Somewhere between diving headlong into January and trying to keep your head above water in February can find you longing for some new sights and places to run around. Before winter ends, you know it will hit and hit even harder when you have active kids who are finally tired of the snow and cold.
So, on a snowy Friday morning in Utah county, we loaded up the new car and headed down to Moab to try and find some sunshine. The stormy drive up highway 6 in Spanish Fork Canyon kept us on edge. By the time we reached the summit we were relieved to finally see some sun and drier roads.
We arrived in Moab Friday afternoon, checked into our spacious, comfortable room at the new Homewood Suites and drove out to the popular Wall Street on Potash Road for some of us to do a quick climb. After we got off the wall, we hopped back in the car and drove a little farther up the road to hike the mile and a half out to Corona Arch. The sun setting over the arch made for some jaw-dropping pictures and an enjoyable hike that reminded us that spring really is just around the corner!
We got back to the hotel and warmed up some dinner in the fully equipped kitchen area of our suite while waiting for the rest of the family to arrive. After dinner the kids wanted to go swimming so we headed down to the heated pool in the hotel to splash around for a while before bed.
Saturday morning dawned crisp, bright, and snow-free. After a nice hot breakfast provided by the hotel, we drove out to Moab Giants, the new dinosaur museum located at the turnoff to Canyonlands National Park and Deadhorse Point State Park (a few miles north of Moab). All of us, kids and adults alike, enjoyed the interactive displays and outdoor dinosaur walk complete with life-size models and multiple “dino-digs” playgrounds. A must see here is the aquarium where you will feel like you’ve stepped into a submarine and gone to visit the pre-historic seas; some pretty amazing use of technology!
Arches National Park
The next activity of the day was an afternoon of hiking in Arches National Park, one of Utah’s “Mighty Five”. We started out the afternoon in the park walking through the Window’s Section of Arches. This relatively short walk was a great place to start with its scenic arches and piles of rocks begging for little boys to climb on.
Next we drove out to the iconic Delicate Arch. Anyone who has seen a Utah license plate would recognize the towering arch. From youngest to oldest, we all enjoyed the three-mile round trip scenic hike up the rocks to the impressive view of the arch at the end.
We arrived back at the car with enough daylight left to see one more sight so we drove out to Sand Dune Arch which was located just a few minutes’ walk from the car in a cool, sandy canyon. On a warm day, this is absolutely our favorite hike to end the day with. When it’s hot outside, this small canyon is cool and the sand feels great on bare feet. If you have little ones, be sure to bring your pails and shovels!
Our hotel was a great new place right on Main Street in the heart of everything. It’s only been open a few months and is so spacious with a great, helpful staff and super cool decor. Saturday night we made use of the barbecue/patio at the hotel to enjoy some delicious hamburgers before getting to bed after a long, fulfilling day. This is not just any barbecue grill setup. It’s an outdoor oasis right next to the back doors, complete with a freestanding gas fireplace, surrounded by heated seating, large screen TV and two large built-in bbq grills; all covered!
Canyonlands National Park
After a good night’s sleep, some of us had an early breakfast and went to church. Sunday afternoon we drove through Canyonlands National park, Island in the Sky District to see Mesa Arch. The hike out to the arch is only a few minutes from the car and ends with a magnificent overlook off the cliff into the canyon through a window-like archway.
Dead horse Point State Park
On the way back down the canyon we stopped for a picnic lunch at Dead Horse Point, a spectacular Utah State Park that is often referred to as Utah’s mini version of the Grand Canyon. There are plenty of overlooks with truly breath taking views of Canyonlands and the Colorado River.