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Help with Dec plans for Moab area

San Francisco, CA
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Help with Dec plans for Moab area

Hi experts,

Finally the tickets and hotel is booked for our X-Mas trip to Moab and I was hoping to get some planning advice from experts on the forums.

We will be there for 4 days (not including driving in and back days).

Our toddler will be with us so not trying to plan an adventurous trip

Here is the rough plan I have:

Day 1: SLC -> Moab

Can I squeeze in Goblin valley SP on my way to Moab? We arrive at 10:00AM at SLC and then pick up the rental

Day 2: Arches

Plan to mostly drive to the usual spots and squeeze in Corona arch and delicate arch hike.

I will have the toddler on a kelty backpack for the hikes. Are 2 hikes too much?

(This is our second visit to Arches so I guess a day should be fine)

Day 3: Goosenecks SP and Natural Bridges National Monument

I see that its 6 hrs of total driving to and fro, will that be too much given that we have less day light? We plan to push out around 8:30 - 9 in the morning.

Only doing one of the two is total 4:30hrs in driving, if I have to drop one which one should it be?

(Btw, I have been to horseshoe bend at Page, AZ. not sure if it even makes sense to compare to goosenecks but just wanted to throw it out)

Day 4: Canyonlands - Island in the Sky

Plan to cover suggestion mentioned for the half day activity suggested on the nps site

nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/iskyactivities.htm

Day 5: Canyonlands - Needles

We will be in a sedan and not a 4x4 (anyways it would be a rental) so I am not sure if roads in the needle section would be OK for driving a sedan.

I need some help figuring out this day

Day 6: Moab -> SLC

Our flight is at 7:00PM and we will be heading out around 8:30 - 9:00am, so we may have time for an hour or two of side excursion, any suggestions?

Thanks in advance :).

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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1. Re: Help with Dec plans for Moab area

Nice quiet time of year to visit. We usually go down over the holiday but can't make it this year. Do plan on being in snow and ice. Dress accordingly, especially with footwear for hikes.

Yes, you can hit Goblin Valley. It will add two hours to your trip (one each way) plus your time visiting. Figuring you leave the airport by 11 am, you would be in Goblin Valley around 2:30-3:00 pm. That would give you about 90 minutes to two hours before dark, and a dark drive to Moab.

I would think twice about committing a day of driving to go to Natural Bridges and Goosenecks. Both are great, but you have plenty of things to see/do in Moab area. If you do want to go, Natural Bridges involves hiking and is closer. Goosenecks is more or less a scenic overlook.

You should be fine driving in to Needles. Hiking Chesler Park would be nice. Do get local information on any snow coverage there. It's about an hour from Moab.

Both Delicate Arch and Corona Arch are nice hikes. Do check local conditions relative to ice or snow. Also look at Fisher Towers hike. There are also some very nice winter snow/ice hikes right off the Colorado River Road at Negro Bill Canyon and back one small canyon towards Moab. Very short hikes to nice ice formations. Similarly on the way to Corona Arch, watch for scenic ice flows along the Colorado River banks.

On your way back to Salt Lake, check out the John Wesley Powell Museum (check hours) in Green River.

Have fun.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Help with Dec plans for Moab area

Between Natural Bridges and Gooseneck SP is the Moki Dugway. That's a very steep drop off with switchbacks and 3 miles unpaved and very tough with snow on it. Gooseneck SP and the views on San Juan River is very different from Horseshoe bend in Page (more bends, totally different colors) Think twice before you make this a daytrip so I agree with what T&C has said.

Kipling. SK
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for Zion National Park
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3. Re: Help with Dec plans for Moab area

Grandview overlook, Mesa Arch, Shafer canyon overlook, and Green River overlook are all terrific sights in Canyonlands IITS. There is a mile long hike along the slickrock at Grandview point. The end of this trail allows an overlook into the Needles section and out over the maze. Do try and get Dead Horse Point into your schedule, which is a nice overlook onto a gooseneck of the Colorado river.

you will have to wait and see what the weather condition are like for the delicate hike or corona hike, especially with a young one in tow.

4. Re: Help with Dec plans for Moab area

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Salt Lake City, Utah
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5. Re: Help with Dec plans for Moab area

Goblin Valley would be a great way to start the trip. You may end up driving late into Moab, but with nothing else planned that should not be a problem.

The way I read it Day 2 is for Arches. But since you mention Corona arch I'm just wanting to let you know (in case you didn't) that it is not in the park. Trailhead for it is off the Potash road. If you don't take the full Devil's Garden trail you should be ok for a drive over there after doing Arches.

Day 3, I think that might be too far for a day trip. You'll want at least 2 hrs for Natural Bridges. Goosenecks is better imo than Horseshoe Bend however you'll still only spend less than half an hour there. It is a long drive for that short of a visit...but obviously that is your call. You could do a loop drive, over on 95 to NB, then down to Goosenecks and back via Bluff on 191. Or if you decide that is too far then just do NB. You could include a visit to Edge of the Cedars in Blanding instead.

Day 4, the main roads are paved and fine for a sedan. These will not take you to many of the most unique places, but it is still worth the visit. There are several short hikes you could do. nps.gov/cany/…needlesshorthikes.htm You could probably fit them all in a day visit.

I'd second the visit to the Powell museum in Green River which highlights river travel on the Green and Colorado. Or if you are more interested in dinosaurs either the museum in Price or the one at Thanksgiving point in Lehi are both very good.

San Francisco, CA
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6. Re: Help with Dec plans for Moab area

Thanks everyone for the great feedback.

I am leaning more toward dropping both (NB and goosenecks) :) and spending an extra day around Moab.

This is supposed to be a relaxed vacation so I agree with all of you it will be too stressful to do both in a single day.

Kbec thanks for the info on Corona arch, I was not aware of that (may be thats why I can't find it in my last trips photos :) , we only spent a day at arches last time). The extra day saved dropping the NB could come in handy here I guess.

We will definitely try to squeeze in the Powell museum on our way back on the final day.

Keep the suggestions flowing if you can think of anything else.

7. Re: Help with Dec plans for Moab area

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