06 May, 2019

Day 1 : Arches and CanyonLands National Park #UtahVacation

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Here is the continuation of our Utah Vacation plan with kids. This post covers detailed travelogue of our day 1.

Welcome to Utah

Around 1200 miles, 4 nights, 3 days, 3 national parks, 3 monuments, 1 Navajo tribal park, 1 waterfall, 1 temple touching 4 states.

Travel Map

Our trip started on night 1 where we drove from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction, CO. Grand Junction is around 5 hrs from here and so, we could cover almost 70% distance to Arches on night 1. Check this travelogue to visit Glenwood Springs which is on the way from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction.

We planned for a 4 day and 3-night trip and we reached home back on the 4th night.

We stayed at Grand Junction for the night and started our first visit to Arches National park after breakfast. 

Accommodations near Grand Junction:

Arches national park is around 2 hrs drive from Grand Junction and it is better to arrive early to the park. Even though we visited the Park on a Friday, the traffic near the check-post slowed us down for 30 mins. The entry to the park is $30 per vehicle.

Since no water and food will be available inside the park, we have packed a small lunch and some snacks and a lot of water. 

The most important trail that we didn't want to miss is the 'Delicate Arch Trail'. The Arch that we can see on Utah license plate, remember? This is a must do in Arches. 

Delicate Arch

But, let me warn you, it is not easy with a toddler. Be prepared to stop multiple times during the trail, take more water, snacks, wear hiking shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and hat.
Check how the trail is!

There are some sharp edges too!

We passed through beautiful rock formations and multiple overlook points before reaching Wolfe ranch parking area. We didn't stop at any of these places as we want to cover all while returning. 

From Wolfe ranch parking area, the delicate arch trail takes around 1.5 to 2 hrs to reach to the arch. At most, 2.5 to 3 hrs to finish the trip and come back with kids. Restrooms are available at the parking area. 

If you have reached this dome-like rock, you are almost there!

The trail might be strenuous if you don't stop on the way / don't drink enough water. A few places seemed dangerous where we have to hold our toddler and help our 8 yr old to hike. Other than that, this is definitely doable with kids and the view of the huge arch is simply amazing.

The trail view from above

Next, we went on driving the scenic route of 12 miles loop in the park till Devil's garden and stopped at various lookout points. Double arch is amazing and also many other stone formations around that. The double arch trail is also 0.5 miles round trip, which is good with kids. Balanced rock is an easy 0.5-mile round trip. Drive through windows section for sure! the formations are breathtaking.

Balanced Rock

Window Rock

Ideally, one day in Arches will allow you to cover Delicate arch trail, Balanced rock, Double arch trail and to drive through the scenic 12-mile loop with kids. You can cover 2 more trails with older kids/ adults though.

For lunch, you can try Moab brewery on highway 128 in Moab. We stopped at a cafe called 'Moab Giants' on the way to Canyonlands. Canyonlands national park is just 30 to 40 mins drive from Arches.

Scenic Viewpoint in Canyonlands National park

Entry is $25 per vehicle at Canyonlands national park. The visitor centers at both Arches and Canyonlands close at 4PM but cars are allowed to park all the time. Canyonlands is divided into 3 sections - Island in the sky, the Needles and the Maze.

The most important and easy trail with kids is Mesa Arch trail. This is a half mile round trip and not only the mesa arch but even the views beyond the arch are amazing. If you have time, you can cover Upheaval dome which is 1-mile round trip and enjoy the views of Grand viewpoint, Green river outlook and Grand view overlook on the scenic drive. 

Mesa Arch

We covered only this much on day 1. But, if you want to customize your plan and have more time, you can cover Needles section in Canyonlands and Dead horse point state park. One more thing that you can add to your trip is 'Colorado National monument'. This is on the way from Grand Junction to Arches, but it might take around 2 to 3 hrs to cover this monument. 

We traveled to Bluff, UT on that day night so that we will be nearer to Monument Valley Park to start our trip for Day 2. From Canyonlands national park, it is 2.5 hrs drive to Bluff. If this seems to be a long drive, you can take accommodation at Moab / Blanding which are on the way. 

The next day we covered Monument Valley Park, Four Corners monument and Mesa Verde National park. The detailed travelogue of day 2 is shared in the next post. 

Until next time,

Here are my social media handles to follow me there so that you don't miss my Utah travel itinerary:

This post is written as part of a blog train #letsblogwithpri hosted by Prisha. Thanks to Sneha for introducing me to this blog train. I would love to introduce Kapila to the blog train. Read her posts here.

Hosted By :
Prisha Lalwani
IG: @mummasaurus1
FB: /mummasaurus1
Twitter: @mummasaurus1


  1. Lovely post. The pictures are so magical.

  2. Wow. You so beautifully write up.. 😊 That's wonderful..

  3. The pics are tempting and it sure seems to be an adventurous day! :)


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