Road Trippin’ – Part 1 – South East Utah.

Road Trippin’ – South East Utah

For this series of posts we thought we would cover our favorite, dare we say life-changing road trips that we enjoyed during our 13 year USA tenure. An underlying theme from a lot of our American colleagues and friends was that they had never ventured out of the particular state they lived in, we thought this was madness and after taking the time to see the vast majority of the country we were able to confirm this thinking. There is so much to see and do in a country so geographically diverse that we still feel they are squandering the opportunity to explore and grow as human beings. Obviously each to their own but life is meant for living in our opinion, sitting behind a desk day after day should only ever be a temporary means to an end.

In fact the only real issue with US road trips is that they have an unfortunate tendency to set a high bar for every other place you visit in the rest of the world thereafter. People will excitedly recommend things or places to go and see but there always seems to be the thought in the back of your mind that you’ve seen something much better. You can no longer judge a place on it’s individual merits without making comparisons which is a little unfair, but a first world problem nonetheless. (This place is amazing…but I’ve seen amazinger…?)

These road trip posts are written in no particular order of favoritism for the simple reason that each has it’s own individual merits that we’ve enjoyed, the first of the series is South East Utah, in particular the following road trip:- 

[Salt Lake – Goblin Park – Arches Park – Canyonlands – Park City – Salt Lake] 

Salt Lake City 

Considering the DN long family history with the vehicle it seemed appropriate that we picked up a white Toyota Corolla rental car, it just felt like the trip was meant to be. As you drive south from the airport you easily become mesmerized by the sheer amount of mountain views around you while trying to negotiate I15 south at 70mph. Having a passenger there with you for the photographs of Wasatch Range is definitely a must if you don’t want this road trip to end before it’s begun.. 

Once the journey proceeds away from mountain views though it settles into a regular road trip until you travel further south east in the state, we did encounter a few late April end of season snow flurries along the way but nothing really to bother us. 

Goblin Valley State Park

This is a park we’ve wanted to see for a great many years but never had the opportunity living on the east coast for so long, we can thoroughly recommend putting this otherworldly place on your list if you ever plan to venture to South East Utah. The goblins, or hoodoos as they are known were formed 170 million years ago by the erosion of Entrada sandstone when this area was located next to an ancient sea, there is really nothing like running around the place like a small child. After using the area as our adult playground for a while we got back in the car to head out, there is an option at this point to explore Little Wild Horse slot canyon but we had already decided to save our slot canyon activities for Northern Arizona at a later date.
 

Arches National Park 

 

We decided to make Arches an evening visit so that we could catch the sunset at the park so we entered after 4pm. The advantage of entering the park at this time is that it is basically free with no traffic and the main bulk of the tourists are leaving to get their dinner so it is the best time for photographs. Delicate Arch was next on our list of weathered Entrada sandstone features, and given the spring weather the walk to it was very mild and temperate which we can imagine a couple of months later would definitely not have been the case. It was about a mile trek uphill for the most part with a single footpath at the end until you reach the iconic screensaver view of the arch. Once at the Arch it can get a little unnerving walking to it since it has quite a steep gradient drop off so you have to be a little careful with your footing and be especially alert if you take small children. 

For the remainder of the time we enjoyed looking at the Petroglyphs which were created between AD 1650 and 1850 by Native American ancestry, these drawings feel well placed for the area and really give you a sense of the history. We also went to Balanced rock and Courthouse towers before heading to Inca Inn which was our motel for the evening. 

Canyonlands National Park  

The following day we hit the traffic for Canyonlands park that we seemingly successfully avoided the evening before at Arches. The traffic here was very confusing, it seemed like a lot of the RV folks would stop at the booth and hold a 15 minute discussion with the ranger, blissfully not caring that there was a row of traffic behind them also waiting to enter. After the extended chat they would then turn around and head out without entering the park, we had no idea why but just a little strange and frustrating.

Once in Canyonlands you are spoilt for choice of locations to go look at and time is the only real constraint. Since we were trying to fit as much in as possible we pretty much stayed to Mesa Arch which has some breathtaking window views and then Islands in the Sky and Dead Horse Point, again simply astounding views. We then resumed the road trip back to Park City resort east of Salt Lake City. 

Park City 

At this point in our lives we are only really amateur skiers mainly because we seem to have spent our lives pursuing sunshine in lieu of winter snow. With this in mind somewhere like Park City in peak season would honestly be wasted on us so for this road trip we managed to pick up a deal at the Park City Marriott just as the ski season had concluded for about $80 for a suite for the night. This was the perfect ending to this particular stay in Utah as it basically felt like we had the entire resort to ourselves and from here we were able to explore Main Street as well as Wasatch mountain park and time for a bit of shopping at the Tanger outlet village (never miss an opportunity for some boots on the ground checking of our dividend paying companies) 

In conclusion an amazing trip taking in what we think is a must-do part of the United States, like we say the only constraint is your time available or finances for the motels in Moab which can become a lot more pricey and heavily booked as the season progresses. 

Thanks for reading, 

DN

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