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Arches and Canyonlands in April

Larchmont, New York
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Arches and Canyonlands in April

We are returning from visiting our son at college in SF leaving April 12 and would like to visit these parks and anything else do-able in 4 days. We were thinking of flying to SLC. Would like recommendations on itinerary. Is April a good time to go? Would it be worth driving to Denver to see some different scenery and flying to JFK from there? We want to do some easy hiking in the parks (as we don't have much time). Also looking for nice accommodations. Thanks for any info. We loved Bryce and Zion years ago but came from Vegas, so we know nothing about this area--Elizabeth

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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1. Re: Arches and Canyonlands in April

April is one of the best months to visit Arches and Canyonlands. It's a pretty simple destination. SLC is the best gateway - just four hours. You can try a one-way to Denver and, yes, you'll get more mountain scenery. But one-way car rentals may drive your costs up considerably.

Use Moab as your base. You won't spend a lot of time in your motel/hotel so don't worry too much about that. We like to base right in town so it's walking distance to restaurants at night. River Canyon Lodge is our usual choice - cheap, clean, convenient. It's just a 10-15 minute drive to Arches, a touch more to Canyonlands.

Have fun.

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2. Re: Arches and Canyonlands in April

I think just doing Moab from Salt Lake & back will be plenty for 4 days without adding more.

On the way to and from Salt Lake there are a couple of on the way stops you may be interested in.

1) You would want to do this on the way back to Salt Lake - check out the tulip festival at thanksgivingpoint.com. The tulip festival at Thanksgiving Point only goes 2 weeks per year and you are lucky to be here right then - it begins April 15. It's very convenient to stop at because it's right off the freeway exit on I-15.

2) There is a dinosaur / native american museum in Price that is about halfway between Moab and Salt Lake and is a nice way to break up the drive. It's a fairly small museum, but has some interesting things to see - it is just a few minutes off the freeway and takes about an hour.

In Moab:

Your timing is perfect. The weather should be nice. There are major festivals the week before and the week after you will be there that will make things crowded, but you will be there right between them and miss the festival crowds - if you stay long enough you may starting seeing jeep festival crowds - probably the busiest time in Moab all year.

I like staying on the north end of town to avoid the hassle of driving back and forth through town - everything you will want to do is north of Moab. We liked Aarchway Inn when we stayed there, but there are many good choices - we stayed in the off season it will be more pricey in April.

I don't know what your definition of "easy hiking is", but the two "must do" hikes in Arches are:

Delicate Arch - 3 miles total (1 1/2 miles each way) - about 1/3 mile of it is strenuous - up a fairly steep hill. The rest is flat or slightly uphill.

Devil's Garden - 2 miles total. This is a ranger guided tour and has a little bit of rock scrambling but IMO is quite easy as long as you are mobile. The ranger takes you at a slow pace and stops frequently to talk. This hike is only available by advanced reservations and if you are interested in it you should book now - www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/programs.htm. (I checked and there is still some availability for your dates, which surprised me.)

There are a number of other nice places to stop in Arches and short walks to see things. Hiking the Devil's Garden trail to see Landscape Arch is also great.

Outside of Arches, you will want to see Dead Horse Point.

In Canyonlands the map you get when entering the park has a good description of the different hikes and lookouts available. There are a number of shorter, very easy hikes available in Canyonlands.

Roosevelt, Utah
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3. Re: Arches and Canyonlands in April

April is a great month unless the weather isn't cooperating -- extremes are known to happen. The major problems with April are the (easter Jeep) crowds and the critters near the river and open water. Bring some bug spray.

You will get a good sense of the beautiful Colorado Plateau as you drive through the San Rafael Swell between Salina and Green River. The construction of the Utah portion of I-70 is one of the engineering marvels of the Interstate Highway System and at 110 miles is the longest distance anywhere in the Interstate Highway System with no motorist services.

While in Moab, I would concentrate on Arches and Canyonlands and try finding a nice hotel near the river on the north end of town. Driving through Moab is a wonderful adventure but during April, I would hate to have to do it every day.

I'd explore as much of Arches as I could, with side trips to Dead Horse Point, Island In The Sky above and below (via the Potash Road) and drive the river road to Cisco and Fisher Tower.

If you are bike riders rent some bikes! You won't regret it just take plenty of water.

I think the suggestion to head back to SLC via 191 through Price is an excellent idea, and the Museum in Price is a great stop. If you have more time the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is open and has a new visitor's center.


Edited: 29 March 2011, 17:03
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4. Re: Arches and Canyonlands in April

We will be in the MOAB area in early July. I would like to do the Fiery Furnance tour but I'm a bit worried about the heat. We are in our early 50s and reasonably fit but my husband hates the heat. Can anyone tell me just how hot it is likely to be.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: Arches and Canyonlands in April

We did both of these in May 2009. Heat is definitely a factor but if keep yourself hydrated it should be ok and yes sunscreen.

Dead Horse Point State Park should be worth a visit too in my opinion.

I liked the views from there and the history of this place as to how they brought in horses.

Some pics from my trip are here :


6. Re: Arches and Canyonlands in April

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