Arches National Park definitely likes to name landmarks after the heat and for good reason! I made the trip down at the end of April and it was about 80 degrees that day, but the landscape really holds the heat and there isn’t much in the way of shade, it felt more like 90 degrees which was tough for the Washington blood. Other than the heat and the long drive from Salt Lake City, the trip to Arches and Dead Horse State Park was amazing and left me in awe over the beauty of the canyons and arches.
Every Arch in the Park is picture worthy, but we came across a woman in the park that was willing to take a group picture so we ended up with a great shot with Turret Arch in the background. There was probably two miles worth of trail in this area to adventure around all the Arches in the area. Very short hikes all throughout the park, but the heat and altitude makes these short hikes challenging.
Double Arch was pretty interesting to visit as you have a window on both sides and a window to look up to the heavens. This was a popular spot for tourists to settle down and take in the views while having a snack or drink water and Gatorade. It was a nice spot to take a break from the sun beaming down.
We finished the trip with a trip up to Dead Horse State Park, yes I said State Park! Admission into this park was $20 per vehicle. It has spectacular views, very similar to the Grand Canyon, but I think the price was a little steep for a one time visit. This spot is popular for it’s sunsets and sunrises, there were all sorts of people preparing as we were trekking through the small trail system along the ridge.
The Southwest is home to some the best landscape in all of North America, the Canyons in these parts are first class and the colors are simply just amazing! I went on a road trip with my brother a year or so ago and we caught the Canyons at an excellent time. The thing about the Grand Canyon is it’s so large that you really can’t do a whole lot of exploring unless you are willing to spend a whole day hiking. That combined with the altitude differential and heat, you have your work cut out for you for sure.
Zion National Park was probably the best park out of them all in terms of hike variety and beauty! It’s amazing the amount of lush vegetation there is in between the canyons. You get colors galore from the white rocked peaks, to the red rock clay in the middle to low levels. Angels Landing (shown central in the picture below) is a daring hike out to the lookout, people have fallen to their death on this hike as you have to navigate treacherously close to the peaks edge. This hike requires cables and is recommended for experienced hikers. I didn’t have the guts to do it when I was there, but there was a ton of people making the hike. For the less experienced hikers, there is an abundance of easy hikes from below along the river basin.
For me, Bryce Canyon was probably the coolest of the canyons we visited. The way the hoodoos form pillars here is unbelievable. This is the best canyon of them all to bring in a sunset/sunrise. The heavens put on a magical sunset when I was there as there was some late evening thunderstorms forming to the east and the moisture in the atmosphere was hit by the color of the setting sun. There was a pretty cool hike that takes you down into the valley below the hoodoos into another river basin and if I had more time I would’ve definitely explored that. Next time for sure!
Highly recommend this region of the United States for exploration as this is the best spot for seeing some of the best natural sites in all of America. It’s an easy place to visit and take in a National Park trifecta because of the fairly close proximity of these National Parks.