I love getting in weekend hiking trips. Last weekend we got to combine driving cross state to pick up lavender plants to expand our lavender fields with enjoying the scenery of Eastern Utah. Moab is about a 6 hour drive for us.
Dead Horse Point State Park
Our Friday stop was at Dead Horse Point State Park. This park features a beautiful canyon with an overlook of a bend in the Colorado River. I realize that sometimes this spot is mistaken for a similar view of the Colorado River near Page Arizona called Horseshoe Bend, which I’m sure is also beautiful. Because it gets hot there in the summer, apparently spring is a busy time there and it was crowded. An easy hike along the rim took us away from crowds to Shafer Canyon Overlook. There were amazing views looking east showing canyon walls in the foreground and the La Sal Mountains in Colorado in the background. To the South and West we were looking into Canyonlands National Park.
We’d hoped to be treated to a beautiful sunset, but it had been storming on and off so that the clouds made that impossible. There is no other place you can get seats for dinner so spectacular so we were glad to have brought dinner food with us.
Arches National Park
Arches National Park was our destination the following day. A friend had recommended hiking Devil’s Garden. To avoid the crowds there we chose the ‘primitive trail’. Initially we thought this was a joke to keep people away as the trail was wide and well kept. But after leaving the main trail to view Private Arch we were unable to find our way back to the main trail and unfortunately spent several hours roaming around. When we finally decided to retrace our steps and go back the way we came rather than do the loop, we met other lost hikers and together were able to get back on the main loop. I was glad as that allowed us to see dark arch and double O arch. This trail goes over many boulders so following cairns is important.
Having added several miles to our hike we didn’t stop at many other views in the Park but rather headed to Moab Brewery. This seems to be a main tourist stop as it was crowded and loud; not a great place to relax and decompress.
Sunday morning we got up and had coffee and breakfast at a great cafe and then headed to Grandstaff Canyon. Previously called Negro Bill Canyon, we had done this hike several times years ago when we had two boys in tow. Fond memories of the hike were of the boys soaking their feet in the stream trying to avoid the crawdads. This is a beautiful canyon that follows a stream so the landscape continuously changes from riparian to desert. At the end of the canyon is Morning Glory Bridge, a spectacular arch and a great place to sit for awhile.
After the hike we headed out of town, driving along the Colorado River. The views here along highway 128 are amazing with tall red canyon walls along the river.
We stopped in Palisade at Sage Creations Farm to pick up lavender plants to add to our farm and continued the drive home. Unfortunately, an unexpected snow storm hit the mountains on our drive. We were forced to spend another night on the road.