Southwest National Park Loop- Arches & Canyonlands National Park

After staying the night in Monument Valley we got up early and headed out to Moab Utah to visit two National Parks- Arches & Canyonlands. On our road trip leaving Monument Valley we saw some of the iconic vistas from the movie “Cars”. Our drive time was about 2 hours and 30 mins to Moab.

Monument Valley Iconic Vista

We also stopped on the side of the road to visit the Mexican Hat. After all it was a road trip and you have to stop at the tourist areas.

Mexican Hat

We arrived in Moab around noon to check into Quality Suites in Moah Utah. We used 25,000 Choice points to stay at the hotel. Choice points are great for staying near National Parks during busy expensive months. It was an average 3 star hotel but did have an indoor pool.

Pool at Quality Suites in Moab Utah

Next we headed out to visit Canyonland National Park. Canyonlands is a very large National Park but most visitors go to the Island in the Sky part of the park. It takes about 40 mins to drive to the Visitors center from Moab. It was a very hot day again over 100 degrees. So we filled up our water bottles at the Visitor Center and then went to Mesa Arch. It was hard to get a picture of Mesa Arch without many people. Then we drove to Grand View Point Overlook to take in the Vista of Canyonland.

Visitor Center- Island in the Sky Canyonlands National Park
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands
Grand View Point Overlook in Canyonlands National Park

We then headed back towards Moab and stopped at Arches National Park. We had hoped to get great sunset pictures but unfortunately the park was going to close early that day due to road work. So with our limited time we headed to Lower Delicate Arch. We had hoped to climb up to Delicate Arch but with limited time and the intense heat we made the most of our visit.

Arches National Park Sign
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
Delicate Arch

Next we drove all the way to the back of the park to Devils Garden Trail head. Stopping to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. The hike was easy despite the heat. Tunnel Arch was far away but Pine Tree Arch you could climb right up to it. The best thing was getting to see it when no one was around. Hiking back to the car, it started to rain for a brief minute. It was so hot for so long it was nice to finally feel rain.

Map of Devils Garden Trail in Arches National Park
Hiking Devils Garden Trail
Sign to Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch
Tunnel Arch
Pine Tree Arch

We then went to the windows section of the park. We saw the North Window, South Window and Turret Arch. There were so many people visiting but for only a couple of minutes we had North Window all to ourselves for some amazing photos.

North Windows- Look at the people
Where did the crowds go? I have no idea but love these pictures.
North Window at Arches National Park
Turret Arch

We crossed the parking lot to see Double Arch which was my favorite of all the arches. Not to be missed. I wish we could have stayed longer but the Park Rangers were kicking people out of the park at this time.

Double Arch
Double Arch at Arches National Park

On our way out of the park we quickly stopped to see Balance Rock before the park rangers came by to kick us out again!

Balanced Rock

Since we were getting kick out of the park early there was a traffic jam. So we slowly drove through the park. Next time we hope to spend more time visiting Arches National Park.

At this point we were very hungry so we headed back to Moab. Someone had given me a recommendation for a restaurant called El Charro Loco. The plus side is that it was right next to our hotel. El Charro Loco was small and very busy but we were early for dinner so we got the last table. We ordered fajitas and they were amazing. We highly recommend El Charro Loco.

El Charro Loco in Moab Utah
Yum! Sizzling Fajitas

After a hot day of walking nothing sounded better then dipping our toes into the hotel pool. Then we headed out to downtown Moab Utah to explore the night life. It was a great small town with lots of shopping and restaurants. Stay tune for our next stop Bryce National Park.

Downtown Moab Utah
Moab Utah

This is a continuation of a Southwest National Park Loop blog post series to read more:

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