We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip report - Moab - lots of hiking

Maryland
Level Contributor
1,189 posts
69 reviews
Save Topic
Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Headed out to Utah for a quick escape in early May. Found cheap nonstop tix to Denver on Frontier, so we enjoyed a bit of Colorado as well.

Goal was hiking and photography. We were there for a full moon and an amazing show of wildflowers.

What we did: 10, SAT - Arrived Denver in the late afternoon. Stopped to look for bighorn sheep at Georgetown, CO (unsuccessful, but a beautiful stop, and good pizza from Mountainbuzz Cafe!). Drove on to Grand Junction, arriving ahead of the winter storm that hit the mountains early Sunday.

11 SUN - Colorado National Monument. Cold and rainy! Drove through Colorado National Monument. Hiked to Devils Kitchen and a bit beyond. Also hiked a bit of Serpent’s trail, but turned around when the rain started. Drove the rest of Rim Rock Drive, partly in the fog/clouds but the views cleared just as we reached Artist’s Point – beautiful! We found a ledge to enjoy leftover pizza for lunch. Another wave of showers came through later, so we left the park and headed to Moab via Hwy 128, exit 214. We checked into our condo, picked up groceries at City Marekt, and headed into Arches in hopes of a sunset. The sun never made it through the clouds, but we had some fun looking for reflection shots in the pools near Park Avenue Trail/Courthouse Towers.

12 MON – Arches. Got up early for sunrise at Windows section, but the clouds were still too thick. Still enjoyed a quiet morning in the Windows area. Hiked around via the primitive loop and the short trail to Double Arch. Went up to Landscape Arch and hiked to Devil’s Garden around via the primitive trail -- I highly recommend the offshoots at Partition and Navajo Arches - nice to have those all to ourselves. Found a nice picnic area for lunch a couple hundred yards up the dirt road across from Balanced Rock. That afternoon we did the Fiery Furnace ‘tour’. We went back to the condo for dinner, and for sunset we headed out to the Windows section, exploring around Turret Arch.

13 TUES – Needles. Stopped to see petroglyphs on the way to Needles: Newspaper Rock was okay, but being able to ‘discover’ the petroglyphs at Shay Canyon just up the road was fantastic! We stopped at the visitor’s center for tips on the Chesler Park/Joint Trail hike. This hike was one of the best we’ve ever done – amazing! Went to back to Moab and straight to Milt’s Stop and Eat for dinner -- it was very popular that evening, taking about 25 minutes for our burger order. They were great, and it’s a fun, local scene. We chilled out at the condo for the evening.

14 WED - Island in the Sky. Headed out early for sunrise at Mesa Arch – beautiful. Probably 20 people there, but they were all respectful and it seemed that everyone had a chance to get a nice shot. Hiked to the granaries/Aztec Butte. Found an amazing spot to enjoy some breakfast out on the rocks partway down the White Rim Trail. Hiked to Grandview Point, the 2nd overlook at Upheaval Dome, then hiked to False Kiva. (We went in the long way, but found the ‘real’ path on the way out!) Back in Moab, we grabbed some amazing steaks and home-made jerky Ol’ Geezer Meat shop – wow! For sunset we went out near the picnic area we ‘discovered’ near Balanced Rock, where we got some great panorama photos and watched the moonrise.

15 THUR – Dead Horse Point, Mill Creek. Went out to Dead Horse Point for a beautiful sunrise. I loved watching the colors in the rocks ‘come to life’ as the shadows receded into the canyon. We hiked the east/west rim hikes with all the overlooks, making a loop. Back to Moab, we had a fun brunch at Moab Diner (I’m a sucker for all things green chili, and the chorizo breakfast burrito didn’t disappoint!). It was hating up in the afternoon, so we hiked up Mill Creek Canyon past the main swimming hole to the second pool up. Later that afternoon we chilled out at the condo, did laundry, and enjoyed our steaks on the grill. We did an evening hike to Corona Arch. Before the actual sunset, the arch was in the shade due to the sun angle, but it was still a nice setting as we watched some folks rappelling.

16 FRI - Morning – We headed out to Windows section for the sunrise Turret Arch shot, but turned around when an entire bus of tourists arrived at the same time, around 0545! We went over to the Garden of Eden, which we had completely to ourselves. It was a magical way to spend a morning, and we enjoyed it for over an hour. We eventually headed back to the North Window for pictures. Next we decided head out to Delicate Arch. As the day was heating up, we drove up to Sand Dune Arch. Being so close to the road, I was amazed that we had the place to ourselves for quite awhile. Others came, but only stayed long enough for a quick picture. If you come here, enjoy it with your shoes off! We also did the short walk up to Skyline Arch – had planned to climb up the back, but the knees were feeling a bit wobbly after our previous slickrock hikes. That afternoon, we walked around Moab a bit and grabbed a beer at Moab Brewery.

17 SAT – We left Moab early to go back and enjoy Colorado National Monument, since it was rainy on our last trip through. We were hoping to see some bighorn, so we took the Wedding Canyon/Lower Monument Canyon Trail loop. (5 mi). According to some other folks we saw on the trail, we just missed the big horn sheep, but we did see a few collared lizards! Down the road (outside the park) we hit the Liberty Cap/Corkscrew Trail loop. The amazing wildflowers in the meadow on the initial part of the path were really the highlight here. Drove to Palisade, CO where we enjoyed a charcuterie plate and amazing Pinot Noir on the patio at Maison LaBelle winery. We drove on to Glenwood Springs, where we relaxed in the motel a bit before enjoying a couple hours at the public springs. We had great lamb-burgers at the Grind downtown.

