In this episode we’re taking you on a trip to two of Utah’s Mighty 5 National Parks – Arches and Canyonlands National Park. These two parks are close enough to see both on the same weekend trip. If you want to visit Arches and Canyonlands in one day that is certainly possible, but it’s better to spend one day in each and make this a weekend tip.
In this episode we share:
- Tips for visiting Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
- The best hikes in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks including the iconic Canyonland hikes Island in the Sky
- Scenic overlooks you have to see in in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
- The best airport to fly into to visit Arches and Canyonlands
- The driving route to take to explore these national parks
- Entrance fees to the parks
- Where to stay near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Weekend Trip – Episode Transcript
Hey travelers! Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. We’re going to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks,
4 (1m 2s):
Arches and Canyonlands. National Parks are two of Utah’s mighty five National Parks. They’re located in the south Eastern corner of the state. And although they technically do not touch, both are on opposite sides of the city of Moab. So if you’re going to do one, you got to do the other.
3 (1m 18s):
That’s so cool. I did not know that because I haven’t been to These two National Parks, U2 one, a nice couples trip there, and Xena and I did not go, but I saw your guys’ photos. They were so beautiful. The sunrise photo. I can’t wait to get to that part and hear all about that. That was gorgeous. And I have been to a couple of Utah’s National Parks. They’re all beautiful. Utah’s a beautiful state. So I can not wait to hear about this.
2 (1m 40s):
I know, you know, like Kim, I saw the pictures, they were super gorgeous and I can’t wait to hear more about it, but I do have to say that I constantly feel like you guys are going to Utah to a new national park. And so when I asked that one point and I know Jamal just said, there’s five, but at one point, you know, before I knew that there were five, I was asking you guys and Jamal said five. And I’m like, how is there only five? I swear to God every weekend you guys are flying to Utah.
1 (2m 4s):
I feel like we’ve flown to Utah at least three times this year.
3 (2m 7s):
Change of religion on the horizon.
4 (2m 10s):
No, not this year, Brittany, technically in 2020, we did
1 (2m 14s):
2 (2m 15s):
I just want to point out everyone that before we recorded this episode, Kim said that she’s going to be asking the hard hitting questions on this trip. Wow.
4 (2m 23s):
You already hit one hard
2 (2m 26s):
Hitting question, Kim. I’m proud of you.
4 (2m 28s):
I am there for the nature. And let me just say this Utah really is a beautiful state. Like we said, it does have five National Parks, Brittany and I have been to all of them. This one specifically is going to be about Arches and canyon lands. If you’ve ever seen a Utah state license plate, you’ve probably seen a iconic image of delicate arch, which is an Arches National Park. So I mean, that’s how iconic Arches is, is it’s literally on their license plate, but we’re going to get into Canyonlands. And lemme tell you something Canyonlands really shown for me.
3 (2m 59s):
I’ve heard you both raving about it. Well, let’s get into it. Start us off with some tips for visiting these two national parks.
1 (3m 6s):
So in these National Parks, whether is very important. It gets really hot in the summer. There’s pretty much no shade. So if you go in the summer, expect to be wearing shorts and t-shirt and have all of the sun protection that you need. And in winter it gets very cold below freezing, and there can even be some snow on the trail.
4 (3m 25s):
These National Parks are literally in Utah’s desert area. And like Brittany said, you know, during the summer, as we know, deserts are hot. Maybe a lot of people don’t know this, but during the winter deserts are freezing. So depending on what type of year you go, you have to pack and dress accordingly for that
3 (3m 42s):
Question. What month did you guys go in?
1 (3m 44s):
We went in November
3 (3m 46s):
And cold. Did you need big heavy jackets?
4 (3m 49s):
Absolutely. So when we were hiking our first day at Arches, we definitely needed pants and a jacket. As we were hiking, you are sun exposed. You are building up body warrant as you’re working out and doing those hikes. So we did have to shed some layers, but once you took it off, then the wind is blowing on your sweat and then you get cold. So it’s a constant back and forth, back and forth. So you want to have the layers, take them off, put them on back forth.
2 (4m 13s):
I haven’t got a hard hitting question for you.
4 (4m 15s):
Hit me with it. Did
2 (4m 16s):
You bring gloves?
4 (4m 17s):
I always bring gloves and I’m not you. I brought that
1 (4m 22s):
And beanie, because when we went to Canyonlands one morning, it was like 29 degrees outside. It was a little chilly.
4 (4m 29s):
Yeah. And when we went in November, like Brittany said, it was the tail end of November. So close into December,
1 (4m 35s):
We would also recommend renting an SUV because we flew into salt lake and to get from salt lake to Moab, we did hit patches of snow. And we actually did glide a little bit on the roads. We were really glad to have an SUV.
4 (4m 49s):
The SUV is very much needed. Realistically, when you fly into salt lake city and make the drive, it’s about four and a half, five hours to Arches and canyon lands. Right. Brittany, if I remember correctly, yeah. And you grow over a big mountain pass, so it’s snowy, you’re in the mountains. So you do need it for that. Then you get into the desert area and really don’t need it so much, but it is good to have.
1 (5m 12s):
And so, as Jamal said, you do drive over a mountain pass. And so you do need to download offline maps while you’re driving within the state of Utah. And also when you’re in the National Parks, because you won’t have service
3 (5m 24s):
When you had the SUV, did it have four wheel drive?
4 (5m 27s):
It did have four wheel drive. They gave us one with four wheel drive in on another trip that we went to another one of Utah’s National Parks, maybe two, three weeks later, which is maybe why wise is saying, she feels like we were always in Utah. They gave us an all wheel drive, which was sufficient because it had a button to put for the snow traction. But yes, you do want to have at least a four wheel drive at the very least all wheel and have the capability to have the snow traction on it, which I think a lot of newer cars that are all wheel do have that.
