One of the hardest things about traveling and trip planning is trying to squeeze in everything you want to do within a limited time frame. We only had one full day in Moab, so we decided to head to iconic Arches National Park to do some hiking. (This meant skipping Canyonlands, which we were super bummed about. Just a good excuse to come back!!). We did some planing with our trail maps and settled on plan to check out Delicate Arch and hike the Devil’s Garden loop, a longer and more secluded trail that would take us past 7 different arches.
Rule #1 of adventuring…. be flexible, expect plans to change, and just roll with it! On arrival to Arches we were met with the expected long line of cars waiting to enter the park (we aren’t morning people, so our start was later than we had hoped). We were also met with the unexpected announcement that due to some construction in the park there were some road and trail closures – including Devil’s Garden. So, Plan B in effect – Delicate Arch it was, and then just wing it by heading up the park road and stopping at whatever struck our fancy.
The hike out to delicate arch (from Wolf Ranch) isn’t long (it’s only 3 miles round trip), but it’s very exposed and HOT. Bring plenty of water and expect plenty of company – This is the arch that’s on all of the Utah license plates, so it’s popular. Don’t expect solitude, and don’t get grumpy when it’s not there. You’ve been warned. Don’t like crowds? Don’t go to popular sites. Otherwise, embrace it and enjoy yourself. Everyone else is.
Delicate arch is beautiful! And the view can’t be beat, looking out over snow capped mountains in the distance with the Arch rising in front of you. Nature is pretty damn amazing. (The AdventureSneaker.com cover photo is me at Delicate Arch!)
After Delicate Arch we continued up the park road and took the short hike (0.3 miles) in to see Sand Dune Arch. Easy trek and a neat arch (be prepared to be walking through some deep sand – you’ll make it out of this one pretty dusty).
After our (short, but deceivingly challenging!) hikes we were hot, dusty, and in search our next stop. After a little map consulting and some light googling – Eureka!! A swimming hole in Moab! Thanks to Outdoor Project we were on our way to the Mill Creek Swimming Hole. A mile trek down the trail led us to a swimming hole with a waterfall, complete with cliffs to jump off. The water isn’t super deep (most jumping from the cliff hit bottom and you had to aim for a very specific landing point) so this is definitely a swim/jump at your own risk. There was no way you were going to catch me up there jumping – but many were doing it. Just use caution and common sense. The swimming hole was just what we needed! A refreshing way to clean off and cool down after days of dusty, hot hiking. Perfect! From here we headed into Moab for some beers and grub. The logical stop was Moab Brewery and it did not disappoint.
After some cold beers, delicious nachos, and hysterical laughter recounting our adventures thus far we were happy and ready to head back to our campsite for some dinner, relaxing by the fire, and stargazing. Utah, you were splendid.
Up next? 2 days in Colorado… and our trip sadly comes to an end.