Located in Moab, UT, Arches is a must-see for crazy formations and great photography. However, for best viewing results, this park should be visited in the off-season to avoid the late-spring and summer crowds. We went in March 2017, and it was so crowded that we didn’t hike to the sites that we most wanted to see because people were everywhere. This is also a very small park, so it doesn’t take much to feel like there isn’t a lot of space. We will plan to go back in the winter or early spring to fully experience the wonders of these amazing arches.
Bryce Canyon was our first national park, and it did not disappoint! It was very cold the day we went, and there was still a lot of snow covering most of the trails, so we drove through the park and stopped at all the lookouts. The high elevation provides panoramic views of the hoodoos and canyon rim. The unique rock formations were formed through years and years of erosion, but ancient Native American stories explain the formations as lost souls of the forgotten people. The 17 drive from the entrance to Rainbow Point winds through the park and is as beautiful as the overlooks themselves.
Canyonlands is located in Moab, UT and has three entrances to access different areas of the park: The Needles to the South, Island in the Sky to the North, and The Maze to the West. The convergence of the Colorado River and the Green River is in the south-central portion of the park and can be seen a few miles down a dirt and rock road from the Needles visitor center. This unique park is really good for off-road vehicles and hiking. Although it is very large, it is difficult to access due to the natural sectioning of the park from the rivers.
Glen Canyon Recreation Area is located partly in southern Utah and partly in northern Arizona. It borders the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and part of the canyon can be viewed from high elevation. The variety of rock formations, twists and turns of the Colorado River, and shapes of canyons makes this area perfect for adventure in the car and on the trails. We camped at Lone Rock campground just west of Horseshoe Bend, and although it was windy, it was so beautiful. Lake Powell is also located in Glen Canyon and is a local favorite for summertime swimming and boating activities.