3 (5m 56s):
I have a question I’ve had to think about this before. When I went to Yosemite, do all, SUV’s have either four wheel drive or all wheel drive.
1 (6m 5s):
4 (6m 6s):
That’s actually a really good question. I believe the answer to that is yes.
3 (6m 9s):
A hundred percent guarantee. It we’ll have it
4 (6m 12s):
At least all wheel. I mean, if it’s a very small SUV, not a mid-size maybe not, maybe just, just a two wheel, but I would wager to say at least 90% of SUV’s, whether they be compact all the way to full or either all wheel or four wheel drive.
3 (6m 26s):
That is great to know because there is not a setting on car rental services for four wheel drive, which is terrible UX.
1 (6m 34s):
Yeah. And I feel like you have to rent the larger SUV is to get a guaranteed four wheel drive. For sure. So Jamal and I did take this trip on a weekend. We left on a Friday and
4 (6m 45s):
Full weekend or trip. We
1 (6m 46s):
Originally booked a flight that left after work, but with COVID and with the airlines not doing as many flights, we ended up not getting a nonstop flight. They changed it to a flight where we did have a Leo,
3 (6m 57s):
Oh my gosh, that’s terrible. I know I go to salt lake with a layover.
4 (7m 2s):
We laid over in Vegas, which sucked because it was a layer, but not too bad because we use my priority pass on my credit card and we got some lounge access and got some drinks and food. So can’t complain. But realistically taking four to five hours to get there when the flight could really be two hours. It sucks. Now
2 (7m 20s):
The hard hitting question for you, did you hit a, Pakistan
4 (7m 23s):
Did not hit a Pacas on in Vegas this time. We
1 (7m 25s):
Didn’t have time.
2 (7m 27s):
There’s always time for how.
3 (7m 29s):
Yeah. I agree with that. But in the lounge in Vegas, how is it different than it would have been BC before Kobe?
4 (7m 37s):
I figured a new obesity was when he said that back in the ancient days to
1 (7m 41s):
That’s a really good question, Kim. So in the old days, BC, you used to be able to go up to the food and serve yourself. And now they actually have pre portioned plates for you. And then you go up to a counter and you tell the person what you like. And they kind of have like a menu stand at the front, which tells you what they’re offering currently. Oh, okay. So you can’t get any of your own food or drinks.
4 (8m 5s):
Yeah. So not too bad, unfortunately, that really does limit the type of quality food that they do put out. But at the same time, free food, free drinks really can’t complain. And again, a nice isolated place to sit lounges these days. Aren’t very crowded also. So it’s a good opportunity to take off your mask for a little bit of reprieve and feel safe and comfortable too, with not all the masses around you.
1 (8m 26s):
So on Friday we probably only took off of work, maybe two hours early. So pretty much worked a 40 hour week. And we didn’t really use any vacation time to take this trip.
4 (8m 36s):
Yeah. So after our layover in Vegas and getting into salt lake, we landed what around 10 30, 11 o’clock at night. So yeah, because it’s an hour ahead in Utah from California time also. And then we just checked into our hotel in salt lake city, barely got any sleep. By the time we got into our hotel and checked, maybe it was close to midnight. We woke up at around five o’clock to get an early drive. So
3 (9m 2s):
It’s keeping you up all night.
4 (9m 4s):
They weren’t, they weren’t not that night. She didn’t have gas from the food and the lounge
3 (9m 10s):
Five hours of sleep. And then you guys woke up and hit the road.
4 (9m 14s):
And it was pretty intense because at least we had the SUV, which again, always comes in clutch if you’re driving in mountain areas, but we left out of salt lake. You can see up in the mountains, there was a little bit of snow, but then we went over this one specific pass and at one point, then you could really see, like they had the road signs that said chains are going to be required for four wheel drive. And we’re like, oh my gosh, what does this look like in here? And we had to drive really slow. Then there was a truck that was blocking the middle of the road because he had slid. And no one really knew, is this an accident or go around. So there was some slight delays, a little bit of sketch driving, but at the same time we made it through the mountain pass and hit the desert areas of Utah.
1 (9m 53s):
Yeah. So we did have to go on us. Highway six, Jamal was like, this is a crazy highway. So I looked it up and it was like, one of the U S is most dangerous highways and
4 (10m 1s):
Was one of the deadliest too.
1 (10m 4s):
Yeah. And I was like,
3 (10m 5s):
Oh, even on the edge. So at this point, are you feeling more scared or does it look beautiful with all the snow boots?
1 (10m 12s):
I mean like all of the trees have that snow dust on it. There’s just like a white layer outside, but at the same time, the roads look a little scary. They look icy and you can definitely feel the kind of slide.
4 (10m 24s):
Well, because it had just snowed that night. So it was fresh snow, their version of what we have in California, Caltrans, you know, that goes out into the roads, cleans it up, salts. It, they hadn’t really been out yet. So we were literally making our own tracks on the road, in the snow and it wasn’t cleaned out. So we were like, all right, well, when we come back from our trip, we were flying out, you know, on Sunday we said to ourselves, well, we have to drive and leave early that way in case there’s traffic or slow downs because of the snow. But luckily on the way back, they had already cleaned that stuff up. But going through, we were making the tracks in the snow, on the road.
2 (11m 0s):
When you were out on the scary highway, did you stop and think about Andy Kane? You know, that movie reference joyride with Paula
3 (11m 11s):
It sounded familiar to me.
4 (11m 12s):
I was going to say the candy man. Proud of it.
