One of our own, Emilie Hollenbeck, recently took a trip to both Arches and Canyonlands- her two new favorite parks- while in Utah. Read below for some great stories, tips and suggestions if you're planning on traveling to Utah in the near future!
We drove from Salt Lake City to Moab in the dark (and a terrifying snowstorm - in the mountains), so we couldn't see what we were driving through, but we knew it had to be awesome because you could see hints of a crazy landscape even in the dark. Seeing the surroundings of Moab for the first time in the daylight was breathtaking. We covered a lot of ground in Arches in one day, and it felt like we had the whole park to ourselves. This trip really made me a firm believer in off season travel, which I highly recommend! I can't say it enough. Even if you only have a day to spend in the area, DO IT. It's totally worth it.
We went to Canyonlands on a super foggy day, which was actually really awesome. We hung out at a lookout point for about 15 minutes and while we were there, the fog subsided to reveal an amazing view. Within minutes, the fog moved back in to completely hide the view. It was mysterious and amazing. This happened at a few different lookout points, and I'll never forget it.
I've visited a lot of places, but Utah is my new favorite. Arches felt surreal. The mix of the giant arches with a desert feel and snowcapped mountains in the distance was unlike any other scenery I've experienced! Canyonlands felt like the Grand Canyon with snowcapped mountains in the background. I think the biggest thing that stood out to me was the vast amount of change in landscape. I loved it, and I'll remember it forever. There's just something about snow and desert combined that's magical.
I highly recommend exploring the areas outside of the parks. Some of the coolest views we experienced on our trip were from a trail outside of Arches in Negro Bill Canyon. Some new friends at Outdoor Retailer told us about this area, and I'm so glad that we took their advice and went on the Morning Glory Bridge Trail. This hike was amazing; it was about 5 miles round trip with beautiful views along the way and an incredible natural bridge at the end! Apparently, Canyonlands is huge. If you want to explore the whole park (or several parts of it), I would recommend planning on spending a few days there. We definitely only saw a small piece of the park, but I'm looking forward to going back!
Also, if you end up in Moab and you're hungry, eat at The Spoke on Center - they have awesome burgers!