Canyonlands National Park

We were treated to a weekend in Moab, Utah by a couple of friends who know the area well. They booked us a wonderful stay at the local KOA along with a fun-filled schedule of sightseeing in the city as well as stops at two of Utah’s Big Five National Parks: Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park.

Moab, Utah

Moab is a town of 5,000 people bordering Canyonlands and Arches National Park. There are round-trip flights to Moab from Denver and Salt Lake City for around $300 on Boutique Air. We chose the less comfortable option of cramming four adults into a car filled with camping gear. This was a 5.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City through the “beautiful” wastelands of central Utah.

It was a little early in the season and our first over-night adventure with these particular friends, so we went with two separate KOA Cabins just outside of town. The cabins were absolutely adorable, had an amazing view, and were surprisingly clean and comfortable. Ours was a single room with two beds and a small seating area. Outside was a cute bench swing, fire pit, and parking spot.

Scenic Drive

Our friends picked out the perfect adventure for us today. We woke up late, had a tasty breakfast in town, then hit the road for a scenic road trip along the Utah-128. This road winds along the Colorado River for a little over 30 miles (48 km). We drove nearly the full 30 miles just enjoying the scenery and soaking up the sun.

Utah HWY 198 Moab

After we’d made the full lap, we drove back towards town and made a pit stop at the Castle Creek Winery. It is one of only three wineries in Utah as the soil is too salty in most areas… and let’s face it, we’re in the middle of a desert. I’m still uncertain if this oasis of wine and happiness even existed and was just a mirage. Whatever it was, I am grateful for their delicious Outlaw Red and Lily Rose White.

Castle Creek Winery Moab Utah

Canyonlands National Park

Next on the list was Canyonlands National Park. You guessed it. It’s a park full of canyons carved out by the Colorado River. The cost to get in is $30 per vehicle for seven days or free with the $80 America the Beautiful Pass. Once inside, there are several key stops, each one taking some time to drive to. Our first stop was the Grand Viewpoint Overlook.

This may have been my favorite part of the whole trip. Despite the other tourists with the same idea, the area was amazingly quiet and the view held enough to look at for hours on end. I don’t suggest drinking alcohol next to a cliff edge, but I have to admit that it was quite pleasant.

We wrapped up the day with short hikes to Upheaval Dome, Mesa Arch, and Dead Horse Point State Park. But of course my phone died and I wasn’t able to take pictures, so did it really happen? No one knows.

Bellies full of wine, we are ready to enjoy a night of s’mores and deep conversation by the campfire.

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