2 (11m 14s):
I’m proud of you do Kim. Oh my gosh. I would have been so funny if you said that in Jamal didn’t
4 (11m 19s):
I had no truckers chasing me on this one. So I wasn’t too concerned in that regard, but anyway, we made it through the past and then eventually I would say around 10 o’clock is when we got to Arches
1 (11m 30s):
11, we got to Arches. So
3 (11m 32s):
About four hours of driving.
1 (11m 34s):
Yeah. And just to keep in mind in the winter to get the most out of the day, you want to get into the park early because the sun is going to set early and Arches National Park is like Jamal said earlier, located in Eastern Southern Utah, near the Colorado border. And it’s known for its natural sandstone, arch formations. And there’s actually over 2000 Arches located within the park.
4 (11m 56s):
Yeah. And so, like I said earlier, they do have the license plate that has delicate arch, which is the most iconic arch in the park. And it’s literally sitting in the middle of nowhere, just literally a stone arch. That’s about 80 feet tall, obviously all the 2000 don’t look like that. Some of them are carved into the mountain side. Some of them have double arches in them aren’t necessarily as big, but they are very impressive to see and very unique in terms of geological formation.
3 (12m 24s):
Did you read or see anything about how they formed into Arches like that?
4 (12m 29s):
Yeah, they had signs about that throughout the park. And I did read up on it a little bit and I remember some, but not very descriptive on how I’m going to say it here, but pretty much what it is is all the wind and sand and dirt blows on it. And it just carves out the arch itself. So it’s a bunch of wind and sand erosion. And since there’s a lot of that in that area, that’s why there’s a lot of Arches.
3 (12m 54s):
Interesting. So it’s going to change with the years too, as the wind keeps coming.
1 (12m 59s):
And I think I also remember reading that when it rains or when there’s ice, it starts to crack layers open or off. And so that also contributes to the change in the sandstone nature
3 (13m 11s):
At its finest.
4 (13m 12s):
1 (13m 13s):
So like Jamal said, our first stop was delicate arch and delicate arch is the most famous sandstone arch in the entire world. And it’s freestanding at 52 feet high and there’s three different ways to view it. So number one is the way that we went, we started at Wolf ranch and it’s a three mile Trek, not a lot of elevation gain. And it took us about two hours to do. And on this trail to delicate arch, you also have the opportunity to see petroglyphs, which I know would really get Kim going. Cause she loves old ancient things. And it also has the ability to climb up a window arch. And while you’re in the window arch, you get views of delicate arch while you’re there.
4 (13m 55s):
Yeah. And when you get there, you really don’t see the arch until you make this little final crest over and then you can see it. And when you’re there, literally there’s almost this amphitheater field because it really kind of looks down. Then there’s the arch and everybody is, they’re trying to take the photo with it. I know we’ve talked before in previous podcast episodes find the right person to take your photo. You definitely need to do it here because I got somebody to take a photo for us after waiting in line. So when you want your photo do expect to wait in line, especially if you want it solo, but the person didn’t even get us under the arch with the full arch, they cut it off. And I’m thinking to myself, what are you doing? So I had to go back, look, tell him I want this frame.
4 (14m 35s):
Please get the whole thing in it. And he was successful, but don’t lose your spot in line squad tip. Don’t lose your spot in mind and realize then that the person took a terrible photo of you because you will have to wait a long time, about 10, 15 minutes
3 (14m 52s):
And adding onto your squad tip. There is frame the photo for your photographer before you hand your phone off and tell them exactly what you want. Because I had the same thing happened to me at the witches mansion in Salem, Massachusetts. And I took a beautiful picture of my friend. The whole house is in it. Everything passed it to the lady behind me so I can get in the picture and she cut off half the house. I
1 (15m 14s):
Was like, I hate that.
3 (15m 15s):
1 (15m 17s):
Don’t just take it to me. I’m like here in front of a historical
3 (15m 20s):
Thing, frame the photo for them. Yes.
4 (15m 22s):
And another squad tip Delicate arch is also a great place to watch the sunset and star gaze. And again, out in the desert, you know, there’s nothing else there for you. So if you are going to stargaze and watch sunset, you’re going to be making that hike at night. So do have some sort of light source, whether it be a flashlight headlamp, if you’ve want to feel brave and just use your phone, do keep that in mind. If you go out there, it’s going to be pitch black, but it’s a great, great place to watch the sunset.
1 (15m 52s):
And this is your only hike that will allow you to get very close and touch the arch. So that’s really important to you. Then this is the hike that you need to do.
3 (16m 1s):
How did it feel?
4 (16m 2s):
It felt great, hard and girthy.
2 (16m 5s):
I was going to ask you about the girl. There’s not a single episode that can go by that. We don’t talk about girl.
4 (16m 11s):
3 (16m 11s):
It delicate girl
4 (16m 14s):
1 (16m 16s):
So the viewpoint number two is the lower viewpoint. And this viewpoint does not allow you to touch the art. Like we had mentioned before. And this viewpoint is for people that can’t hike long distances because it’s only about a hundred yards from the parking lot. So this is good for all skill types
3 (16m 33s):
Can’t or don’t want to, because you’re 38, you’re over hiking now.
4 (16m 39s):
But like Brittany said, you can’t get to it here. You could only see it it’s called viewpoint for a reason. You really can only view it.
1 (16m 45s):
The third way to see delicate arch is to go to the upper view point. And so this is about half a mile round trip. And so you would continue past the lower viewpoint up to the upper viewpoint. And it said to be about moderate in elevation and difficulty.
3 (17m 0s):
Did you guys do all three?
4 (17m 2s):
We did not. We didn’t feel the need because everything else was a viewpoint and we were all up on it. Kim, I told you I was feeling its girth. Like why would the viewpoint do me any good at that point? I wanted to touch it. But for our listeners out there who don’t want to do the hike, don’t want to be out in the cold that long. Or if you go during the summer, out in the heat, the viewpoints are great places to go ahead and see it. Or
2 (17m 21s):
If you don’t want to touch it,
3 (17m 22s):
Yes. Who doesn’t want to touch it though? Let’s be honest.
