Thursday, August 8, 2019

Arches National Park - Part One - Las Vegas and Utah - May 2019

We arrived in Moab around 4pm after driving around 7 hours from Las Vegas.   We decided to do Arches first during this week-long trip so we would not be so far from the airport (we were flying out of Las Vegas) and we could let the Memorial Weekend crowds settle down a bit at the more popular (and easily accessible) Zion and Bryce.

Dave expected the town of Moab to be a lot like Sedona, AZ.   Nope, nothing like it.   There were a few nice stores and restaurants here-and-there, but overall some of the buildings in the area seemed a little worn-down and less formal.  We chose to spend our two nights in town at the Moab Valley Inn.  It's very unlike us to not pick a branded hotel when available since we chase loyalty points.  In Moab the branded hotels are mostly on the outskirts of downtown.   The Moab Valley Inn was conveniently located across the street from Moab Brewing.   The Inn was ok.  We had a clean room that needed an overhaul, but the staff was friendly.

We were hoping to make it to the Visitor Center before 5pm closing.   That didn't happen because the line to get into the park was extremely long with many people taking too long to buy admission.  It would have been great if there was an annual pass express lane.

For our first few hours we were sticking with the first portion of the park taking the main road to Balanced Rock and then turning into The Windows section.
We used GyPSy Guide along the way to learn more about the sites we were visiting.   We really didn't know much about the area and went in with little expectations.   The first few sites had easy-to-navigate parking lots.   The main attractions of The Windows and Double Arches were a different story.   This area is where folks lingered.  Surprising fact - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade's opening scene was filmed here.

Most of the landscape was filled with desert rock and scrubby looking bushes with a few large red rock mountains thrown in for fun.  We had a great time exploring the first section of the park before calling it quits and heading back to the brewery for dinner and drinks after a long day on the road.

We stared at the happy camel rock for a 1/2 hour while waiting to get to the admission booth

Arrived 3 minutes after closing time
Park Avenue

There are over 2,000 identified arches in the park and more are being discovered (or formed).

The Windows from a distance

Balanced Rock


Turret Arch

Double Arch

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