Explore the spectacular Arches and Capitol Reef National Parks on this 8-day hiking holiday in Utah, U.S.A.
Are you in for a Hiking Holiday in Utah? Visit Arches & Capitol Reef National Parks
Delicate Arch – A geologic masterpiece formed of red sandstone and shaped by eons of wind and time. Framed by a backdrop of snow capped mountains, Delicate Arch stands as a sentinel of beauty in an already magnificent landscape.
The Quiet – Relax in the gentle silence to be found in the slot canyons and slickrock benches of Capitol Reef National Park. It’s a place and time to relax, to renew the spirit with no sounds but the wind on our cheeks or the soft beating of a Raven’s wings.
Desert Night Sky – Witness the gentle blessing of a night sky graced only with incredibly bright stars and a pristine desert stillness too pure to believe.
Referring to Arches, Edward Abbey opens Desert Solitaire with these words: “This is the most beautiful place on earth.” Here is where Nature as Artist does some of her most impressive work. Rock arches and natural bridges defy belief and, it seems, gravity. Our hikes into remote canyons and through slickrock country take us through time: time when all around us was a shallow inland sea, time when the Anasazi inscribed their mysteries on the walls of these canyons. In the warmth of a sunny day, the sky is so blue it dazzles you. In the cool clear nights, it’s the stars that are dazzling – more than you’ve ever seen before. Bring a sketch pad and a good pair of boots; a sense of wonder will be supplied.
The hiking terrain is varied and fairly moderate for the most part. Each day encompasses some flat areas, including walking in dry stream beds and through canyon bottoms, but we will also be walking up to a number of canyon rims. Our trails sometimes cross from canyon to canyon, meaning we will be walking on different levels of the sandstone formations, giving us outstanding views of the surrounding areas.
Located in Southeastern Utah, the canyon systems we’ll visit contain some of America’s wildest and most remote canyons, arches, and natural bridges. Our explorations will take us into side canyons that were some of the last places to be explored in the U.S.
Our first three days will find us in and near Arches National Park, just north of Moab, Utah. During our adventure, we’ll enjoy a number of trails, including our beginning hike to Delicate Arch and a longer 5-mile trek along the Park’s desert “primitive trail.” We’ll also explore the Needles Unit of Canyonlands National Park, visit famous Newspaper Rock, view numerous Petroglyphs and Pictographs, and see some of the best scenery in SE Utah. Our last two days find us exploring the wonders of one of Utah’s DEPOSIT : To reserve your space, a $400 deposit per person is required. Final payment is due 60 days prior to the trip departure date. If applying within 60 days of the trip departure, full payment is required., Capitol Reef National Park, on the Chimney Rock and Pleasant Creek trails.
May, Sept, October 1- 8, 2024
DEPOSIT: To reserve your space, a $400 deposit per person is required. Final payment is due 60 days prior to the trip departure date. If applying within 60 days of the trip departure, full payment is required.
Itineray for Arches & Capitol Reef National Parks: Hiking Holiday in Utah
Day 1 Our first day’s drive takes us from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Along the way, we’ll follow a narrow red rock canyon down which the mighty Colorado channels its course through time. This first day is an opportunity to become acquainted with other members of the group and view the fascinating changes in landforms. Overnight in Moab. L, D
Day 2 We have two spectacularly beautiful hikes today, Delicate Arch and Courthouse Wash. Our first hike takes us to Delicate Arch, probably one of Utah’s most beautiful arches. We’ll take our time on this 3-mile route, visiting settler John Wolfe’s cabin along the way. After a relaxing lunch, we’ll explore the gentle, but beautiful canyon geology of Courthouse Wash. A great introduction to the slickrock geology of S.E. Utah. Overnight in Moab. B, L, D
Day 3 Today begins with a short hike to Landscape Arch, the world’s longest natural arch before venturing off to hike the park’s Primitive Trail, a 5-mile trek along arches, fins, and canyon rims that includes a lunch stop at the majestic Double O Arch. Overnight in Moab B, L
Day 4 We head south from Moab today to Canyonlands National Park. On the way, we’ll enjoy a short hike to world famous Newspaper Rock, one of the longest panels of Anasazi petroglyphs and pictographs in the area before our 7.5 mile loop hike in the Needles District to Big Springs and Squaw Creek Canyons. A wonderful hike through a maze of sandstone formations, an adventure up a desert “chute”, and some of the best slickrock country in Utah. This is one of our favorite places. Overnight in Monticello, Utah. B, L, D
Day 5 After breakfast, we’ll head west to Capitol Reef National Park. On our drive we’ll pass through Hite, Utah, and enjoy panoramic views of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell. Hickman Bridge and its ancient petroglyphs give us a glimpse into the park’s human history. B, L, D
Day 6 Pleasant Creek is our destination today. Located off the Park’s Scenic Drive, this gentle trail follows Pleasant Creek to the east edge of Capitol Reef. Our day includes fabulous views of the towering sandstone walls, ancient Anasazi Petroglyphs, beautiful cottonwoods in full color, hopefully, and gorgeous views alone the entire route. B, L
Day 7 Chimney Rock Canyon, 9 miles. One of the most beautiful hikes in the park, Chimney Rock itself is a graceful spire of Moenkopi and Shirarump sandstones. Our walk takes us under towering cliffs of Wingate sandstone and through numerous beds of petrified wood, providing excellent views of Navajo sandstone domes and allowing us the opportunity to explore the areas around several unique pour-offs. The end of the hike requires crossing the Fremont River, so bring some old tennis shoes. Dinner out at Torrey’s world class cafe! B, L, D
Day 8 Drive to Grand Junction, Colorado. B
(May change at the discretion of the trip leader.)