(See our trip in pictures on Instagram!)
Be sure to read the first, second, and third posts in this #9Parks12Days series, where we visited SEVEN National Park Service Sites in Days 1-9.
With the weather report calling for near 100 degrees on our Day 10, we got up at 6:00AM and were on our way into Arches National Park by 7:00 AM! We hiked the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint trail, and by 8AM had our longest hike of the day under our belts. We then drove to the Devil’s Garden Trailhead area and I went out to explore a few more arches with the boys chilling in the car A/C. We also found our favorite arch, Sand Dune Arch, on the way there and played in the beautiful red sand for about an hour, kept cool by the towering rock formations surrounding us.
We highly recommend spending time at this arch for families! As we drove out of the park around 10AM, there was a long line of cars waiting to move at the entrance, and we were on our way to the pool! You can see from this photo that the trail traffic picks up, even on days over 100 degrees, around 9-10 AM. Yet another reason to hike early and retire to the pool in the mid-day heat.
We took an hour in the afternoon to check out some of the petroglyphs around Moab, and really enjoyed looking at these along the Colorado River.
In the evening we headed to Canyonlands National Park and spent sundown driving through this amazing park. We wish we had had more time for Canyonlands – there were no people at this time and the scenery was amazing. We hiked to Mesa Arch, which became our favorite arch in Utah – the view and the formation were both unbelievable. A sunrise at this arch would be very worth a dark, early morning someday! We wrapped up both of these parks with more Junior Ranger badges and informative Visitor Center stops.
Sadly, our #9Parks12Days trip ended with a parting shot in Canyonlands, and the next morning we were on our way home through Colorado on I-70. Although a beautiful drive, be aware of speed on the curves if you’re towing an RV! Even the flow of traffic was a bit too high for our safety. And finding gas stops in the small towns along the interstate was really tough! Plan your travels in this area wisely. We decided as we reached Denver to just hoof it home and we made the drive from Moab to the Black Hills in about 13 hours. A long day, but sleeping in our own beds again made it worth the time!
We took a vote after the trip on which park was the favorite. Linus and I agreed that Great Sand Dunes needs a return trip, as it was our favorite stop. Calvin and Tom were convinced that Carlsbad Caverns was the most unique and interesting stop for them. We all agreed that each park we visited deserves another, longer trip in the future, as it never felt like we had enough time to absorb them.
Thanks for joining us on this adventure. We are still posting some amazing photos from this trip on both Instagram and Twitter, so be sure to follow along there as well! Have you been to any of these parks? What was your favorite thing to do there? What should we do when we return someday? Let us know in the comments below!