Part 10: Canyonlands and Arches National Parks


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The Trip

We spent the night in a remote camp on a mesa north of Moab, UT.  The wind was howling all night and was still blowing strong in the morning.  We broke camp and headed for the Island in the Sky Unit of Canyonlands National Park.  From there, we did a drive-through of Arches National Park.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The trucks make remote camping easy.

The high winds created huge clouds of dust that obscured the awesome view.  From the Grand View Overlook we could see the steep inner canyons along the White Rim trail.  The trail is visible in the photo above.

The White Rim sandstone formation creates steep canyon headwalls.

The harder structure of the White Rim formation creates nice hoodoos, visible in the inner canyon.

Navajo sandstone is the "top of the cake" in the local formations creating huge sheer cliffs.

Despite the poor visibility we could see the intricate towers in the Needles District of Canyonlands.

The White Rim trail skirts the steep headwall of a narrow side canyon.

The hoodoos of the inner canyon were visible from the overlook.

Way in the distance to the west is the Green River.

The layer-cake nature of the local strata produces canyons-within-canyons-within-canyons.

The more durable upper layers of rock eventually crumble leaving large talus slopes at the bottoms of the cliffs.

We passed the Shaffer Trail overlook where we could see the path of the trail in the canyon below.  This trail is steep and scary and it looks as if there is both cars and mountain bikes on the trail.

From Canyonlands we headed over to Arches National Park.  Despite the name, Arches has a great number of monoliths and hoodoos in the park.

While pulling into a parking area for lunch, we spotted another 1017A with expedition camper.  This rig is from Namibia in Africa.

Bill and Mark go over to talk to the truck's owner, Martin.

A nice monolith in the park, not unlike Monument Valley in Arizona.

Nice hoodoos on the tops of the cliffs.

Our lunch spot was very scenic.

A nice hoodoo next to the road.

Some of the hoodoos are surprisingly anthropomorphic, like the hoodoo in the center of the photo above.

On the far horizon we could see some large windows in the cliffs.

Note the warping in the lower layers of the rock on both the left and right hoodoos.

No trip to Arches would be complete without a visit to Delicate Arch.  We wimped out and did not hike to the main arch, but instead satisfied ourselves with a distant view.

On the return path from Delicate Arch we drove past a large arch close to the highway.

To the south we could see the snow-capped La Salle mountains beyond the forest of hoodoos.

From our viewpoint I spotted a small cactus in bloom.

More interesting hoodoos visible from the highway.

Natural erosive forces create arches and windows.

  This small collapse in the cliff wall will one day become a large window.

Both Canyonlands and Arches are one-of-a-kind parks and are worth of serving as a destination for a vacation.  Both parks were very busy and I was told that it gets even busier during the summer months so plan accordingly. 

Tomorrow, we continue west toward the Escalante region of Utah.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.