travelers.

I purchased American the Beautiful National Parks Pass, an annual pass that covers the entry fee or day use fee for up to four adults in a personal vehicle at national parks and other national wildlife refuges, forests, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Army Corps of Engineers. If you know you’re going to go to more than three national parks in a rolling year, the pass is a great deal because the typical fee for a national park is $25.

I spent Friday afternoon at the Island of the Sky region of Canyonlands National Park, famous for their canyons and buttes. I had been to the Canyonlands before many years ago, but it was the Needles region. Island of the Sky offers amazing views and I wish I had more time to enjoy the area. I only saw about half of what I had hoped to see, but I had a lovely short hike up to Mesa Arch (famous for its gorgeous view at sunrise) and to Whale Rock.

I’m going to go off on a rant here. I really hate large family groups at any tourist site. The reason why I hate them is because of their insistence of taking a photo of every possible combination of their group members. First, it’s all the immediate family members. Then it’s all the kids. Then all the adults. Next it’s the grandparents with the grandchildren. Now let’s do all the female cousins. Of course, now we need to do the male cousins for symmetry. Next the aunts and uncles need to take photos with their nieces and nephews as proof that the family is a close knit one. And so forth, and just when you think they’re finally done, they then want to take photos of themselves alone. ARGH! I would rather deal with multiple small groups of people because there aren’t an almost infinite number of combinations. Also small groups are cognizant that others are waiting, quickly take a photo or two and get out of the way. Large family groups overwhelm and take their sweet time in taking photos. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s terrific that people are taking vacations with their extended family. I just wish they were more considerate when taking photos. /rant

Saturday afternoon, after the half marathon, I went to Arches National Park. Delicate Arch is their most famous arch, but it’s a hot, hard 3-hr round-trip hike to see it up close. I had done this hike years ago with my parents, so I didn’t feel the need to do it again. Instead, I saw North & South Window, Turret Arch, and Double Arch, as well as Balanced Rock again.

Sunday morning I went canyoneering. Then right before I drove back to Salt Lake City to catch my red-eye, I drove to Dead Horse Point State Park to see where the iconic last scene of the car falling into a canyon in Thelma & Louise was filmed. In the movie they drove off the Grand Canyon. It was my first time at Dead Horse Point and it does look like a mini Grand Canyon. There are hikess that you can do in Dead Horse Point, but I had just enough time to go to the lookout point, take a few photos, and head back to SLC.

While in Moab, I totally recommend eating at Quesadilla Mobilla (stationary food truck) for their amazing stuffed quesadillas and Arches Thai, one of the best Thai restaurants that I’ve ever eaten at. For a small town, Moab has an amazing selection of terrific restaurants, but I chose to go back to Arches Thai for my last meal instead of trying something new – that’s how great it was.


7 thoughts on “Visiting Moab (Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, & Dead Horse Point State Park)

  1. OMG fantastic read!!! Nice! Keen to follow your writings 🙂 I just done the druid hike. Would love if you could check out my artistic expression and let me know your thoughts? Maybe we could even share each others blogs on our fb page?

  2. I totally missed the fact that you went to Moab AND ran a race there last year!! Remember when I was talking about going to Palm Springs after Vegas? Shortly thereafter I got interested in Moab. Once I discovered I could sneak a race in on Saturday morning I was hooked. I do wholeheartedly agree with your rant about groups of tourists, especially the “arch hogs” who are oblivious to the fact that others are waiting for an unspoiled view. Luckily in January there weren’t many people around, however. 😊

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