Winter is almost officially over, and it certainly feels that way here in Southern Utah. The day begins a little sooner everyday, the weather is growing warmer, and the wildlife is exhibiting increased signs of activity. If you are anything like us at the Lodge, you’re starting to itch with Spring Fever – the desire to get out and enjoy the new life. Here are a couple great getaways for early spring.
Not surprisingly we’re talking about two of Utah’s national parks: Arches and Canyonlands. Since these two parks are located in the desert near Moab (a great recreation town) they routinely warm up in the early spring. So a trip to one (or both) of these parks is the perfect cure for Spring Fever. The following information and tips might help you decide which is better for you, Arches or Canyonlands.
Arches National Park – this is undoubtedly the more popular of the two parks. It is more developed, and is more consolidated. You can see more in less time. And while you should definitely try to visit the famous landmarks like Delicate Arch and The Double Arch, here are a few other places to check out in Arches:
Fiery Furnace – this is one of the more desolate, and unvisited regions of the park. The Fiery Furnace is a maze-like conglomeration of sandstone monoliths, fins, arches and canyons. This area is open to unguided exploration, but we at the Lodge definitely suggest going on a ranger lead tour. You are much less likely to get lost this way.
Landscape Arch – this Arch is located in the Devil’s Garden section of Arches. It is a very popular location, with a well maintained loop trail encircling the arch. We highly recommend the hike. Landscape Arch has the distinction of being the thinnest and longest arch in Arches National Park. But unfortunately Landscape Arch will likely collapse in the near future. So go check it out while you can.
The Parade of Elephants – this is one of the more unique rock formations in the park. It resembles, like you might imagine, like a row of elephant, holding onto each others tails. It is located in the Windows region in the park (named for the window-like cutouts in the sandstone.)
Canyonlands Nation Park – Canyonlands is over three times the size of Arches. Which as we mentioned, means the popular sites are a little more spaced out. Don’t write it off just yet, however, this park is one of our favorites for a reason. Here you can achieve a sense of complete isolation. Here you can experience a huge wilderness. Check out these locations in the park:
Mesa Arch – no list would be complete without mentioning Mesa Arch. And while, yes, we admit it is probably the most popular spot in Canyonlands, its popularity is well earned. Located in the Island in Sky district of the park, Mesa Arch is truly one of the best overlooks in the country. Take our word for it.
The Maze District – this is where Canyonlands is at its best. The whole area is remote, rugged and spectacular. However, you should not enter here without taking the proper precautions. This is a large, un-patrolled area. A backcounty permit is require for any overnight trips.
Upheaval Dome – this dome is actually a the work of a meteor that struck the earth long ago. The impact created the crater and erosion did the rest. Referred to as a an impact structure, the dome should be on the top of your list of what to see. Also check out the Syncline rock formation on the northwest side of Upheaval Dome.
Which ever park you choose to visit this spring, we at the Lodge at Red River Ranch are confident you’ll have an amazing time.