4 (17m 25s):
That’s why we did it.
1 (17m 26s):
I would have too much FOMO. If I didn’t get to touch the art,
3 (17m 31s):
You see everyone else down there touching it, hands all over it. You want a piece of that action?
4 (17m 36s):
Absolutely. And I want my photo with it. That is for damn sure. I want to be under it. I mean, it’s on the Utah license plate. I didn’t want to say when I see Utah plates now I’ve been there, been under it. I
2 (17m 46s):
Mean, you can see yourself on a license plate now.
4 (17m 48s):
1 (17m 49s):
So from there we did a hike called the window loop and double arch. This hike is about two miles round trip and we’ve spent about two hours in the area and this area gives the most picturesque views in the park that give the park its name.
4 (18m 3s):
Yes. And I really loved this area of the park when we were here, you know, the window loop that they do have, it’s called a loop because you can see several different arch formations and they have different ways. You can go, you could go in a circle, you could do little spur offs and then connect back in and then go somewhere else within the window loop. But you do get to see lots of different formations of the arches there. And I really did enjoy it. The hike itself is not very bad. There are some steps up, but for the most part, it is very, very moderate. And I would even say less than that. So as long as you could hike a few stairs and not necessarily a very steep, you can do this with limited mobility, but it is definitely not accessible via wheelchair.
4 (18m 43s):
In that sense, you can see them from a distance, but you can’t get up on it.
1 (18m 47s):
So window loop offers three different Arches. It offers the north window arch. He can climb up under the arch stare at the stand stone arch above you. And then also it gives a great view into the desert landscape. There’s also another arch we went to on this path. It was called Torah arch. You can actually climb up onto it. And from there you can see north window arch from that arch. And then as you head back, you can see both north window arch and south window arch, which is the last arch on this loop. And it just so picturesque. So beautiful. We got lots of really good photos and it was just a nice, easy trail.
4 (19m 21s):
And as Brittany was describing that, I mean, we’re talking about a lot of Arches north window, south window can kind of be confusing, but rest assured when you are there, you know, you’d think, okay, well here’s a couple of them. They’re all gonna look the same, but they really don’t. Each one, as you’re viewing through it, one, the arches look different and two, they give different views out through it, to the beautiful landscape surrounding the park. So it is really breathtaking to see and very, very enjoyable.
1 (19m 46s):
And so you can go back to the parking lot, the same way you came in, or you can take the primitive loop trail back, which is what we did. And then we headed over to double arch and wow, double arch is so impressive.
4 (19m 59s):
So double arch is actually right by window loop and there is a parking lot in the middle. And on one side of the parking lot is window loop. The other side is double arch and double arch was absolutely amazing. Envision yourself walking into some sort of dome cathedral of a church, but it’s open with the two Arches. So you have about what was it, half a mile from the parking lot to that. Yeah, a little less. And then you get under the double Arches. And it’s just so impressive to see because it’s like I said, a cathedral dome almost, but with the double arch opening, and then you could see the sky from different sides. It’s very well shaded in there. We did climb up to sit into one of the Arches, very difficult to do, but we were able to do it.
4 (20m 42s):
And that was really cool.
3 (20m 43s):
It sounds really pretty. We’re going to put pictures of this trip up on our website, Travel Squad, Podcast dot com. So you can see some of these amazing shots. I’ve seen them on your Instagram and wow
4 (20m 55s):
Words just don’t do it. Justice. If I was good at describing things in sense of words, maybe I could put it into writing and I would be a world-class author. So yes, you are very correct. The photos are going to have to do the justice and do check it out.
1 (21m 8s):
I did read a tip. So squad tip, You can climb up in between double arch and you literally have to lay down on your back, but you lay down on your back and then you get a photo looking up to the sky and see both arches in your photo frame.
4 (21m 25s):
I had to lay down to get it. Otherwise you really can’t. So I did that tip that Brittany just mentioned right there. And she told me she had read it. And I was like, all right, I’m going to put the squat tip and action right
3 (21m 34s):
Now. And he got a great picture out of
4 (21m 35s):
It. I did at least what I felt like it was a great photo.
1 (21m 38s):
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1 (23m 3s):
So from there we headed over to balanced rock, and this is one of the most iconic features in the park.
3 (23m 10s):
Why is that?
4 (23m 10s):
Well, I guess you can tell from the name, it’s a balancing rock. So it has a very thin little, you know, Spire. So this is not an arch, but it is a thin Spire. And then at the top is just an oversized rock that is balancing on it. So it looks like it should tip over realistically at any moment, as you’re driving through the park, we actually pass this on our way to delicate arch, to double arch the windows loop. So we caught this as we were coming back and we made the stop. You can do the 0.3 mile loop around the entire rock, which you would need about 15, 30 minutes to do, but you could easily see it from the parking lot, get your fields, get your photos, Britney.
4 (23m 52s):
And I didn’t do the full loop. We walked like a quarter of the way to one side and then the other, it is quite impressive to see and just eat. I don’t want it to fall, but if I was there when it fell, I think that would be an interesting thing to see.
1 (24m 4s):
And it stands 120 feet tall. So it’s not like a short Spire. It’s a pretty tall Spire with the rock balancing on top of it.
4 (24m 12s):
Yeah. And that was pretty much Arches National Park. There are lots of other hiking trails that you can do, but for the most part, the hiking is relatively limited to just the trails and the viewpoints to see the more iconic Arches in the park. And so after that, we drove back to Moab, which again is the biggest city closest to Arches and Canyonlands. And we stayed overnight at the Lakita Inn and suites. And I actually enjoyed that a lot. There was a breakfast buffet, but by the time we had to wake up early in the morning to do the sunrise at canyon lands, we missed out on it. But rest assured, if you go and don’t want to see that sunrise, it was there for the taking
3 (24m 56s):
Darren what’d. You guys recommend staying there then for anyone listening.
