Utah – Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Arches

Utah (YOO-tah) – #1 of a series of 4 posts

So many of you have been here…it was a discovery for us. Our first steps into this grand land was through Monument Valley and then north to Arches and Canyonlands. The phrase “Now I’ve seen it all”, does not apply.

Monument Valley

The Navajo Tribal Park visitor center is stunning and compels you to drive the rutted road past the monuments. You can hire a Navajo guide for a private horseback tour and avoid the many tourists navigating the scenic road. (We did not.)

Mile marker 13/UT 163 is where Forest Gump stopped his cross-country run. People stop to take selfies in the middle of the road. We did not.

On to Moab

The La Sal Mountains are stunning along highway 191. Sal means salt…the Spanish explorers could not fathom that the peaks were white with snow…so they assumed it was salt (incorrecto).

Newspaper Rock – Near Moab, off highways 191 and 211, is a rock with petroglyphs representing 2000 years of human history – Ancestoral Puebloan, Fremont, Paiute, Navajo and Anglo travelers. (Including recent graffiti.)

Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky

Our day on the high mesas of Island in the Sky was filled with wind, rain, snow, hail, sleet, and intermittent blue skies. We stayed on the paved scenic road, although at Shafer Canyon Overlook, 1200 feet below, a lone car was creeping along on the 4WD Shafer Trail.

Mesa Arch – An American kid climbed to the top and the crowd shouted him down – “Can’t you read….? Get off the arch!” He did.

Grand View Point – A most spectacular panorama, and a one mile hike on the rim that we missed, because the gusty wind and sleet was a bit of a hindrance.

Dead Horse Point State Park

The name tells a tragic story from the old days that does not need repeating…but the sunset was spectacular as were La Sal Mountains, Canyonlands, and the Colorado River, 2000 feet below.

Arches National Park

The formations say it all: fins, needles, Devil’s Garden, Fiery Furnace, towers and arches everywhere. They glow like fire. My Fitbit registered 31,000 steps, but if I could do it over, I would choose to hike the Park Avenue Trail rather than to the many arches.

The Windows, Double Arch, Landscape Arch, Tunnel Arch. Landscape Arch is one of the longest spans in the world, 306 feet.

Devil’s Garden Trail – Which turns primitive after the long trek to Landscape Arch – but that is the fun part.

Fiery Furnace – Pinnacles that glow at sunset.

Park Avenue Trail – The formations are massive – reminiscent of NYC’s skyline.

What We Missed and Recommendations

Between Page, AZ to Moab there is much to see. I recommend a few days in Blanding, UT to check out

  • National Bridges Monument
  • Valley of the Gods – A fairyland of spires – 17 mile drive.
  • Edge of the Cedars State Park
  • Four Corners, Lake Powell, Hovenweep
  • Within the parks, I MUST go back for these hikes (they say they are easy)
    • Arches – Park Avenue Trail, looks like a NYC skyline
    • Canyonlands Grand View Point Trail, a rim walk on slick rock. You will feel so brave.
  • Moab: Mill Creek Bikeway – paved bike path that goes on and on and on.

12 thoughts on “Utah – Monument Valley, Canyonlands, Arches

  1. Love Arches!! One of my favorite parks!

    1. I saw your post on Arches! Lovely. I remember every arch.

  2. Glad you enjoyed southern Utah so much….the red rock country is my favorite part of the U.S.😊👍

    1. And now I know why. On to Death Valley in November. Send tips and guidance!

  3. Glennie Bowland June 13, 2019 — 10:17 am

    Normally I like pics with “peeps” in them but the “ahhhh”someness of these pictures…incredibly gorgeous. Being from CA, I have been to YOO-tah many times but you’ve convinced me it might be time for a revisit.

    1. You are the second friend who mentioned the lack of people in my pics. It Is a learned behavior to avoid people…even in one’s photos! (Not easy in a popular place).

  4. Photos are spectacular, as always. Brings back fond memories of our travels in those same areas, but we missed some that I’ve just added to the “must see” list. Love the Utah parks!

  5. Words cannot describe the beauty of this area. It’s stunning… looking quiet yet very much alive. Thanks for the adventure!

  6. Stunning photos!!! Thanks for taking us all along on your journey 🙂

  7. Absolutely spectacular pictures. Such a wonderful adventure. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wow guys, just stunning. This post takes my breath away – like stepping into a place out of time. Thanks for the oasis of peace and beauty xo

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