Monument Valley to Moab Utah

June 11, 2022

We left Gouldings Campground in Monument Valley on Sunday June 5th and headed to Moab UT, a 175 mile drive North.  We traveled up 163 to Bluff UT and then 191 to Moab.  The drive was full of large bluffs and such, very scenic.  We arrived at Portal RV Resort about 2pm; very nice campground.  Moab is a gateway to massive red rock formations in Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Parks.  Moab, without question, is a tourist town, which I did not expect.  It is almost like Gatlinburg TN but smaller and a little easier to get around.  All kinds of small shops and restaurants line the main drag.  There is an abundance of jeep, four-wheelers, and mountain biking tour companies here.  The area is prime for such activities as I’m sure you already know and the campground is full of these vehicles.  I think they have had professional desert racing here in the past.

Click here for some travel photos…

A note on the photos. Its hard to convey scale with a photo of a subject by itself. So, we have tried to include people and automobiles in more of our photos. Some of the formations are so large that you have to look hard for the people, but they are there. Try to find some.

While we were at Monument Valley we met a couple from Eastern Kentucky. They left the same day we did and found out they are here at Portal as well; what a coincidence. They are heading home Thursday. We also met a couple from the Nashville area while at Portal. Both couples are not full time, just on vacation. While we are traveling in a northern route the roads are less of interstates and more two-lane highways. The thing is most of the time I do not know what these two lane roads comprise of: 10% grades, tight curves, etc.? It is very refreshing that you can ask a campground neighbor about these roads and some will tell you what to expect. Some don’t know, but I have always been able to find out what I need to know. Most people at these campground are very nice and sociable.

Geography: Millions of years of geologic activity created the spectacular views from Canyonlands National Park & Dead Horse Point (State Park). Deposition of sediments by ancient oceans, freshwater lakes, streams and wind-blown sand dunes created the rock layers of canyon country. Volcanic activity formed the high mountains that rise like cool, blue islands out of the hot, dry desert. Ten million years of erosion sculpted this land of canyons, mesas and buttes. The Colorado & Green Rivers have carved their paths deep into the ancient rock layers on their journeys to the sea.

On Monday we went to the Northern area of Canyonlands National Park. The Park is known for its dramatic desert landscape carved by the Colorado & Green River. Island in the Sky is a huge, flat-topped mesa, which we visited, with panoramic overlooks. The “Mesa Arch” is located here, a ½ mile hike over rough terrain from the main road. The Arch is one of the most photographed natural stone arches ever. It’s no surprise that thousands of photographers a year set their alarm clocks at some ungodly hour so that they can beat the crowd for sunrise, and you can find these photographs of the Arch on the web. We thought about stopping but it was extremely crowded and wrong time of day for a good photo, so we moved on. On the way out of Canyonlands we stopped at Dead Horse Point State Park. The overlook is 2,000 feet above the Colorado river below. As with a lot of places like these photos do not convey the vastness, immensity, and limitless views that are hard for the mind to comprehend. You could spend hours just looking and not see everything. The area reminds me of the Grand Canyon but with the large bluffs of Monument Valley.

Click here for some photos…

On Tuesday we went to the Southern side of Canyonlands.  Not as scenic as the Northern area but still stunning.  It was a longer drive and along the way we stopped at “Newspaper Rock.”  An area of petroglyphs. 

Click here for some photos…

On Wednesday we went to Arches National Park. For all National Parks you have to pay to get in or pay for a yearly America’s the Beautiful pass. Veterans & disabled folk can get a pass to get in for free. But, that still will not get you in a hand full of National Parks… as some have started to limit the number of people that can be in the park at any one time. Arches is part of that group. More than 1.5 million visitors come to Arches National Park each year, and that number is growing. But, it works, there are no parking issues, crowds are smaller, etc. To get in you have to go on-line and get a vehicle pass. We did this about a month back. They do reserve a handful for the night before in case you did not get one or are unfamiliar with the entrance polices.

Arches National Park lies just a few miles north of Moab. Bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, it’s known as the site of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east. Long, thin Landscape Arch stands in Devils Garden to the north. Other geological formations include Balanced Rock, towering over the desert landscape in the middle of the park. We drove the 16 mile dead end paved road and back and stopped at various overlooks, very cool place.

Click here for photos…

The rest of the week we did our normal chores, laundry, cleaning the camper, resting, and trying to keep cool in the 105 deg daily temperatures. The night temps are around 60 and there is no humidity so as long as you keep out of the direct sun its not that bad. We also ate out a couple of times. One place was very good, Italian, Pasta Jay’s. Yum!!

On Sunday, June 12, we leave for Salt Lake City and will be staying at Hill Air Force Base. There are some wild mustang horses just south-west of the base that Rene’e wants to go see.

See you soon!!