1 (24m 60s):
Yeah, it was a nice hotel. Do you
3 (25m 1s):
Remember about the range of what it costs per night?
1 (25m 4s):
I want to see it probably cost about 125 per night, so it wasn’t very pricey, but Jamal and I did get this free because we did use our chase Sapphire rewards points from our travel credit card.
3 (25m 17s):
Wonderful. I think that’s episode 67 where we talk about travel credit cards and we go into the details of this one.
4 (25m 24s):
Yeah. It’s definitely a very good card and I would recommend staying there, but you know, the city of Moab is actually quite nice. I mean, it’s literally geared towards the economy of people visiting these National Parks. So it kind of has a nice rustic field. There was a barbecue joint in the parking lot of the Wyndham. So if you’re feeling a barbecue, that’s a good spot for it too. It was highly recommended as one of the places, but Kim, you would be so proud of us. You know what we did for dinner that night,
3 (25m 49s):
Tell me it was Thai food. We
4 (25m 50s):
Went to Thai food, we went to Thai food.
1 (25m 54s):
We got some drunken noodles and some, I think panning Curry.
3 (25m 58s):
Those are my two favorites.
1 (26m 0s):
And it was actually called Arches Thai
3 (26m 2s):
Wonderful. 10 out of 10 would recommend
4 (26m 4s):
10 out of 10 would recommend absolutely what was really nice. The spice wasn’t too bad because
3 (26m 11s):
4 (26m 11s):
Wasn’t, it wasn’t from level, but we made sure that it wasn’t, but I really did enjoy this. Thai restaurant was very unsuspecting when we got there, it looked like it was in somebody’s house. That’s what it looked like on the outside. But then you get on the inside and it’s a full blown restaurant obviously, but this was very highly recommended. We even asked the concierge or person at check-in at our hotel to recommend a few places to eat because we were undecided that barbecue joint was one of them. And Arches tie was definitely listed. We were looking at another type place ourself because it had better reviews, but our person at the hotel recommended Arches. And I don’t regret it. It was unlike a point less than the other Thai place, but this one was good
1 (26m 53s):
And it was so cold that day. We just wanted something to warm our souls and barbecue just didn’t feel like it would do that.
4 (26m 59s):
Warms your soul,
2 (27m 1s):
Barbecue. Wouldn’t warm your soul.
1 (27m 3s):
3 (27m 3s):
4 (27m 4s):
But not in the way that Curry does for that cold weather. Yeah. Yeah. But not in that way. Warms my soul, but not in a warmer body soul type way.
2 (27m 14s):
I think I just realized, can said baked beans. That’s why I missed it the first time. And then once I actually realized what you said, I was like, yeah, those are soul warming.
1 (27m 26s):
So the next day was Sunday. And I’m going to start you guys off with a squad tip. It was cold in the morning. It was like 28, 29 degrees
4 (27m 36s):
1 (27m 37s):
And we were right next to a gas station. So Jamal and I went to the gas station and we picked up a piping hot, hot chocolate before we started our drive to Canyonlands.
4 (27m 48s):
Yeah. So couple of things that I want to throw in right here, it was a Chevron if I’m not mistaken, but it was so early that we were going to catch the sunrise, which you mentioned earlier, that you’re excited for us to talk about Kim. That McDonald’s wasn’t even open, but because like I said, everybody in MOA realizes what their economy is geared around. This Chevron actually had packaged to go breakfast burritos that were moderately priced and pretty bomb. I mean, some people are sketched out about gas station food and to an extent, depending on what it is, you know, I would agree, but these were bomb. So we picked up that hot chocolate to warm our soul some more here in the morning.
4 (28m 27s):
And we also got those breakfast burritos, but the sun rise wasn’t even on our itinerary because we were supposed to fly back home on Monday. And now here we are on Sunday. But because like Brittany was saying earlier, they jacked up our flight going, they jacked up our flight coming back. And so we were like, okay, we might not have enough time to do the second thing. So what are we going to squeeze in? So we squeezed in that early morning, sunrise,
3 (28m 53s):
I have two things to say one about gas station food when you’re traveling and close to National Parks and in less like busy populated areas, the gas station food, actually, they have people that will make food. And so I would say those are higher quality gas station food than your average, like San Diego gas station. Absolutely.
1 (29m 12s):
There was actually even a deli inside the Chevron.
3 (29m 14s):
Yeah. And then second thing since COVID Southwest has been really crazy with their flight changes. Yeah.
4 (29m 22s):
Understandably, but we wrap them up. It’s unfortunate.
3 (29m 25s):
And it’s annoying though, because you’ll book a direct flight and then they’ll change it once and change it twice and change it three times. It said a completely different time. It has like a stop or two stops in it. When you booked a drag, it’s just a little frustrating. And I, I know that we have tried calling them once to switch to a different flight because of all the changes they were really accommodating with that. So we’ll give them that. But COVID and their flight changes, man.
1 (29m 47s):
Yeah. So we were supposed to originally fly home Monday morning and get in before work. And then they changed our flight to be Monday at like 1:00 PM. And I was like, that’s not gonna work. So we had to take the last flight on Sunday and then they even changed that. So we were like at first we were even debating, are we going to even be able to get what we want to do out of this trip? Should we just focus on one national park? And then we just sucked it up and we’re like, no, we’re going to do both. We’re going to power through.
4 (30m 13s):
I told Brittany, I said, if we’re there, I, I, not that I wouldn’t want to come back, but I don’t want to come back that quick. If I was just like right there. And the other park is like 25 miles away. It’s like, I have to do it. We’re there. We got to do both.
