Images by Phil... and June
Visit To Utah National Parks - 2013
by June's Views on October 10th, 2013


In September of 2013, using our 55th wedding anniversary as an excuse we visited several national parks in Utah.   We flew into Salt Lake City, picked up our rental car and drove to the small town of Moab.  
We stayed at The Mayor’s House B&B and couldn’t have hoped for a better selection. Thanks to our hosts Cary and David we had excellent cooks, advice on the best places to eat, history teachers, and, when it rained, they offered suggestions for alternative plans.  The property is lovely, and there’s a pool.  I sound like an advertisement for the B&B, but we really were very pleased.    
Moab is the proverbial one horse town and is in an excellent location to allow us to visit this part of Utah.  We wanted to stay in one spot so we wouldn’t be bothered with checking out and into different accommodations, and Moab filled that requirement nicely.  
 Overnight there was serious rain!  After a good night’s rest and wonderful breakfast by Cary, we go to the Arches National Park.  The early morning rain made some of the places we wanted to go impossible.   But to counter that, the clouds still in the now-blue sky added great dimensions’ to the pictures we took that morning.  We were flabbergasted at the beauty we saw!  

Rain started again, and we abandoned the park for a drive down Highway 128 (David’s suggestion).  We drove 60 miles with the river on one side and waterfalls and beautiful cliffs on the other.  We stopped for a hamburger at the Red Cliff’s restaurant.  Not a great lunch menu but we were hungry, and there was a great view.


Back in Moab we try Arches Park again where we found sun and breathtaking scenery.  The way the soft stone has been sculpted into those fabulous arches and rocks balanced on the top of precipices is nothing short of glorious.  
The next day the weather looks promising and we drove about 30 miles to the Island in the Sky – Canyon Lands National Park.   The drive to the park was in itself a wonderful experience, but the park was drop-dead-beautiful!  We were treated to fog-topped mountains and skies with white fluffy clouds.  The weather was perfect
The main attraction for us this morning was the Mesa Arch, about a half-mile hike from the parking lot.  We’d seen pictures taken from this arch and we were anxious to try our skills and luck.  The early morning sun was in front of us and perfect for photography.  It is a very special spot. Phil got beautiful pictures of the arch, the cliffs in front, and the valley below. 

When the temperature cooled a bit, around 4:00, we returned to Arches Park and visited Balanced Rock, Fifth Avenue, and the Courthouse.  Different views in the park will look their best at specific times of day.  Lists are available on the internet and at the park to explain the best time of day for which views.  Using the lists save valuable time and help efficiently organize our day.  

The next day we drove down Highway 191 to the Natural Bridges National Park.  We visited 3 bridges and we agreed only one was really noteworthy.  We did get some nice pictures at one of them.  If time is a factor, we’d advise skipping this park.  After leaving Bridges park we continued on to Monument Valley.  We drove about 5 miles of road was one switch-back hair-pin curves after another. 
Because of the rain, before leaving Moab that morning we checked to see if Monument Valley Park was open- it was.  However, when we arrived at the park we found that, yes, the park is open but private vehicles were not allowed in the park that day.  Bummer!  We chose not to go on one of the golf cart tours as we wanted the flexibility of privacy to photograph as we choose.  We were disappointed but still able to drink in the views of iconic monuments from the huge veranda at the visitor center.
The next day we drove Highway 279 for more beautiful scenery.  We stopped at the trail head to the Cordova Arch...moderately difficult hike of about 1 hour.  This is the arch that some very brave (or idiotic) folks have swung from a rope attached to the top of the arch, and at least one crashed into the cliff behind the arch, resulting in his tragic death.  I understand small planes have flown through this eye-popping arch.  After the long hike in the September temperatures we drove to Susie’s Branding Iron and treated ourselves to a great steak.  
After a rest we drove on to the Needles Overlook – but even though there were nice views, we still vote the Needles District as our least favorite area.  I think it’s a serious hiker’s destination and serious hikers... we are not!   The next morning we discover that Delicate Arch, which has been closed because of the heavy rains, WAS open while we were at the Needles Overlook!  Good Grief!  It is closed again today. 

Returning to the Arches Park, we visit The Windows, Turret, and Double Arches.

Because the rains have kept visitors away for a couple of days Arches Park is inundated with cars and people.   The Double Arch is so huge and so beautiful!  
 


We finally find a place to park tso we can visit Devil’s Garden.  We hike through the canyon to the delicate Landscape Arch.  We also visit Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch.  
After a fine lunch at the Moab Grill we drove back down Highway 128 to Fisher’s Towers, and on to the Dewy Suspension Bridge.  We returned to Moab on the beautiful La Sal Mountain Loop. 
Even though we didn’t get to visit Delicate Arch we had a wonderful time.  Sunday morning we packed up and left Moab. 

On our way back to Salt Lake City we stop at Dead Horse Point State Park to see magnificent panoramic vistas.

Well-saturated with memories of this beautiful state (Why did we wait so long to come here?), we turn in our rental car and board the plane for Austin.    Check Out the Slide Show


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