Utah – Moab and Arches National Park

April 10 – 21, 2014

We looked forward to visiting Moab, Utah.  The last time we were here was 23 years ago when we rented a canoe and spent a week on the Green River in Canyonlands National Park.  We have really fond memories of that vacation and just wanted to see the area again.  I wasn’t prepared for just how special Moab would feel to me!  I love it here!  It has the same special vibe as Durango, Colorado.  I think it must be the energy from all the outdoor activities.  We spent 11 days here and only left because we had a reservation at the Colorado National Monument.  But now we plan to return and spend another 3 weeks here in May.  There is so much to do and it just feels good to be here!

Lots to do around Moab and lots of outfitters to help you do it!

Lots to do around Moab and lots of outfitters to help you do it!

Kayaks on the roof, bikes on the back - a common sight

Kayaks on the roof, bikes on the back – a common sight

Mike loves anything that has that old west feel.

It’s a very casual place

Moab

Moab – so cute

Our blogger friends, Al and Ingrid from LiveLaughRV, saved us a beautiful spot on public land just north of Moab.  It was a large and level spot with sweeping views of the snow-capped La Sal Mountains and Arches National Park.  And it’s free.  Love it!

Our perfect campsite on Willow Springs Road

Our perfect campsite!

View of La Sal Mountains from our campsite

View of La Sal Mountains from our campsite

We were lucky to get a full moon while we were here.

Full Moon rising over the La Sal Mountains - view from our campsite

Full Moon rising over the La Sal Mountains – view from our campsite

The lunar eclipse was also going to happen about 1 a.m.  We don’t stay up that late, so I set my alarm.  I’ve set my alarm in the past to make sure I don’t miss special nighttime sky events, but I never actually get up.  Mike would’ve bet money that I would turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.  But I didn’t!  I actually got up and went outside.  Into the cold cold night air.  I bundled up the best I could, but my fingers still went numb while I watched the eclipse go through its slow process.  I’m not the best photographer, but I was able to capture somewhat of a red hue.  You can see the bright star Spica in the photo, as well.

Lunar Eclipse and Spica

Lunar Eclipse and Spica

There are a few good things about getting older.  Not many, but a few.  One of them is our Senior Pass which gives us free unlimited access to all National Parks and Monuments.  We took advantage of being so near and went into Arches National Park quite a few times to do many of the wonderful hikes.

Beautiful rocks in Arches National Park

Beautiful rocks in Arches National Park

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

Double O Arches

Double O Arches

Pine Tree Arch

Pine Tree Arch

The hike into the Fiery Furnace is led by a Ranger.  The trail is rated challenging and sounded like fun.  We wanted to do the hike, so we signed up even though we typically don’t enjoy going with groups.  It moved much slower than we normally go, with many rest stops, but the little talks were informative so we enjoyed it.

Into the Fiery Furnace

Into the Fiery Furnace

Ranger-led hike into Fiery Furnace

Ranger-led hike into Fiery Furnace

We also enjoyed the 7 mile hike through the Devil’s Garden.  Lots of rock scrambling and beautiful views.

Rock cairns mark the way through Devil's Garden

Rock cairns mark the way through Devil’s Garden

Parts of the trail had steep drop-offs on both sides.

Parts of the trail had steep drop-offs on both sides.

17 rock cairns mark the way

Part of the trail was soft sand

Part of the trail was soft sand

Another day, we drove out Highway 128 along the Colorado River to tour the Movie and Cowboy Museum at the Red Cliffs Lodge.  You know Mike loves all that old cowboy stuff, and especially loves to see where the movies were made.  I had no idea that so many movies were filmed in this area!  It was a fun to see the old (and new) movie posters and read the history.

As we were driving along the Colorado River, we pulled into one of the campgrounds on the river.  They had a great site available for us the following morning, so we moved in the next day and stayed for 6 nights.  It was nice to be on the water and only 3 miles from downtown Moab.  Our previous boondocking site was about 12 miles from downtown Moab.  So this was great for running into town for whatever reason.  We also discovered some of the great hiking trails that are not in the National Park, so Lucy could go with us.

Lucy got another pair of boots.  She likes these much better.  They are less awkward.

Lucy got another pair of boots. She likes these much better. They are less awkward.

We hiked an easy trail to Morning Glory Bridge, which had a number of stream crossings.  Mike carried Lucy across to keep her feet dry.

Hike to Morning Glory Bridge

Hike to Morning Glory Bridge

Mike carries Lucy for the stream crossings

Mike carries Lucy for the stream crossings

We also hiked to the Corona Arch.  The weather has been wonderful and everything is in bloom along the trails.  So beautiful.

Corona Arch

Corona Arch

Lots of blooming cactus and wild flowers

Lots of blooming cactus and wild flowers

So much of the hiking around Moab is on slickrock.  It is amazing how your hiking boots stick to it.  You can walk on very steep rocks and feel quite sure-footed.

