It was time to leave Bryce Canyon. On a last minute whim we decided to take the scenic route and check out Capitol Reef National Park.
We ventured out on a brief hike to take in a view of the park. This park is a geologic monocline, which is a “wrinkle” on the surface of the earth. This “wrinkle” extends 100 miles!
It was pretty hot so we decided to have a picnic lunch. Our picnic area was exactly what we needed. There was lots of shade and open grass area.
The scenery was stunning.
It was a welcome respite from the heat of the afternoon. We continued our drive through Capitol Reef with a short stop at the petroglyphs.
After a quick viewing, we continued the drive to Arches National Park in the city of Moab. Our first stop was our hotel and we enjoyed a quick swim in our hotel pool for a view of our first “arch”.
Then we thought we would head to the actual park that evening. The rangers were not at the gates anymore, but the park remains open to the public for 24 hours a day.
On our way to Double Arch, we stopped at Balancing Rock and attempted to push it over.
After a bit of fun there, we enjoyed the ENORMOUS Double Arch. The hike was a short one and well worth the experience.
It was nearing sunset and the views were impressive.
At this arch, you were able to scramble and climb all over the actual arch. The view from the “hole” pictured above was lovely.
Eventually it was time for a good night’s sleep so we could return to the arches the next day.
We began our morning with a hike to Delicate Arch. This is an intense climb, but only 1.5 miles long. A large section of the hike was along this rock face. Walking on a large rock made this an intriguing and different sort of hike.
Near the end of the climb, the pathway was created around a large rock.
Around the bend was the view we had been waiting for: Delicate Arch. The very arch that is on the Utah license plate. This was the place I had been waiting to see. The view was grand!
The kids joined me to experience the arch up close and above us. I was terrified as the drop behind the arch is deadly. The area under it is plenty spacious, but it is still a frightning prospect.
The wind began to pick up in an awful way, so we hiked back down the rock face.
Our next stop was Landscape Arch, which is closed off to pedestrian traffic as it has shown many signs of collapsing in the “near” future. It is the longest spanning arch.
Sand Dune Arch was small and hidden, but a fun site to check out.
And then the kids BEGGED to return to Double Arch, and we were happy to entertain their choice.
They LOVED climbing around in this arch. It felt like rock climbing all over again to them.
Our family fell in love with this park the same way we fell in love with Zion National Park. But we still had one more stop, so eventually we had to begin to make the drive to Colorado.
On our way out of the area, we saw an Arch on the side of the road (not in the National Park) named, “Wilson Arch”.
It was a perfect ending to our time in the area.