3 (30m 25s):
That’s quite a change from your, your stance on a sunrise view from the Philippines.
4 (30m 32s):
If we remember in the Philippines, I was just coming off an upper respiratory infection and I was on my death bed pretty much. But this one here, you know, I’m actually glad that they changed the Southwest because the sunrise wasn’t even on our radar. And this was probably the highlight of the trip for me. I enjoyed this the most out of anything
1 (30m 52s):
From Moab to Canyonlands National park, it takes about an hour to get there because the roads are pretty windy. We went to the park section called island in the sky. And so it is a lot of windy roads to get to this plateau in the sky that overlooks Canyonlands National Parks.
4 (31m 8s):
Yeah. Cause they have the island in the sky. Then they have a section of the park called the needles and the Mays and canyon lands here, all these canyons, if you can’t tell what it is. I mean, you’re just seeing vast, vast canyons in the desert. Canyonlands is carved by the Colorado river. So we know the Colorado river carves, the grand canyon and everybody loves the grand canyon. But let me tell you something and having been to the grand canyon now, having been to Canyonlands, I find canyon lands to be so much more impressive in terms of its vastness, its scale. It’s really, really beautiful. So the island and the sky is obviously on the upper rim area needles and everything else is going to be lower canyon, which we didn’t venture into.
2 (31m 51s):
Can we just take a moment to shout out the Colorado river as an MVP for what it is given America and its contribution
3 (32m 1s):
4 (32m 2s):
And Vegas wouldn’t be there without it because it’s a hydroelectric power dam. Otherwise there’d be no water or electricity in Vegas. So shout out for its economic value and scenic beauty for now
3 (32m 14s):
Down here in San Diego, we even get some of our water from the Colorado river, shout out MVP.
1 (32m 23s):
So the first thing that we did was Mesa arch loop trail, which is where we did watch sunrise and the trails, not long at all. It’s only 0.7 of a mile round trip, but this is the iconic arch in Canyonlands National park.
4 (32m 37s):
So even in Canyonlands, again, we’re so close, it’s famous for the canyons, but even here they do have the arches, just like a Arches National Park, which is its neighbor sistering national park. Yeah. And so the Mesa arch isn’t very tall or wide like delicate arch or some of the bigger ones in Arches, but this one you can walk up to it. And the arch just is situated as a frame to look out into the canyon and it perfectly is looking east. So you’re able to watch the sunrise come up through this little narrow arch, overcoming the canyon. You could see the light starting to filter on it. And it was just incredibly beautiful, but there are lots of people there. So if you want the position to watch it through the arch, you need to get there even more early to get your spot
3 (33m 20s):
An hour before the sun pops up or you think that’s a little too much.
4 (33m 24s):
No, I don’t actually an hour 45 minutes. We were there about 30 minutes beforehand. And there were so many obviously hikers like us and people who just wanted to experience it. But there were so many professional photographers there. They had their tripod set up, they have it perfectly angled. They’ve been there before they know what’s going on and they’re filming it. Yeah.
1 (33m 45s):
So although we didn’t have a spot directly in front, there were areas to sit on the side and Jamal and I just sat back, enjoyed our hot chocolate and watched the sunrise and just the glow on the rocks from the sun is so amazing. All of the rocks, glow and orange hue, I took some video and they’re unedited and it’s amazing how beautiful and how orange and how much it glows.
3 (34m 10s):
I was going to say a time-lapse video would probably be so beautiful of this.
1 (34m 14s):
Oh yeah, definitely.
4 (34m 15s):
Yeah. We were able to get good photos. I forgot to mention again, the arch isn’t very high, but it sits at the edge of a vertical 500 foot cliff is like straight into the canyon. So when you’re there, you’re literally on the edge of the cliff looking at this arch and through it. And when we were there, like I said, people were taking photos of the sunrise, but we did catch some people who were actually doing photo shoots of girls in dresses, which I don’t know how they were doing that. It was like 19 to 20 degrees in the morning before it started to warm up. And these girls were not layered in anything. Everybody was all bundled up and here
3 (34m 47s):
4 (34m 48s):
They were like white sun dresses.
3 (34m 50s):
Oh, okay. Yeah, because I have heard of some services. Like you see this a lot in pictures of Greece where the women have these crazy, huge stresses and they’re blowing in the wind. It’s like a beautiful, crazy red dress. And they’re on the Greek, like white and blue background. So I was wondering if it might be that, but doesn’t talk there that,
4 (35m 6s):
Oh no. They were aware like sun dresses with like brimmed hats that you would find at the Kentucky Derby or something like that. They really good photos. I ended up talking to the photographer who was doing it because we wanted to get shots from that side, but shout out to them because it was cold out there. We were all like huddling up like, oh my God, how are these people there? Because it was cold. You want those gloves Ana.
1 (35m 27s):
Yeah. So after we finished Mesa arch, we went to the grand view over point hike. And this was another two mile hike that we did. It took us about an hour and a half, but it has one of the best canyon views in the entire island in the sky district. And so this route’s really short and sweet, but it’s also really thrilling because it does take you to the Canyon’s edge as well.
4 (35m 50s):
Yeah. And where you’re hiking along the Canyon’s edge, you can see to the left, you can see to the right. So this is almost forming like a little peninsula out. So it’s not like you’re just on one side, you see one side, you see opposing sides of the canyon. And even though it is two miles, there’s only about 173 feet in elevation gain. So this is a relatively flat trail, real easy to do. If you can actually hike out there on the rocks, I wouldn’t even really call it a hike. It’s more so definitely a trail. And I would say that this is also one of the longest hikes that you can do within the park in terms of the area where we’re at and the island and the sky, otherwise, everything within Canyonlands here is pretty much overlooks.