Hiking up slickrock

Hiking up slickrock

However, sometimes you need a little help.

Sometimes you'll find cables to help on the straight up parts of the trail

Sometimes you’ll find cables to help on the straight up parts of the trail

A special place, perhaps?

A special place, perhaps?

We departed Moab on April 21 because we had reservations in the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, Colorado.  But we plan to return to Moab after our visit here in the Colorado National Monument.  We just didn’t get enough of Moab.  We’re coming back for most of May, and we can’t wait!  We will return to our spot on Willow Springs Road because even though it is a few miles further out, we like the freedom of being unregulated by campground rules.  We enjoyed the campground on the River, but they had generator hours that restricted its usage from 8 pm to 8 am.  That doesn’t work for us.  Mike needs his Keurig K-cup at 6:30 am!  Then, he brings my coffee to me in bed.  He’s been doing that for 23 years and I love it.

We don’t have solar panels, so we must run our generator for 1-2 hrs in the morning and 1-2 hrs in the evening to charge our batteries.  If the gen has to be off at 8 pm, that means we have to run it during happy hour when we are sitting outside enjoying our campfire, etc.  When we’re out boondocking by ourselves, we prefer to run the gen later in the evening while we watch TV or whatever.  And if we can’t start the gen until 8 am, we lose a lot of our day waiting for the batteries to get fully charged.  We prefer to get them topped up early in the morning.  Anyway, enough whining about batteries.  We need solar panels!!

The Bear getting a bath in Moab

The Bear getting a bath in Moab – washing off the bugs and red dirt

Up next, Colorado National Monument.  Cheers!

 

 

19 thoughts on “Utah – Moab and Arches National Park

  1. Again… you are having way toooo much fun it looks like to me….We will be hitting that southeast corner of Utah in a couple of weeks and then heading up Rt 145 in Western Colorado for a couple weeks eventually coming out at Grand Junction mid May….Thanks for the great picts…
    Maynard [www.freewheelin.me]

  2. I totally share your sentiments about Moab and we would’ve stayed longer had it not been for the broken water lines. I’m hoping to score that boondock spot on future visits. Fortunately there’s room for both of us LOL. Nice post…..see at James Robb SP next week 🙂

  3. What was the name of the campground on the river? We may want to head that way next camping trip and it sounded nice. We leave Monday for 5 days in Patagonia.

    • It’s Goose Island campground and it is First Come First Serve. No reservations. There are several others along the river too. They don’t have any hook ups for elect, water or sewer. It is dry camping. But the location is great! These are BLM campgrounds. Fee is $15 per night (with our Senior Pass it was $7.50 per night).

  4. I was in Moab several years ago and I felt exactly the same as you about that wonderful place! Your photos are spectacular! Love the moon shots too! When you go back… Please try to hike up to Delicate Arch. A fabulous place!! I am going back one day , someday!

  5. Beautiful pictures of such a beautiful place. We spent a week in Moab on our very first RV trip in 2006 and loved it. The highlight of our stay was the hike to Delicate Arch. I agree with Nancy in the previous post. Don’t miss it!

  6. I’m with LuAnn! I told John where you were. I said I feel like I need to just drive west now. Waiting a few more months is driving me crazy but we really do need to see family first.

    I know and have every photo you posted!! We spent last April in Moab and it still wasn’t long enough. We hiked everyday we could and did several Jeep trips. It is such an amazing place. We hiked to the Corona Arch the week after the fellow was killed trying to swing from the arch. I understand why you need to return. Can’t wait to relive some of our good times again through your visit.

  7. We did not find any boondocking when we were in Moab last year, so this is outstanding info. Glad you enjoyed the area. Excellent shot of the moon, by the way!
    Nina

  8. Looks like we hit some of the same places in Moab! Question – what brand are the little boots you got for your dog? We had to get some from one of our dogs last year, but they didn’t fit him well and he kept tripping over them and falling on his face – so pathetic. I’d like to get him some better ones. Great post and I can’t wait to hear about your return to Moab!

    • Re the dog boots – The expensive ones that we got in Sedona were hard for her to walk in. She, too, kept tripping. These new little red rubber boots are called Pawz. I’m not sure if they would protect her feet from serious stickers, but they keep her feet clean and dry. And they are easy to walk in because they don’t have a hard sole. They come in a pack of 12 because they are semi-disposable. In other words, they might only last for a few hikes. Mainly because the dogs nails might punch through the rubber and cause them to start splitting. We still like them though.

  9. How are you able to dry camp for two weeks with the amount of water the motor home holds .do you carry extra water in jugs.
    Thanks Don

  10. Hi,
    I’d like to borrow one of your pictures. I visited Moab in 2011 but didn’t take a good shot of the town. Now I’m in Grad school and doing a project on the trip. I would love to attribute you. What would you like the photo credit to say?
    Thanks,
    Roethlee

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