It’s been several weeks since I returned from the Philippines, and just like my previous visit I came home coughing and sick, with about a week required to deal with jet lag. But I had a grand time with family, former high school classmates, coworkers and friends in the sweltering heat and humidity. I survived that journey, and I’m sure glad to be back home!
So where were we? Oh yeah, having a blast with friends in Moab a few weeks ago!
We stayed in Moab for two weeks, exploring and hiking trails we had missed during our first visit. Although it’s been a few weeks, the photos I took then are bringing it all back to me now…
Beautiful freestanding Delicate Arch sits on the edge of a natural sandstone bowl, as seen through Frame Arch
We revisited Arches National Park to see a few new-to-us arches, and to get up close to Delicate Arch which is a widely recognized symbol of Utah. It’s described as “the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area.” Although sunset is said to be the best time to photograph it, we are morning people so we hiked out to it at sunrise before the crowds arrived.
Depicted on Utah vehicle license plates, Delicate Arch is 60′ tall
We then continued our explorations, checking out Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch, all of which we hiked in one big loop.
The base of Sand Dune Arch is covered by wind-driven sand and is hidden within a slot canyon created by two massive, adjacent sandstone fins
Broken Arch is not really broken, although it is wearing a bit thin at the top with a crack running through the middle of the span
Tapestry Arch shares a sandstone fin with two “proto-arches”
The La Sal mountains were covered in snow during our visit, a gorgeous contrast to the nearby formations
Here is more information on the other popular arches we visited at Arches NP.
The small resort town of Moab is surrounded by stunning red rock landscapes, making it a huge playground for outdoor enthusiasts. We tackled as many hikes and activities as we could during our stay.
Rock climbers along Potash Road
Hidden Valley Trail
A thunderstorm with hail made us turn around during our first attempt on this trail a couple of years ago. The first part of the hike is a steep uphill climb, then at the top we reached a low divide to the valley as it traversed between awesome towering cliffs. We were rewarded with scenic views, solitude, and a fine rock art panel.
Hidden Valley was a beautiful surprise
Looking down at a rock wilderness
Overlooking the south end of Moab
Colorful lichens brightened some of the rocks
Long Bow Arch
One of the many trails along Potash Road, this trek is known for the dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs that can be seen along the way. Wildflowers had already started showing off blooms while we were there.
Tracks of theropod dinosaurs left behind some 190 million years ago
Petroglyphs on the walls
Long Bow Arch has a span of 60′
La Sal mountains peek through gigantic sandstone fins
Jeep Arch Trail
This trail is also accessed from Potash Road and leads to a photogenic, jeep-shaped arch situated in a large sandstone cul-de-sac. On our way in we followed the trail along the canyon ridge, then climbed high above the side of the wash. On the way back we wandered through the canyon bottom for some variety. The views here are wonderful and impressive, with multi-hued sandstone walls lining both sides of the canyon.
The trail begins with a walk through a large culvert
Can I climb up there?
Steve “driving” the Jeep Arch, although he didn’t think it looked like a jeep at all
Pondering how to get to the bottom of the canyon
Water in the desert canyon – we really enjoyed this route less taken
Water marks on the canyon floor
In sandy areas we got a whiff of fragrant yellow Desert Holly flowers
Stair Master Trail
This trail lived up to its name, gaining over 900′ in the first mile on slick rock. After catching our breath at the top, the reward was excellent views of the Colorado River, Moab Valley, La Sal mountains and even part of Arches NP in the distance.
Window Arch in Arches NP was visible from this trail
Looking down at the Colorado River and towering cliffs along Potash Road
We had some fun with friends Dave and Sue during this hike. We could see our RV park from the summit, so Steve called them to see if they could spot us with their binoculars. After we waved frantically like a couple of maniacs, they finally did see us!
Portal RV Resort was waaaaaaaay down there!
Zooming in on Dave and Sue as they zoomed in on us
The trail runs along a ledge of purplish sandstone on an anticline rising next to the Colorado River. It forms the cliffs that define the western side of Moab Valley, and also a gnarly jeep trail for “extreme jeepers”.
The trail runs parallel to the Moab Rim Jeep Trail
The guy in the pickup didn’t do so well!
Taking it all in – Moab Valley and the La Sal mountains in the background
Heading back down the Stairmaster Trail – this one didn’t disappoint!
Next Up: Enjoying Moab sights with friends