Moab Hiking and Canyoneering Adventure
5 Days/ 4 Nights
Moab/ Arches National Park/ Canyonlands National Park
Trip Cost: $549 (Early Bird Discount: $499 if booked by 8/14/20)
Optional Canyoneering: $185/ person
Moab is the gateway to two of Utah’s most iconic National Parks – Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Visitors from around the world come to the town of Moab to experience sunrise over some of the most stunning red rock landscapes on Earth. Moab’s unique combination of small-town hospitality, beautiful scenery, along with the cool waters of the Colorado River, has made it one of the most sought-after outdoor recreation destinations in the American Southwest.
Day 1: Moab
Arrive in Moab (CNY) at 12:35pm via United Airlines and we’ll pickup our rental vehicles. We’ll then drive to our vacation rental to unpack and settle in a bit before going to the grocery store for some supplies. We’ll spend the rest of the day exploring the town of Moab, with all of it’s shops, restaurants, galleries, and the Moab Brewery.
Day 2: Hiking in Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park invites you to explore a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Rivers divide the park into for districts: Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze, and the rivers themselves. These areas share a primitive desert atmosphere, but each offers different opportunities for sightseeing and adventure.
We’ll first visit the Mesa Arch, which is part of the Island in the Sky system of trails. A short hike (0.6 miles) leads to a cliff-edge arch. Mesa Arch is a classic sunrise spot and is popular among photographers. If everyone is up for it, we can try do get there at this time, otherwise there will be stunning views toward the La Sal Mountains any time of the day.
Next, we’ll head over to The Needles system of trails where we’ll do a more difficult hike to the Druid Arch. The Druid Arch Trail (1,374 ft elevation gain) offers one of the most spectacular views in The Needles. It follows the first part of the Chesler Park trail, then branches off to travel along the bottom of Elephant Canyon through deep sand and loose rock. Rated as moderate to difficult, the trail is a 9.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail that features a river. The last 0.25 mile at the upper end is steep with one ladder and some scrambling.
Day 3: Optional Day: Hiking or Canyoneering
Today you’ll have the option of doing a hike on your own or doing a full day of canyoneering. Discover why people from around the world come to experience canyoneering in Moab. Moab’s beautiful carved canyons await your discovery. Granary Canyon is technical, but what Canyoneering route isn’t? Departing from Moab at 8am, we’ll drive 45 minutes to near the mesa top of Dead Horse State Park. Our experienced guide will brief us about the day and provide us with all of the technical gear we’ll need. The Granary Canyon is for anyone looking for a lot of rappels and plenty of canyon obstacles. The trip begins with perhaps the best view of the dramatic La Sal Mountains and the labyrinthine landscape of the Behind the Rocks area west of Moab.
It is here where the Cane Creek Anticline brushes up against the Kings Bottom Syncline to create a roiling sea of polished, ancient rock. Details of the geological processes at work are punctuated throughout the day (rock talk!) since the views beg to be discussed and interpreted.
This stunning view will be our steady back drop as we negotiate the beautiful canyons and corridors of Granary Canyon. Named for the occasional ancient storage bins used by Moab’s early inhabitants, the Ancestral Puebloans (formerly known as the Anasazi). These small, well-hidden rock structures were the first prototypes of the building technique (using local mortar) that gave rise to the more famous cliff palaces located elsewhere in the Four Corners area.
One challenge of the canyon (and there will be many!) will be to locate the granaries, arches and the occasional natural bridge that this impressive canyon harbors.
Onto the other challenges! You’ll experience six miles of moderate hiking, 2000 feet of elevation loss with an occasional short, easy section of down climbing – often attached to a rope for extra security.
Then there are the rappels! With a mix of easy and challenging rappels you’ll have the chance to try out some “advanced” rope techniques. The rappels drop you into some incredibly beautiful and unique formations – the work of water and gravity creating artworks of stone. (6 rappels: 120’, 70’, 60’, 40’, 20’, 200’)
The rappelling skills you’ll have mastered throughout the day will be tested with our last rappel – a 200ft drop that deposits us close to the banks of the Colorado River!
Day 4: Hiking in Arches National Park
Arches National Park contains a variety of hiking trails to discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red-rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.
The Devi’s Garden Loop Trail with 7 Arches is a 7.5 mile (1,069 ft elevation gain) heavily trafficked loop trail that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as difficult. This is a wonderful hike that allows you to see seven natural arches. The main trail is well maintained and wide. The first spur trail takes you to Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch.
The trail then leads to Landscape Arch, which at 306’ long is one of the largest natural spans in the world. After visiting Landscape Arch, you begin your only significant uphill climb of the trip. You will walk well below what used to be Wall Arch, then climb higher to spur trails to Navajo and Partition Arch. We’ll continue for an additional 2 ¼ miles for views of Double Arch and Dark Angel.
Day 5: Depart Moab
Today, we’ll pack up our things and leave Moab for our return home. Please plan to depart Moab on the 1:05pm flight with United Airlines.
Vacation Rental in Moab
Rental Vehicles w/ Insurance (2) – we’ll have 2 vehicles in case the group wants to split up
Canyonlands Park Entrance
Arches Park Entrance
What’s Not Included?
Airport taxes and excess baggage fees
Beverages and Meals
Gratuities for your guides
Canyoneering is $185/ person for 3+ people – includes: lunch & snacks, drinking water, all of the technical gear you will need for canyoneering, wetsuits (if necessary), transportation) Note: Rental Canyoneering Shoes with extra-sticky rubber are available