18 SUN - Early morning we hiked to Hanging Lake. It was so beautiful and quiet on the way up and at the lake, though the trail was getting quite busy on the way back down. We showered, checked out, and headed back to Denver. Along the way, we took taking Hwy 6 exit 216 over Loveland Pass, and enjoyed lunch at Arapahoe Cafe by Dillon Lake. The food was amazing and our table had an amazing view. We stopped at Georgetown again for a last search for bighorn sheep. This time, with only hours to spare in our vacation, we finally spotted one! We arrived in Denver early, so we checked out Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR. The bison were on the other side of a fence, not great for pictures, but the prairie dogs were everywhere and so much fun to watch. We walked on one of the trails for about 20 minutes before it was time to head on to return the rental car. Back at the airport, we had time for a dinner at Mesa Verde in Terminal A (some of my favorite US airport food) before our late flight back home.

Next post will be my terrible attempt to "rate" our hikes...

Maryland
Level Contributor
1,189 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Hikes we did, long to short: (distances approximate...)

Stars (*) are my own ratings, certainly unfairly influenced by crowds, weather, fun critters, flowers, etc - things that will be different for everyone. I won't review them individually, but I'll do my best to answer questions about any of them.

*****Chesler Park/Joint Loop, Needles District, Canyonlands NP, 11 mi

****Devil's Garden Primitive Loop, Arches NP, 6 mi

***Dead Horse Point East/West Rim loop with a few overlooks, DH Point SP, 5.5 mi

****Wedding Canyon/Lower Monument Canyon Trail loop, CO National Monument, 5 mi

**Liberty Cap/Corkscrew Trail loop, CO National Monument, 3.3 mi

***Mill Creek North Fork (to second pool), Moab, 3 mi

***Delicate Arch, Arches NP, 3 mi

****False Kiva, Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands NP, 3 mi

****Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon, CO, 2.4 mi

***Aztec Butte and graneries, Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands NP, 2 mi

***Fiery Furnace, Arches NP, 2 mi

****Devil's Kitchen (and a bit beyond), CO National Monument, 2 mi

***Grandview Point, Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands NP, 2 mi

***Upheaval Dome 2nd overlook, Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands NP, 1.8 mi

**Serpent's Trail (part way), CO National Monument, 1 mi

****Windows section, primitive trail back, Arches NP, 1 mi

****Mesa Arch loop, Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands NP, 1/2 mi

****Shay Canyon, just outside Needles District, Canyonlands NP, 1/2 mi

****White Rim trail (part way), Island in the Sky District, Canyonlands NP, 1/2 mi

***Double Arch, Arches NP, 1/2 mi

****Sand Dune Arch, Arches NP, .4 mi

**Skyline Arch, Arches NP, .4 mi

Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
167 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Great trip report! Thanks for all the useful information. Makes my future trip planning to Moab much easier :)

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
4,284 posts
31 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Thanks for the TR. You really were able to sink your teeth into the area rather than rush through clicking a camera in a hurry to the next national park.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
346 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Fantastic thanks for sharing.

Boston...
Level Contributor
269 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Great trip report! Thanks for posting! We're going to Moab with our teen nephews for a week at the end of June and planning on doing a lot of hiking, so I really enjoyed reading about and seeing your ratings of the hikes you did.

You mentioned "petroglyphs at Shay Canyon" on your Needles day - I haven't heard of these before but it sounds very interesting (especially since I see you rated it 4 stars). Just wondering if you could give me some information on exactly where it's located/how to get there.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah
Level Contributor
15,827 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Great Report. I liked the rating of your hikes. It is helpful.

Aurora, Illinois
Level Contributor
259 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

This is great! I love the ratings!

You only gave Fiery Furnace 3 stars. With the demand for tickets, I thought this was a must do? We only have 3 days in the area so wondering if we should skip this?

Thanks!

PA
Level Contributor
1,154 posts
138 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

You got in a lot of good hikes! It is so true about the crowds & weather influencing one's impression &/or enjoyment of a hike. We just came back from an trip to Utah (early May) and often had UNcrowded trails. So pleasant to be in the quiet.

Maryland
Level Contributor
1,189 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Thanks for the comments, everyone - it was a great trip! Sorry for all the typos...

M44M - Shay Canyon is 1.9 miles past Newpaper Rock. As you're heading towards the park, there is a small pullout, big enough for about 2 cars, along the road. From the parking spaces you can see a small brown 'trail' sign just on the other side of the creek. There are stones to cross the creek, and you take a short hike up a dry wash, where there's another small 'trail' sign on the right, leading up a hill. The path splits taking you to one panel (look up a bit) that runs parallel to the creek, and one that takes you to a few more panels that are trail level that run perpendicular to the creek. There are a couple blogs about it here:

…blogspot.com/2008/11/shay-canyon-petroglyph…

…wordpress.com/2013/…

conniehar, Fiery Furnace is a neat place to see, it was just that the 23 other people and the 3+ hours to go just 2 miles became a bit tedious - lots of standing in line of sorts. I was actually hestitant to get the tickets because we're just not tour group people. Our ranger was sweet, but sort of preachy ('save the fairy shrimp'). That being said, we met nice people, saw amazing things. If you have tickets, yes- do it!

Aurora, Illinois
Level Contributor
259 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Trip report – Moab – lots of hiking

Thanks AL - we have tickets, but that was what I was afraid of. We are not tour group people either - especially my DH. We usually like to do our own thing but it sounded like one really needs to be in a tour group to do this hike. I will keep thinking about it - thanks!