Canyonlands, Moab Area Trip

Had a great 12 day trip through the Moab area. We started leaving Phoenix early on a Saturday headed up to Valley of the Gods. Just past Mexican hat we turned off onto Valley of the Gods road, drove in a few miles and found a great campsite with an amazing view. The following day we headed up the Moki Dugway on our way to Natural Bridges National Monument for some hiking among the stunning natural bridges.

After some hiking we headed up to Moab for a nice bed before heading onto the White Rim Road in Canyonlands National Park. Unfortunately we knew the weather was starting to shift but the rangers thought we’d be find so we picked up our permits and headed down the Shafer Switchbacks onto the rim. Had a beautiful day, even seeing some desert big horn sheep – a ewe and a kid. We camped at the Airport campsite – which wasn’t the most stunning site but still very nice. The wind starting picking up really good late in the afternoon blowing the impending storm into the area. The following day we headed on to our campsite at Murphy Hogback. By the time we got there the weather had really started to turn and the rain started shortly after. Heck of a storm that blew through that night – thought it would take the tent down several times – but the OzTent stood tough and kept up dry and sheltered all night.

After exiting Canyonlands we headed over to Arches National Park for a few nights. We really enjoyed all the day hikes to the typical sites – Landscape Arch, Delicate Arch & the Windows. The highlight though was the taking the road over to Tower Arch and down past the Whales Eye.

We regrouped in Moab for a night, before heading down to the Needles area. Sadly we found out that the Horse Canyon area was closed due to rain, which put a crimp in our plans. We drove the road out to the Colorado Overlook which was very cool. After that we tried to head over Elephant Hill to the Devil’s Kitchen campground. The trail is a little rougher than Kim wanted to do though, so we turned back and headed to Durango for the night.

Had a great dinner in Durango, and visited Mesa Verde the following day. Part of the park was closed for the season, but did get to enjoy some of the more visited ruins without much of a crowd at all.

From Mesa Verde we worked down to Chaco Canyon National Historic Park to spend night and day learning about the site, the ruins and the various theories about what it was all for.

Aside from the storm and generally colder than expected temperatures,  it was a great trip and we’re looking forward to getting back to Canyonlands to conquer Elephant Hill and visit the remote Maze district.


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