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Old 11-21-2008, 12:46 PM   #1
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Arches National Monument, Moab, Canyonlands

We just returned from 10 days in SouthEastern Utah, specifically the area around Moab which included Arches National Monument, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park.

I picked up a booked off amazon,
Backcountry Adventures Utah: The Ultimate Guide to the Utah Backcountry for Anyone with a Sport Utility Vehicle (Backcountry Adventures) (Paperback)
and it turned out to be a good choice. It had a section on the history of Utah and then provided sections with trail recommendations. Each trail would have detailed descriptions.

I still have the stock bumpers so I added a hitch on the front as a tow point. I also threw in a 4 ton manual winch as an emergency self rescue device. Finally, I purchased a set of 4 Rud snow chains from Bill Burke in the event that we would get caught above the snow line.

We traveled down I84 across Oregon and through Idaho and into Utah. While rainy, it wasn't snowy or a problem.

The first night, we camped a couple hours south of Salt Lake City on Skyline trail. As it was raining, the trail had turned to clay which quickly gummed up my BFG AT treads. I stuck it in 4wd low and creeped along, aiming high and slowly sliding down off camber trails.

Additionally, it was starting to sleet and the van extra battery was causing trouble. My girls all decided it would be better to cook on our trusty Coleman stove and nominated me to be the outdoor cook. Democracy can be messy at times.

We woke to blue skies and headed down to Arches, stopping by 9 Mile Canyon and the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum in Price. If you have younger kids, the Museum is a worthwhile stop. This is also where we started to see quite a few 4x4s and lifted trucks which remained consistent through the rest of Southern Utah.

Moab is the small town which is centrally located between the scenic highlights of Arches National Monument, Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park. There is camping and 4wd trails around and within all of these although water and dump sites were limited. There are also primitive BLM campgrounds around Moab which offer no services but are centrally located.


Camping in Arches (attempting to copy other fine photographers at this site)

BLM lands outside Moab

Canyonlands views

Playing in Arches

4wd trail which became too rough.

It was cold in the evening but clear and the star watching and moon views were spectacular. We used sleeping bags and hats and never turned on the diesel heater during the night. Our low temps in the van were in the high 30's but once the sun would come up, it would quickly warm us up.

The campgrounds were never full and frequently we would be the only people at a trail head.

While Moab is off season, there were still services, grocery stores, auto parts, hotels, RV Services, etc.

Our only regret was not bringing bicycles. Because we thought it would be too cold for the kids, we didn't bring them. In actuality, it was warm during the day and the roads were generally empty so biking would have been great.

It was a great time of year to visit if you like to avoid crowds and you are willing to wear a coat. If you haven't made it to this part of Utah, I'd strongly recommend a visit. We will use the same month next year to cover Capitol Reef, Bryce, and Zion.


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Old 11-21-2008, 06:51 PM   #2
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We where in the same area the beginning of Oct. The parks there are just gorgous.

Dick and Anne

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Old 11-21-2008, 09:31 PM   #3
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Awesome!! Thanks for sharing. Having never been there before... this area is high on our list of places to visit with our van too.

(maybe with a couple of dual sport bikes in tow).


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Old 11-21-2008, 09:37 PM   #4
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Mark, Kathy and Little People,

Sound like you guys had a great trip. Your pictures are beautiful and make me want to jump in the van and go.

You should really treat yourself to a little heat on those cold nights. The Espar heater only burns .1 gallons per hour on high and if you have a 4D battery you have more than enough power.

John Dana & Cayenne
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Old 11-21-2008, 10:40 PM   #5
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Oh yeah, totally taking our niece there next year!
and then
everything changed
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Old 11-22-2008, 08:11 AM   #6
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Thanks for the pics and report.

We visited Zion and Bryce last Feb and it was incredible. Zion was empty and the weather was ideal, plus you can drive into the park during winter months. Hoping to visit the Moab/Arches area next year.

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Old 11-22-2008, 11:09 PM   #7
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Brings back great memories from my trip there September '07.

Thanks for posting. Awesome trip.

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Old 12-11-2008, 02:33 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info!!

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