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Breathtaking Trip to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park

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My husband and I love exploring new places. Currently, we reside in Utah. Someday, we would like to travel all across the United States.

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Before our trip to Asia, my husband and I decided to start our new year with a trip to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab. Yes, we went to Moab last year. However, the spectacular views and breathtaking canyons called us to return and explore areas that we hadn't gotten the chance to see. Moab is a gateway to massive red rock formations with mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires.

In this article, I'll share information and tips for visiting as well as photos of our wonderful trip (including the hotel we stayed at).

Canyonlands preserves a wilderness of rock at the heart of the Colorado Plateau.

Canyonlands preserves a wilderness of rock at the heart of the Colorado Plateau.

Canyonlands, Here We Go!

The weather was on our side this time. When we started our hiking that morning, it was sunny. However, we still had to wear suitable attire for hiking as it gets colder when you go higher up.

Besides hiking, we wanted to sit down and admire the spectacular views from the top. As usual, we left the hotel early and started driving to Canyonlands National Park. We were so excited to witness the wilderness of rock and the beauty of nature from the summit.

Island in the Sky

One of our first stops was Island in the Sky. When you enter Canyonlands National Park, make sure you drive to the Island in the Sky District and see the wide variety of plateaus, mesas, different rock formations, and dips in the land. There are huge caverns that allow you to look down and see the rivers as well. We were awestruck by the beautiful landscape and gorgeous views.

We wasted no time grabbing the phone and camera to take pictures of these beauties. By the way, there are so many beautiful vistas along the scenic drive in Islands in the Sky.

The Island in the Sky mesa rests on sheer sandstone cliffs over 1,000 feet (304 m) above the surrounding terrain. Every overlook offers a different perspective on Canyonlands' spectacular landscape. Island in the Sky is the easiest area of Canyonlands to visit in a short period of time, offering many pullouts with spectacular views along the paved scenic drive.

Mesa Arch

Last year, we were thrilled about hiking to Delicate Arch. I remember the amount of hiking we did before getting to the extraordinary arch. However, when I made it to the Mesa Arch I found it was stunning, especially when I got closer to the arch. I was excited when we got to it, as the path to the arch was shorter.

I would highly recommend hiking to Mesa Arch for elderly folks or young children, as it is shorter and safer. Though the trails are varies with sandy and rocky areas, it is doable. By the way, there are no guardrails or fences near the edge, so please mind your steps whilst taking those beautiful photos!

There are a few attractions areas you could explore such as hiking the Shafer Trail, the Syncline Loop, and gazing from the Grand View Point.

Map to Canyonlands

Dead Horse Point State Park

The next day, we went to Dead Horse Point Park. It took us about 42 minutes to drive there from the hotel. Before leaving, we stopped by Moab Coffee Roasters to pick up some food and coffee.

The Geology

Millions of years of geologic activity created the spectacular views from Dead Horse Point. Deposition of sediments by ancient oceans, freshwater lakes, streams, and wind-blown dunes created the rock layers and canyon country. It is mind-boggling and fascinating to know how these natural beauties were created.

I wasted no time taking breathtaking photos, walking up into arches, and seeing some of the hidden gems at the canyons. Dead Horse Point State Park is famous for the Colorado River overlook. The Colorado River has carved its path deep into the ancient rock layers on its journey to the sea.

If you're planning to come, I would recommend taking a full-day tour to Canyonlands National Park and another full-day tour to Dead Horse Point State Park. There are tons of spectacular and amazing places you have to explore!

Tips and Information for Visiting These National Parks

  • Most overlooks are not fenced. Please use extreme caution!
  • Tourists are advised to stay on established trails. You can follow the signs and rock cairns.
  • Please do not throw rocks or objects off the cliffs.
  • Camping is allowed in designated areas. Each camping permit covers one vehicle and any attached recreational equipment. However, there is an extra fee for additional vehicles or camping equipment.
  • Pets are allowed but must be on a maximum six-foot leash. For safety and courtesy, please clean up after them. However, they are not allowed on Intrepid Trail System.
  • If you are coming during summertime, drink plenty of water.
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen, and suitable hiking shoes while hiking.
  • All plants, animals, minerals, and other natural features in the state parks are protected. It is unlawful to remove, alter or destroy them.
  • Hiking trails are for foot traffic only. Bicycling is permitted on Intrepid Trail System and established roads.
  • Vandalism is unlawful to damage or deface any natural or constructed feature or structure.

There is an entrance fee to enter the park. The charges are as stated below:

Vehicle Fees:

  • Regular: $20.00 (up to eight people)
  • Utah Senior (Utah residents 65 or older): $15.00
  • Motorcycles: $10.00 per motorcycle

Commercial and High Capacity Vehicle Fees:

  • $5.00 per person
  • Includes commercial tour groups and vehicles with more than eight people. Valid for only the date of purchase.

Bike-In and Walk-In Fees:

  • $10.00 per person
  • Parking outside the park is limited and the road is very narrow into the park
  • Guest must park their vehicle outside of the park and enter on foot or by bike
  • Valid for two consecutive days for the same entry option

Map to Dead Horse Point State Park

Wonderful Hotel Stay

We decided to stay at the same hotel we stayed at last year. The Radcliffe Moab is situated in the heart of the city center and is a perfect location for travelers who want easy access to do some grocery shopping and dining.

We loved our first stay at the hotel, so we decided to stay with them again.

Map to Radcliffe Hotel

Fantastic Adventure!

The Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State are both spectacular national parks. We thought the experience we had at the National Arches was unforgettable but, after this trip, we realized there's no limit to what you can explore and witness when it comes to the natural wilderness of our planet. I wonder what's next for us!

© 2022 Liza