North WindowThis has been one of our 'Bucket List' items ever since we began planning our retirement. The vast open spaces and beauty of Southern Utah can only be believed by visiting. Arches, slot canyons, stacks, and hoodoos. These are some of the terms we would come to know. The best possible online resource for any of the parks in Southern Utah is http://www.visitutah.com/places-to-go/most-visited-parks
Arches NP is 269 miles SE from Odgen near the town of Moab, a full days drive via Interstate 15 and US 6. I do have to say that Utah has some of the finest highways I have seen cross country. US 6 is no exception. This time of year all of the campgrounds in Utah's National Parks are first come first serve and as such we set up camp in Devils Garden CG.
This is the only campground in Arches NP and is 18 miles from the entrance. The park itself is beautiful, but there are several things worth mentioning for campers. First, the campsites are pretty small, no matter what their website says. We tried several on for size unsuccessfully before finding one that we could into. Of course, our RV is 34', but any RV 30' and larger may be a bit challenged. Second, be prepared to haul water in your RV. There is no water spigot available except for the one on the shallow sink in front of the bathrooms for washing dishes. We ran the travel relay with two 6 gallons jugs back and forth for several days and alternating our shower days to make it work. The campground itself is nestled at the top of a high summit with spectacular views around. Pets are permitted within the campground, but NOT allowed on the trails. The camp host is very friendly and helpful, he brings $5 bundles of firewood around each evening for anyone who wants them. Cost per day for this campground is $25, $12.50 if you have the Golden Access or Interagency Pass. RV parks in nearby Moab are much higher.
There are nearly 2000 arches within the park. We visited all those we could either drive to or hike a reasonable distance. We took nearly several hundred pictures. The ecology and science of what transpired to result in this environment staggers the imagination. I would recommend the Visitor
Center Tour. There isn't much else I can say except to enjoy just a few of these photos of some spectacular scenery.
Hoodoos & Arches
North Window Arch
The Three Gossips
Since retirement we cherish our holidays more than ever and this Thanksgiving was no exception. We AusSpit our Cook's Ham over the fire pit with some Baked Sweet Potatoes, Steamed Asparagus, and Pecan Pie for desert! We tried a new glaze on the ham today: Boar's Head Brown Sugar & Spice. It is delicious!
We spent 6 wonderful days exploring Arches NP and although we didn't see everything we enjoyed mild weather, ate well, and had a blast. Always good to reaffirm your faith in Mother Nature. There is something here for everyone. Hiking, mountain biking, off road adventures, and of course the most beautiful scenery you can imagine. The nearby town of Moab is only 5 miles south and has everything you will need except a Wal Mart. There are hotels, RV parks, restaurants, fast food joints, every adventure tour and rental imaginable, decent prices on gas, grocery stores, propane, and several places to do laundry. We wholeheartedly recommend this park to anyone; your adventure awaits.
NOTE: We had 2" of fresh snow the night before our departure from Arches NP. It was really pretty and provided a peaceful feel to the area. Mother Nature does have a habit of having things all her own way sometimes. We have been keeping an eye on the weather at Bryce Canyon NP this week. Unfortunately the canyon sits at 8000'-9000' and they have a reputation for some pretty heavy snowfall. It is known as a Mecca for Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing in the winter. This latest storm not only provided them with lots of new snowfall, the forecast temps for the coming week were for only in the lower 20s for highs and down to the single digits at night including some forecast nights below zero! We really have no desire to tough out such brutally cold weather especially at night in the RV....we decided to forego our stop at Bryce Canyon this trip and will catch it perhaps next trip in the spring or summer. We will now move on to Zion NP and the St. George area next.