weekday wanderlust: moab, utah

Calling all Southwest USA experts!

In a few days, my pals James & Mollie and I are heading to Moab, Utah for a weekend of hiking, glamping & unplanned exploration at Arches & Canyonlands National Parks. None of us have been to Moab before (Mollie’s been to Zion!), and we’re BEYOND excited to have the opportunity to experience such a naturally beautiful and wild part of our grand ole country.

We’ll be driving from Boulder to Glenwood Springs first, where we’ll spend the night soaking in the world’s largest hot springs pool/loving on the magic of Colorado. The next morning, we’ll briefly stop at the Colorado National Monument before crossing into Utah and continuing on to Moab.

What I want to know is…. who’s been to Moab??? We want to do some hiking and I want to take some time to make some great photos, but that’s all we got. Any tips for trails, photo ops, eateries or aaaanything else Moab-noobs like us should know would be massively appreciated. Let me know!


The Jeep-lust is in full force right now.

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  • Reply britasblog

    will you be taking your own off-road vehicle or renting one at all? If so, I recommend the road that my husband and I did. Potash->Shafer Trail. Very fun, beautiful, and exciting. Talk to some locals and even the rangers of the parks to get some ideas of what to do. Hopefully you’ll have better weather than we did!

    There’s a lot of mountain biking as well near Canyonlands. We found a lot of trails for mountain biking off of Gemini Bridges. Arches also offers a lot of fun hiking trails. My husband and I had limited time there so we weren’t able to do too much.

    I don’t know if you drink or not, but Moab also has it’s own brewery, which is pretty decent. We at at Zak’s Pizza in town. They have a good end pizza, soup, and salad option =) I hope this helps! Have fun and enjoy yourself!

    April 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm
    • Reply britasblog

      Also, I’ll be doing another post tomorrow on our offroading adventures into Canyonlands!

      April 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Amazing tips!!!!! We don’t plan on renting an off-road vehicle, I think we’re mostly set on hiking in Arches. We also only have limited time but hopefully we can check out the brewery & pizza for dinner! Thank you !

      April 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply Moani Hood

    Sounds fun! My husband and I did a road trip and went through Canyonlands and Arches in one day and stayed the night in Moab. I have a few blog posts on our short time through there. They are both beautiful. I love going through Arches near sunset time. Made the landscape look awesome. I wish we would have had more time there! Moab restaurants seemed to be pretty bustling when we were there too. Can’t wait to read about your trip!

    April 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Sunset is my favorite time of day for photos, love that golden hour! I can’t imagine the national parks will be anything but magical! Thanks 🙂

      April 22, 2015 at 3:54 pm
  • Reply Mark Smither

    I wish I would’ve known this: Get to Mesa Arch in Canyonlands just before sunrise. It’s right off the main road through the park, so it’s very accessible. Great photo opportunity!

    April 22, 2015 at 3:56 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Great, we’ll definitely keep this in mind for our Canyonlands day. Thanks!!!!

      April 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm
  • Reply Dustin Hughes

    Hi! Here’s how I’d do a day in Arches:

    1. Hike Delicate Arch very first thing. Aim for a sunrise start. Seriously wake up while dark and get to the parking lot by 6, and you should beat the crowds. By 10 when we came back down, it was supercrowded and I would have been annoyed hiking that.
    2. There’s no worries with the hike up there. Any average person can make it easily.
    3. Take your time at Delicate Arch. It’s amazing.
    4. After that, near the trailhead on the way back, check out the petroglyphs.
    5. Head over to the Devil’s Garden area for a picnic lunch (there’s a picnic area there).
    6. From there (across the parking lot loop) hike to Landscape Arch (about.8 miles out), and partition arch (right there). A little farther is Double O Arch. Coming back, there’s a spur trail to pine tree arch and tunnel arch.
    7. After that, you can make Sand Dune arch (a big giant sandbox. Part of it closed because of rockfall, and more of it closed because of stupid vandals).
    8. And then take a short hike (.5 mile? .75?) to Broken Arch.
    9. You can drive to the Windows (like a mile loop hike. very easy trail, no sweat) and Turret Arch.
    10. By now it’s probably kinda late, but still light. I’d explore Balanced Rock on the way out, then Park Avenue.
    11 Dinner in Moab? The Moab Diner is good and The Moab Brewery is pretty awesome, plus has cold microbrews. We go there like every time.