4 (36m 34s):
And I didn’t get tired of looking at any of the different overlooks that we went to because each view of the canyon is more impressive than the last.
3 (36m 40s):
So someone that doesn’t feel like hiking could totally go to this park and enjoy the views and the scenery.
4 (36m 46s):
3 (36m 47s):
Cool. I’m there,
4 (36m 50s):
That’s Kim over 30.
3 (36m 52s):
What other overlooks did you guys do while you were there?
1 (36m 55s):
So we also went to the green river overlook, but before we get into it, I do want to say we do have a previous episode that we did called no hike, National Parks. And so we do highlight Canyonlands heavily in it. So do check out that episode, if you haven’t already and for future episodes, please be sure to subscribe to the podcast. So you get all of the episodes when they come out. So to get back to your question, Kim, we went to the green river overlook and it’s just another overlook that offers really beautiful canyon views of the green river that twists its way through the park. And it’s near a parking lot and it is accessible.
4 (37m 29s):
Yeah. And then there’s the Schaefer canyon viewpoint trail. It’s only 0.2 miles round trip. So not even a quarter of a mile. And here you can walk out to the edge of the island in the sky area. And then you’re standing about 1400 feet above the base of the canyon. So really, really high up,
3 (37m 46s):
Wow, that looks really pretty. I’m looking at a picture of it right now. Kind of reminds me of Xi’an a little bit like the switchback area of the Angel’s landing trail,
1 (37m 54s):
But in Zion, the switchbacks are where people can hike. And in Canyonlands, the switchbacks that you see is actually a road that descends from the top into the canyon. And it was actually a historic path. He used by native Americans to access the Colorado river and by ranchers, who would use it to move livestock.
3 (38m 14s):
4 (38m 15s):
Look at Britney, coming out with the facts over
1 (38m 18s):
Time, the new historian of the group. And so now it’s used for Scenic driving and mountain biking.
3 (38m 24s):
Cool. Was that everything that you saw in canyon lands? Just that one day?
4 (38m 28s):
Yeah, just in that one day. I mean, we got there really early for the sunrise. Then we did the actual two mile hike and then again, everything else was really viewpoints. The park is large, but the island in the sky area is not because you’re only at certain points up on the plateau of the Mesa to really get those overlooks. So unless you’re going to go into the other districts, maybe you could spend more time there and I forgot what it was called. Maybe Brittany remembers the name, but there is a road that’s unpaved, but it’s a hundred miles. I’ll take you from the top and through all the districts throughout the park and down into the canyon as well. And I really want to go back there and do that one of these days.
4 (39m 10s):
I think that would really be awesome. They even recommend that people could go out there and camp because even though it’s a hundred miles, they say you should take two, three days to do it. I don’t see how that’s tracked tickle, but I haven’t read too much into it. But
3 (39m 21s):
Maybe because there’s so many places to stop and look.
4 (39m 24s):
Yeah, I think so because we were able to see the road and actually saw some people driving on it, lower into the canyon, but at the same time, I think to myself, okay. A hundred miles. Yeah. I would stop, but I don’t know if I’d literally spent two, three days driving a hundred miles.
3 (39m 38s):
Yeah. Maybe there’s like a lot of cool hikes you can do and you want to stop, go for a hike and make a whole trip out of it.
1 (39m 44s):
Yeah. I would definitely go back in and explore where more of the park, I want to say the part of the park called the maze. They don’t even recommend you go into, unless you’re really good at like navigating because there’s no true roads. You have no cell service. And so it’s like really desolate and in the true desert wilderness,
4 (40m 3s):
You really need to be like a backpacker back country person to know that area of the park though. Otherwise they say, you shouldn’t go in, like Brittany was saying, wow.
3 (40m 11s):
So in this one day, about how many hours would you say you spent in canyon lands?
1 (40m 16s):
I’d say probably like five to six hours.
3 (40m 19s):
Five to six. And I know there’s a couple of things that you wanted to do that you couldn’t do. So if you were doing this trip all over again, you had more time. How much more time would you say you could’ve used?
1 (40m 27s):
We could probably use another anywhere from like two and a half to three and a half hours.
4 (40m 32s):
I was going to say another day, cause I want to do that a hundred mile road. But yeah, in terms of that, there was one other thing too. I think there was some sort of native American Adobe structure carved into the mountain. Maybe it would got you going Kim, as we know it does, but I think that was on our itinerary to do, and we didn’t do it because again, we had to get back in the evening for that evening flight home. But at the same time again, sunrise came out of that and that was really, really enjoyable. And the highlight of it, I mean, honestly words can not begin to describe the way the colors looked on the canyon as the sun was rising and through the arch as your own picture frame through it just absolutely breathtaking.
4 (41m 13s):
And even if I didn’t see the sunrise, I would say Canyonlands is better than grand canyon. Just throwing that out there. It’s a bold statement and I’m saying it.
1 (41m 22s):
So if you just want the highlights of Canyonlands National park, you can do it in a day, but it’s a park that you can spend a whole weekend and, and just like get lost, exploring and having a really good time. Cool.
4 (41m 33s):
And I would say Canyonlands was more enjoyable to me than Arches. I thought going into Arches because it is so iconic of Utah’s mighty five, that that was going to be more enjoyable to me, but I enjoyed canyon lands a lot more.
3 (41m 44s):
That’s wonderful. And for this trip, you guys flew back on a Sunday and made it back for work in time on Monday, right?
4 (41m 51s):
Utah’s transportation system or workers or whatever you want to call them. They did a good job clearing those roads. So we had no snow issues on the way back. So it only took about four hours to get back or about, you know, 254 miles from Canyonlands to salt lake city airport.
