A full kitchen and dining table for six in our VRBO at Rim Village in south Moab gives Max a chance to shine with morning scrambled eggs.
As a Biblical name for the land just short of the Promised Land, Moab, Utah is no quiet western outpost. There are many major chain motels, restaurants galore, four wheel adventure stores, Colorado river rafting and condos, condos, condos. These getaway townhouses seem to be solely built for people like us looking for an outdoor vacation in eastern Utah.
This mid-April 2022 morning we are off to Canyonlands National Park, 45 minutes north and west of Moab.
No longer is Canyonlands the little sister to Arches. Though we don’t need a reservation to enter the park as we did In Arches National Park, we have come at popular time of year – school vacation week in the Northeast, which includes Massachusetts where our grandsons, third grade Owen and second grade Max attend school and our daughter Molly rocks as a math specialist in an elementary school.
Asking the park ranger what she would recommend for hiking, she says our three signature hikes are Mesa Arch, Grand View Point, and Upheaval Dome. We’ll hit the first two before lunch, and third at the end of our hiking day.
Mesa Arch is regularly used for advertising because of its spectacular-ness (see the end of this blog). It’s a simple half mile with little elevation gain to the arch, which makes it uber-popular. Perched at the edge of a cliff with vast views of canyons, rock spires, and the La Sal Mountains in the distance, Mesa Arch spans fifty feet across atop a 500-foot vertical cliff.
Driving through to the end of the road in Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands, we have little traffic and no trouble finding parking at the trailhead for Grand View Point. See the map below for the two other districts of the park with different entrances).
With 15-20 mph winds buffeting us, we take the promontory trail between the canyon created by the Colorado River and the one created by the Green River.
Solid chunks of rock, three-layer cairns guide us between the canyons below for the one mile hike out.
From the viewpoint at 6,080 feet elevation, you can see distant mountains, canyons, basins, and the White Rim Road.
Weeks after we returned from Utah, this image popped up on the DailyOM blog that I get for inspiration each day. The Mesa Arch!