    Lodging / Camping. Depending on where you’re there, Sand Flats may or may not be full. If it’s full, it can be kinda noisy. If it’s not, it can be a treat.
    I might start out waaaay at the end of Highway 128 on the Colorado, near Dewey Bridge (like 30 miles up) and scout out that campground, then work your way back toward 191, checking out the campsites along the way. You’re more likely to find a decent spot farther back.
    There are also campgrounds elsewhere (in my blogpost i had a link to a map).
    If you’re truly desperate (as we were at 11 p.m. Friday the first night) there’s always Monticello and its hotels. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

    If you have more than a day, awesome. I’ve never been to Deadhorse, but it is supposed to be amazing. It’s a state park something like 25 miles from Arches. Canyonlands is nearby. From Moab, I’d drive south a bit to check out Newspaper rock (if you’re into petroglyphs. I am).

    In 128 canyon, there are some great hiking areas (according to other people – I haven’t got to do it). Negro Bill Canyon has a cringey name, but is supposed to be an awesome hike, and Fisher Towers (about 25 miles up) is supposed to be great too. Both looked pretty to us as we passed.

    HAVE FUN. It is amazing.

    April 22, 2015 at 4:03 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Dustin, you are an amazing human and you deserve the world. Thank you SO MUCH for this incredibly thorough information!!!!!! We’re going to be staying at a campsite near to Arches along 191. The tips on the hikes are particularly helpful, thank you thank you!

      April 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm
      • Reply Dustin Hughes

        Have an awesome time! I know you will. Look forward to reading about it.

        April 23, 2015 at 1:22 am
  • Reply 2orangebags

    Thanks for stopping by our travel blog. You mention on your website that you are going to Moab and wanted ideas. We were in Moab about a week ago and a highlight was Dead Horse Point State Park. The view from the point is fantastic and we loved the rim walk, which leaves from the visitor center. Depending on how much time you have, Goblins State Park west of Moab is incredible…it is a decent distance away, so you might have to save Goblins for another time. We did posts about both. You have probably heard this, but Arches gets crowded…we followed advice and got there before 8 a.m. so we could get parking at the Delicate Arch trailhead. The walk is great. Also, the walk to Landscape Arch is well worth it. Hope you have a great time!

    April 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      I’ve heard about how great Dead Horse Point State Park is — we are limited on time but I hope we can check it out! So excited for the hikes & views, thank you!!!!!

      April 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm
  • Reply smackedpentax

    Looks a stunning place. I wish I was coming with you – but I look forward to reading all about it and seeing lots of photos instead.

    April 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Haha I’m sure there will be an abundance of photos!

      April 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm
  • Reply Melissa Whitney

    Hi Kristen! It looks like you have received some amazing tips on here. Now I just want to go back to Moab! My friend and I were only able to spend a full day here, but the two hikes we did were the Delicate Arch and Corona Arch. Both are three mile hikes round trip. As Dustin recommended above, I would definitely take your time at Delicate Arch.

    Corona Arch was once the home of the world’s largest rope swing. There are videos on YouTube of people doing it…Pretty insane! You also cross the railroad tracks that were in the Lone Ranger movie with Johnny Depp, so that makes for a fun photo opp as well. That is all the stuff we had time for, but definitely can’t wait to get back there and do more exploring. I hope you have an incredible time with your friends! 🙂

    April 22, 2015 at 4:27 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Hi Melissa! Thank you so much!!! It sounds like the Delicate Arch hike is going to have to be our #1 priority!

      April 22, 2015 at 4:33 pm
  • Reply ~Michelle Cook

    Were heading that way this summer. Let me know what you find out!

    April 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm
  • Reply Jelena

    make sure you watch 127 Hours before you go

    April 23, 2015 at 6:31 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Oh boy. I’ve seen it. No thanks! 😉

      April 23, 2015 at 11:28 am
      • Reply Jelena

        just don’t go anywhere alone

        April 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm
  • Reply sheridegrom - From the literary and legislative trenches.

    Kristen – Thank you for the follow. I do my best to check in with followers at least once a week. Enjoy this wonderful time of your life. My career allowed me to travel and seek out adventure around the world and I never missed an opportunity to go. Of course it meant moving every 3 months – but I wanted to see and experience everything. I’m looking forward to reading your adventures.

    April 23, 2015 at 1:22 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      What a life! Thanks!

      April 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm
  • Reply Jelena

    I lived in Arizona for 3 years & loved the landscape, nature, scenery & hiking. Go with someone, have a map, plenty of water, take your camera and take it all in. The landscape over there is unreal in that corner of US 🙂

    April 23, 2015 at 3:36 pm
  • Reply One man and his Mustang

    Amazing pics.

    April 27, 2015 at 5:03 pm
  • Reply Paula

    Moab’s on my short list, so I’m “following” you there! Enjoy and tell us all about it 🙂

    May 4, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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