Lunch – Rather than going to Moab for lunch, pack a lunch with you for a picnic at Dead Horse Point where there are plenty of picnic tables, or stop at the Moab Giants Dinosuar Park Cafe for a T-Rex Monster Burger! Moab Giants is located at the junction of US-191 and UT-313 about 22 mile from Dead Horse Point State Park, our next stop.
Dead Horse Point State Park
The 22 mile drive to Dead Horse Point from the junction quickly climbs to the top of a mesa that offers spectacular views of the surrounding red rock canyons, bluffs and mesas of Moab. Plan on 30-45 minutes at Dead Horse Point if not taking the longer hikes from the visitors center. If packing a picnic lunch there are several picnic tables along the road to the parking lot. Click here to learn more about Dead Horse Point and the story behind the name.
Canyonlands Island In The Sky
The Canyonlands visitors center is located 14 miles from Dead Horse Point, which is where we make our first stop to see the Shafer Trail. From the visitors center walk across the road and hike down to the rim where you’ll be treated with spectacular views of the Shafer Trail and canyon below, La Sal Mountains to the east and Dead Horse Point.
Next, go to Mesa Arch for a short relatively easy half-mile (1 mile out and back) hike to the rim where the arch is located. If the parking lot is full I keep going and stop here on the way back. I never pass it up if there’s an available spot.
Proceed to Upheavel Dome for a more moderate 1.5 miles out and back hike to a site that is believed to be either a meteor impact crater or salt dome.
Last stop is Grand View, which is the end of the road. There is a short walk to the main viewing area with a 1.8 miles out and back trail you can take. The views from here are, Grand! Just beyond this point, out of view, is the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers. It’s approximately 45 miles to Moab from here.
If you go directly back to Moab from here you should arrive between 5:00 – 6:00 PM. We occasionally plan a Sunset Hummer tour or dinner and river laser show at Canyonlands by Day and Night. This itinerary will free up a day for other outdoor adventures such as mountain biking, river rafting, or off-road tour. There are many other points of interest that can be added, I call this day a highlights tour of the most popular sights at the three parks.
It’s important to note that 2020 will not be a normal year at the national parks of the West. We will see fewer buses, fewer international travelers and more Americans staying closer to home taking road trips. As a result we may see smaller crowds on weekdays and larger crowds on weekends and holidays, but it’s hard to predict for sure.
For more information about Arches National Park, Canyonlands, and Dead Horse Point visit these websites.