This is a continuation of a travel series to Utah. To start at the beginning, go HERE. The rest of the posts in chronological order are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE,HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE!
Welcome to the sixteenth and FINAL post of my Utah travel series! First, a big thank you for those who stuck it out for all sixteen weeks! Second, a big apology to those who thought I dragged it out
too long. I did this series hike by hike instead of just a generalized overview of the three Utah parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches. The main reason I did this is because this is what I prefer when I start researching an area I want to travel to. I want to know what trails other hikers took because I don't want to waste my time on a trail that is not for me. The average travel post is very generalized and just gives a brief overview of the destination and usually gives recommendations on where to eat and stay. I could care less about where I stay or eat. We save money on our trips by driving instead of flying, and by staying at more inexpensive hotels and eating only one meal a day out. We definitely do NOT eat that one meal at an expensive restaurant. When we travel, we are running about exploring like crazy and spend very little time in our hotel room. Spending a lot of money on accommodations is not important to us. But, spending our time wisely is important to us, as we never seem to have enough time to see everything we want to see. So, when I come home and write these posts, I have that in mind.
Now, onto the last day of our vacation. On day five of our vacation we were up before sunrise and saw Balanced Rock, hiked the Windows Trail, checked out the Skyline Arch and the Sand Dune Arch. But we had one hike left before we could jump in the car and make the long drive home, and that was to see "Landscape Arch". Landscape Arch is probably the second most famous arch in Arches National Park, with the "Delicate Arch" being the most well known. We were unable to see this arch on our first visit to the park in 2016, and because we knew it wouldn't last much longer (it's expected to break soon), we really wanted to see it while it was still intact.
The Landscape Arch trail is a moderately easy trail on a hard-packed surface with some elevation gain. There are short side trips to Tunnel and Pine Tree Arch, but you have to hike down to get to those arches and it's quite the steep climb back up.
I thought the terrain on this trail was different from the rest of the park. It seemed more rugged and natural.
From Landscape Arch you can also take another trail to see Double O Arch, but this trail is very primitive and is a difficult route that requires lots of rock scrambling with steep, exposed slopes. My husband and son started this trail to explore it a bit, while I stayed behind and rested at Landscape Arch. The picture below shows my son in front, leading the pack on the start of the trail from Landscape Arch.
As for Landscape Arch, this is an arch not to be missed! It's the longest arch in the park and the fifth longest arch in the world. You can only take the trail up to a fence to view the arch as it is so delicate they don't want visitors hiking underneath it in case it collapses.
The arch is 306 feet long but spans only 11 feet thick at its center.
We enjoyed hiking this unique trail to Landscape Arch, but by the time we arrived in this area, it was already mid-day so it was hot and busy with other hikers.
A side trail spurs off the main trail and leads you to two more arches: Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. Pine Tree arch is a gorgeous arch because it provides a window to the extraordinary landscape of Arches National Park.
The picture below shows the other side of Pine Tree Arch, named after the Pine Tree growing in front of it I assume.
And the last arch is Tunnel Arches. This one is viewed only from a distance. It has a viewing platform below. It is a quite tall, thick fin of sandstone with a tunnel in the middle...hence the name.
And that concludes my Utah Travel post! One of my regular readers, Ellie, asked me to do a post on which park and hike was my favorite. I decided not to do yet another Utah post, but to let you know here which ones were my favorite and why. Zion National Park was my absolute favorite Utah park and the best National Park I've been to yet. The beauty of that park is unparalleled to any place I've ever been to before. And my favorite hike was also in that park: The Narrows! Hiking the Narrows was one of the greatest thrills of my life. It is such a unique trail, because you are walking in a river the entire time, but again, the beauty of that trail is like nothing I've ever seen before.
That being said, I'd like to briefly summarize all three parks for you. Zion, although the most beautiful, is the least family friendly. There are a few easy trails like the Pa'rus Trail, Riverside Walk, and Lower Emerald Pools that anyone can hike and are wheelchair/stroller accessible, but most are for the adventurous who are not afraid of heights as the trails are steep with lots of drop offs. The MOST family friendly park is Arches. Although there are a few strenuous trails here (like Delicate Arch) most of the arches you can see right from the road, or a short .5 round trip hike from the parking lot. Many of the trails are paved or hard-packed sand so they are stroller friendly. Bryce Canyon falls somewhere in the middle of the two parks. Anyone can drive right up to the parking lot of the canyon rim and see the canyon and take the paved Rim Walk. But all the rest of the trails require hiking DOWN into the canyon, and you know if you go down you have to climb back up to the rim. Some people may find any trail, other than the Rim Walk, difficult because of the steep climb back up. However, there are many nice short walks down into the canyon, my favorite being "Wall Street" that less adventurous hikers can take. For those who like a more challenging hike, there are plenty of options there too; our favorite challenging hike in Bryce was "Peekaboo Loop".
For next week's Travel Post I'm going to share a little nature center in Illinois that I visited with the grand kids
last fall; then, I will reveal where my husband and I plan to vacation in 2020!
Have A Great Day! Amy
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