Before we leave we ask the person at the motel for the most scenic route to the Canyonlands National Park. He suggest to take the road just next to the motel to the right and follow it all the way over the Abajo Mountain.
We follow his suggestion and once more are fascinated by the natural beauty we encounter. Soon we are driving through the forest (Manti La Sal Forest) which is covering the whole mountain. We “climb” up to 10,200 feet (3’100 Meter) and we see at least 20 deers, an owl and a squirrel. On the way down from the mountain we can already catch a glimbs of Canyonlands. The road ends just before Newspaper Rock State Park.
We have a quick look at the Newspaper Rock and continue on to The Needles. The Needles District forms the southeastern portion of Canyonlands National Park. Its signature features are colorful sandstone spires – hundreds of them poking up from the desert floor. There are also entrenched canyons, natural arches and sheer-walled cliffs in this vast, rugged landscape. There we explore all the possible gravel and dirt roads, but the 4×4 Jeep trail starting at Elephant Hill is too much for us (we later find out that it is one of the most challenging 4×4 trails in the world anyway). We are not up to that much offroading today.
In the afternoon we drive to Moab (finally we reach our destination) and shop around for an affordable room. After some asking around we find one, check in and hopp in the car again to Arches National Park. Arches National Park contains the world’s largest concentration of natural stone arches. This National Park is a red, arid desert, punctuated with oddly eroded sandstone forms such as fins, pinnacles, spires, balanced rocks, and arches. The 73,000-acre region has over 2,000 of these “miracles of nature”. First we check out some of the popular view points and then we try a dirt road it’s about 8 miles and it connects to HWY 191 back to Moab. The fist 2 miles are ok and then it gets tougher and tougher until we reach a point where we have to ask ourselves “do we really want this?”. It’s already close to sunset and we would have another at least 4 miles of unknown terrain ahaead of us. “No, not today”. Back on the scenic road we enjoy the sunset which dips the rocks into a orange/golden light. A sight we would not want to miss, it’s so terrific and Marco is taking some real postcard pictures.
Overnight Stay: JR’s Desert Inn, Moab, UT
Dinner: We skip it, as it is already late.
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