3 (42m 7s):
Fantastic. Well, I know we have some burning hot questions from our listeners, not just from me. So it is my favorite time of the week
4 (42m 18s):
Or the week.
3 (42m 19s):
Ooh, Our first audience listener question comes from Lenny, from Oklahoma and Lenny is asking which park do you prefer Arches or canyon?
4 (42m 34s):
You know, I wouldn’t have said what I said a couple seconds ago. If I knew this question was upcoming, but I answered the question already. I’ll say it again. Canyon lands, very underrated of Utah’s five. Now that I’ve been to all five, I can say that very underrated.
1 (42m 49s):
I would have to agree with Jamal. And my answer is based on watching sunrise at Mesa arch, it was such a beautiful view. The orange just glowing, everywhere, and just illuminating the canyon. Definitely top sunrise I’ve been to.
2 (43m 4s):
And I wasn’t there, but I would still like to give a shout out to all the girth bear. And
4 (43m 10s):
There’s some girth going across that canyon. Let me tell you,
3 (43m 13s):
I was going to say follow up question. What was better? The sunrise at canyon lands or being all up in the girth on the delicate arch,
4 (43m 23s):
1 (43m 24s):
4 (43m 26s):
You know, I’m not a girth person, you know, I, I make jokes. I know that’s your lady’s thing.
3 (43m 32s):
Give yourself more credit. All right. We have a couple of other questions. Some of these came in anonymously. And so one of them that I’m also really interested in. Can you do the, all of the mighty five Utah national parks in one trip? And how long would that take you?
1 (43m 47s):
I absolutely think you can. We are actually working on an itinerary to outline for you guys. How did you all five in one trip and it would take about 10 days. And so there’s kind of two options. You can either fly into salt lake and work your way from east to west or fly into Las Vegas and work your way west to east.
4 (44m 6s):
Yeah, because Las Vegas is not too far from Zion national park, which is the Southern most in the Western portion of the state of Utah. So there are multiple options on that. And I would say about 10 days, two days, each part and you know, half a day in one, one allowing driving time too. So it’s definitely doable. And as a matter of fact, we were all planning that as a back-up trip for our many backups during the COVID year of 2020, when we didn’t think anything was going to happen. So that was even one we were planning on doing.
3 (44m 40s):
We were thinking about doing it in an RV. If I remember correctly,
4 (44m 44s):
It would have been bad-ass
3 (44m 45s):
Oh, I can’t wait for the RV trip going to be amazing. Our listeners usually always ask this question and we try to cover it as much as possible, but one of our listeners wanted to know how much total did this trip cost from flights, hotel, the car food miscellaneous.
1 (45m 1s):
That’s a loaded question. So like I mentioned earlier, our hotel was free. So we did not pay anything for it because we redeemed rewards through our travel credit card.
3 (45m 11s):
1 (45m 11s):
3 (45m 12s):
Not even taxes,
1 (45m 13s):
Everything was paid for.
3 (45m 14s):
1 (45m 16s):
We did not pay any perk fees because we used our America, the beautiful inter agency access pass. So we had already paid for that back in March. So park insurance was free for
3 (45m 26s):
Us originally costs.
1 (45m 28s):
So the park pass for a full year is only $80. And you can get into any national park that charges fees,
4 (45m 35s):
Otherwise each of those park arches and canyon lands are about $30 each for about what is it? Five days in the park or seven days in the park. And most National Parks that charge admission. That’s usually the going rate is about 30, depending on other parks. I’ve seen some National Parks as low as 15, 20, some even a little bit higher than 30, depending on if they’re a really popular national park. So the national park pass is definitely clutch and a good thing to have if you’re going to be going to multiple throughout the year.
3 (46m 7s):
Yeah. It sounds like a great deal. If you’re going to hit at least three parks or go to one, three times, it pays for itself. So it’s a great idea. And it, I think if you have the past, you’re encouraged more to use it. So it forces you a little bit to get yourself out of the house.
4 (46m 21s):
Absolutely. And you know, we do go places and different states to use it, but we are very fortunate being here in California, having the most National Parks of any states. So again, exploring our own backyard and we can make use out of it, even if we didn’t go anywhere. But to answer your question more specifically, the amount that we paid with our flights gas rental car food was about $567 for the entire weekend. But do keep in mind, we didn’t pay for our hotel. We didn’t pay for our park fees. So those will add up a little bit, but definitely affordable. And that sense of things to do,
3 (46m 54s):
Especially that number 5 67 is for two people, two people. So it’s just about 2 50, 300 for a weekend trip. And you guys did a lot in that trip.
1 (47m 3s):
3 (47m 4s):
Nice. I love that you guys are fucking them hard and getting free flights and hotels.
1 (47m 10s):
And you know, we did pay for breakfast on a, when we were there and we could have had that breakfast Boothbay just saying,
3 (47m 17s):
Damn, you guys should have went and saw the sunrise and then ran back real quick for breakfast.
4 (47m 22s):
Believe me, it was talked about, we were talking about, are we able to make it back by the time breakfast ends at 10? And that didn’t happen?
3 (47m 30s):
Well, thank you guys for sharing this. This was so interesting to me. I can’t wait to take this trip. I’m so glad that we have it all in our notes. So I can just click, click and book the exact same trip. And I hope that everyone listening is inspired to go see that sunrise too. So it sounds like it was pretty magical. It was all right, everyone. That’s all we have for you this week. Thank you so much for tuning in. Please keep the adventures going with us by following us on Instagram and YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast. We now have the Travel Squad Podcast. Hashtag if you tag your photos with that, we will share them on our profile and please send us in those questions.
2 (48m 4s):
And if you found the information in this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please make sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too.
4 (48m 11s):
And as always guys, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,
1 (48m 18s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.