9 In North America & Canada

A Photo Itinerary of The Wild Wonders Of Moab, Utah: Arches & Canyonlands National Park and Deadhorse State Park

Dead Horse State Park Sunset, Moab, Utah, USA

“What is the # 1 regret people have on their death beds?
– They wish they’d had the courage to live a life true to themselves, not the life others expected of them.”

On 1 April, 2017 (and this was no April fool’s joke!), Sasha and I packed our bags into our Honda Accord and set out for our six-month world travel adventure. This was the start of something extraordinary, I could feel it.

We had ten days to get ourselves from Seattle, Washington to Boulder, Colorado, where we would catch our first flight to Ecuador where we began our journey abroad in South America. The road was ours as we set out, bright-eyed and free, headed for everywhere.

We drove 8 hours from Seattle to Boise, where we stayed overnight and continued on to Salt Lake City, Utah the following day.

Naturally, our first stop was at Salt Lake City’s most popular Mexican restaurant, The Red Iguana. It did not disappoint.

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We completed our day driving 4 more hours from Salt Lake City to Moab, Utah where we had planned on staying only two days but ended staying five. We stayed at the Lazy Lizard Hostel which is the cheapest accommodation at $38 per night for a private room, located just outside the main outskirts of downtown Moab. All common areas including showers and restrooms are shared. The beds were not particularly comfortable, but everything else was what you would expect for such an inexpensive price.

We immediately fell in love with the adventurous vibe of Moab, with its sweeping red rocks and 360-degree canyon views with La Sals (12,000’ snow-capped mountain range) just 30 miles away in the distance. This is an adventure town. There are more air streams, vans and trailers than normal cars, and campers, hikers, climbers and bikers abound.

Below I will share an itinerary via photos, day-by-day of things to do in Moab, Utah.

DAY 1: Arches National Park

This was the only cloudy day we had in the five days we spent here. Because we visited during early April, it wasn’t quite yet busy season so we had many of the trails to ourselves. (Click on each picture to enlarge it)

After a full day of exploring at relatively high elevations (Arches is just over 4,000′ (1,333 meters) above sea level), we were starving! Our first dinner was at Arches Thai downtown. We ordered the Tom Kha soup (coconut and lemongrass-based, which, keep in mind, is a natural diuretic) ;-), green curry with chicken, and pad thai with tofu.

DAY 2: Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands is just a 30-minute drive from downtown Moab, and you’ll want to be sure you fill up on gas in Moab before heading out. Bring plenty of water and lots of snacks for a full day of hiking and exploration. The views were otherworldly and too spectacularly monumental for words. So allow me to show you in photos. 🙂

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The Island in the Sky was truly spectacular…it looks like Godzilla (with three toes) took a giant step into the Earth over 1,000 meters deep

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Otherworldly landscape

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Stunning tower.

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Such arid desert landscape

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La Sals Mountains in the background

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We must have been lizards or cats in a previous life…we are such sun babies!

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I loved the textures of these two formations juxtaposed.

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Sasha in a Tree part 3

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Cradling the moon

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Whale Rock…a very fun hike!

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The moon and airplanes

Having spent the last 13 years of my life in Hawaii and Seattle (two places with incredible cuisine but lacking good Mexican food!), we ate Mexican food nearly every day! Dinner for this evening was at El Charro Loco.

DAY 3: Bike tour through slick rock and Bar M, Moab

We did a tour through Escape Adventures, operated out of Moab Cyclery downtown. They were super responsive and got us on a last-minute tour which we had all to ourselves since nobody else signed up for that time slot! Our awesome guide was Ryan, a fellow adventure traveler and van life advocate. The bikes they use are Specialized top-of-the-line mountain bikes with awesome shock and suspension. This was one of the coolest things Sash and I have ever done!

After 2.5 hours of biking, we were exhausted so we took a break at the Grand County Public Library to catch up on emails and correspondence since there is no reception anywhere outside of downtown Moab. The library is a beautiful and clean building with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor courtyard in the sunshine. It has free 5G internet, which is where we got all our work done.

After a snack at Love Muffin Café, we headed out to Deadhorse State Park (at the same entrance of Canyonlands, about a half-hour drive away). This State Park is not part of the National Park system, so the annual pass is not accepted here. The fee is $15 per vehicle (up to 8 people) and it was well worth it! We did the 5-mile rim trail and got to Deadhorse Point lookout right in time for sunset (7:45 PM in early April). The rim trail was spectacular and felt as if we were on a deserted planet.

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Sasha in a Tree part 4

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Pretty much one of our life mottos.

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Well, Utah, that’s a wrap. You provided us with endless amounts of sunshine and friendly people, wowed us with your natural wonders and vast wild untouched beauty. You lured us in so much that we decided to stay five days instead of two. Thank you for being the best backdrop for incredible photos, and thank you for the memories. You will forever be etched in our hearts as our very first stop on our world travel adventure. We will absolutely return to you someday soon. The journey continues…

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Nikki Lev
    April 6, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Wow, these photos are gorgeous. I was smiling the whole way through them. Miss you guys.

  • Reply
    ronald wong
    April 6, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Lis, A great adventure!  Am happy that you have a partner to share your interests. Am leaving today for Korea.  I first arrived there in April 1951 so it’s almost 66 years ago to the day. 

    Am surprised that you have great weather because 66 years ago when traveling from New Jersey to Northern California where I was to embark on a ship to Korea, I took the Northern route and ran into snow and ice.  It was somewhere along that route that I skidded on ice and totaled my car.  Fortunate to have survived that crash, and at the same time got rid of the car as insurance paid off the balance owed. Don’t take unnecessary chances which is something we do when we are young. We think that we are invincible.  The pictures of you climbing between two rocks looked scary as did that handstand. Love,  gd

  • Reply
    Allison
    April 7, 2017 at 5:10 am

    Looks amazing – incredible landscapes!

  • Reply
    Ryan
    April 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    You did a good job at covering Moab’s highlights in a short time. 80/20 right?!

  • Reply
    Julie Burton-Ray
    April 11, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    So glad you enjoyed your time in Utah! I knew you’d love the Moab area and all is has to offer! Love all the great photos! Travel safe and have fun!!

    • Reply
      contoursofatravelersmap
      April 12, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks Julie! And thank you so much for your recommendation to visit Dead Horse State Park! I’m not sure we would have gone otherwise. It was the highlight for me, for sure!

  • Reply
    Carolyn B
    May 1, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Stunning photos and such fantastic memories. Looking great Mr. R! I’m so happy for you breaking free of Boeing – this life suits you!

  • Reply
    Top Highlights of our Six-Month Journey Abroad – Contours of a Traveler's Map
    September 19, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    […] ARCHES & CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, AND DEADHORSE STATE PARK, UTAH – read the full blog post here […]

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