My wife and I had so much fun with going down to Moab and Arches for Memorial Day weekend. We took our golden retriever, Juniper, with us, so that steered us toward or away from certain activities. Most national parks aren’t dog friendly because of wilderness preservation, safety of the wildlife and/or pets, experience of others, and waste management, so plan ahead before going. Moab also gets crazy around Memorial Day weekend because of the opportunity for adults to get out of work without taking time off, so most of the hotels and campgrounds were completely or almost full with people. The trails were pretty crowded as well.

Our campsite in Sand Flats Recreation Area

Because this was a last minute trip, we were unable to reserve a hotel room or campground beforehand, which is a huge gamble whether or not you’ll actually get a place. We left Provo at 3 am and got to Moab at around 6:30 am in time for people to start leaving their campgrounds. A large portion of the campgrounds around Moab are a first-come-first-serve style area, so we arrived in Sand Flats Recreational Area right after another group left. We were in one of the further camp loops, so with our little Civic we braved the unpaved road with exposed rock alongside the Jeeps and trucks.

After getting our sleeping situation figured out, we headed into town for breakfast at Jailhouse Cafe. I had awesome pancakes (read full food review HERE). We drove through Arches and stopped at all of the views, turnoffs, lookout points to see as many of the arches and features that Arches has to offer. Again, because we had Juniper, we couldn’t hike any of the trails including the short trail up to the balanced rock, so we saw what we could and hopefully in the future we could go to more of the arches. After driving through Arches, we went home and hung around camp, just because we had gotten up at 2:30 am to drive down.

Salt Valley lookout

Sunday, we got up and drove to Granstaff trailhead to hike to the Morning Glory Arch, which is a 2.5 mile out-and-back hike. A quick cautionary note: throughout the hike, there is a lot of poison ivy on the sides of the trail and scattered in the brush, so please watch out. In our case, Juniper would get it on her fur and not be affected by it, but would be petted or brush up against us and other hikers, which transfers itchiness. The trail is fairly flat with so short ups and downs throughout the entire hike. My watch reported that I gained about a net elevation gain of about 150 ft heading out. The start of the hike was fairly shaded under trees and being in the bottom of a canyon, but about halfway through the hike, the trail dives off into an adjacent canyon with much less shade. For the first part of the hike, you’ll also hike alongside a river that flows through the canyon, so we let Juniper swim around in it to cool off from the heat and to wash the poison ivy off of her fur a little bit. There were a significant amount of people hiking the trail, especially when we were hiking back and there were a good amount of dogs on the trail. We also passed a couple groups of people that had come down the canyon and rappelled off of Morning Glory Arch (we wanted to do this so badly).

Sunday, we got up and drove to Granstaff trailhead to hike to the Morning Glory Arch, which is a 2.5 mile out-and-back hike. A quick cautionary note: throughout the hike, there is a lot of poison ivy on the sides of the trail and scattered in the brush, so please watch out. In our case, Juniper would get it on her fur and not be affected by it, but would be petted or brush up against us and other hikers, which transfers itchiness. The trail is fairly flat with so short ups and downs throughout the entire hike. My watch reported that I gained about a net elevation gain of about 150 ft heading out. The start of the hike was fairly shaded under trees and being in the bottom of a canyon, but about halfway through the hike, the trail dives off into an adjacent canyon with much less shade. For the first part of the hike, you’ll also hike alongside a river that flows through the canyon, so we let Juniper swim around in it to cool off from the heat and to wash the poison ivy off of her fur a little bit. There were a significant amount of people hiking the trail, especially when we were hiking back and there were a good amount of dogs on the trail. We also passed a couple groups of people that had come down the canyon and rappelled off of Morning Glory Arch (we wanted to do this so badly).

After finishing the hike, we ate lunch at Lions Park and walked around Moab through all the shops. After grabbing our gear, we drove up to Panorama Point in Arches. Allyse and I enjoy painting together, so at Panorama Point, we ate dinner, set up our GoPro for a timelapse of the sunset, and painting the landscape around us. It was quite relaxing watching the sunset on the deep earthy reds and oranges of the sandstone arches and rock formations.

Monday, we packed up and left our campsite. We drove up to Canyonlands National Park and drove through, stopping at all of the lookouts and turnoffs in Canyonlands. There were a couple of lookout points that we walked the 30 yards to the rim of the canyon to look out without Juniper to get better shots. Canyonlands is gorgeous with amazing vistas that looked down into the canyon. We drove back to Moab, ate at Quesadilla Mobilla for lunch and ice cream from the Spoke on Center.

We left to drive home, which ended up taking twice as long as it should have taken because of a horrendous downpour of rain and everyone else returning home from their trip down to Moab.

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