Day 11 – Canyonlands and Arrival in Moab

Through the Dirty Windshield

Canyonlands National Park to start our day. Now, finally, in our favorite spot, Moab.

Itinerary:

  • 11:40 am Visited Newspaper Rock Archaeological Site
  • 12:20 pm Entered Canyonlands National Park southern entrance
  • 1:00 pm Began hiking Confluence Overlook Trailhead
  • 2:40 pm Began walking Pothole Point
  • 3:15 pm Viewed Wooden Shoe Arch
  • 5:00 pm Reached the RV in Moab

Our Adventure:

We had an amazing night sleep in quiet Monticello. I will say the Monticello Inn was super comfortable despite being the least expensive place we’ve stayed so far on our entire trip. Today was our first time in Monticello, but it may have earned a permanent spot on future trips to the area.

Upon leaving Monticello, we noticed a sign for Canyonlands. We decided to head straight in for a fun day of hiking and light rock climbing. The ride in from the main road was over 30 miles, but there were some scenic overlooks and pull-offs throughout.

(Please note: When you are in the Western portion of the US small areas on a map are huge.)

Newspaper Rock

Our first stop, Newspaper Rock Archaeological Site, showcased a massive set of petroglyphs. Archaeologists believe these petroglyphs were etched into the Sandstone over the course of approximately 2000 years from BC time until 1300AD. They also believe that several tribal groups created the art here.

The Navajo refer to this rock as “Tse’ Hane'”, which translates to “Rock that tells a story.” However, the actual meaning or meanings of these petroglyphs are left to individual interpretation as they have not been deciphered to anything specific.

Tip: 

  • Much of the southern portion of Canyonlands requires a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle and a permit.

Canyonlands

From the south entrance of Canyonlands, there are only a few major stops for hikes and photography. Due to this, we road to the end of the main road and worked our way back.

Confluence Overlook TrailHead

Starting at Confluence Overlook Trailhead, we hiked and climbed around 2 miles of the 10-mile trail. When we got started, we didn’t pay attention to the length and didn’t bring enough water to go the full length as it was a rather challenging trail.

The Confluence Overlook trail requires trekking up and down over several large rocks with some actual climbing. There are several areas not far in where you reach high points overlooking the surrounding area. This trail is the hardest I have personally done, but I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed the small bits of rock climbing I had to do to proceed on.

Tip:

  • If you plan to camp, it requires a backcountry permit available at the visitors center. Several places at Canyonlands do require permits.

Pothole Point

Next, we went to Pothole Point. Being from Massachusetts, I jokingly stated it reminded me of home. Pothole Point is a rather short trail of .6 miles and is a loop around some large rocks that surround the potholed rock. Virtually any level of fitness could handle this trail, and it is at a high point, so it’s perfect for overlooking the land.

Wooden Shoe Arch

Wooden Shoe Arch Canyonlands National Park
Wooden Shoe Arch Canyonlands National Park

Our last stop within Canyonlands for the day was Wooden Shoe Arch. This arch is viewable from pull off on the side of the road, so no walking is necessary. It’s almost funny how this massive piece of rock on top of a mesa really does look just like a wooden shoe. Not sure if the pictures will do it justice, but definitely a refreshing sight.

Wildlife

As for wildlife, we saw several small lizards and various insects, none too scary or poisonous. There were also several species of birds and even a turkey.

On to Moab!

Upon leaving the National Park, we headed straight into Moab (pronounced Moe-ab) to the same RV park we stayed at last year. We love it here, and if we don’t eventually move here, this will likely be a yearly destination for us.

We will be in Moab until Friday, hiking and off-road adventures are on the itinerary. It looks like we may lose one day to a major rain storm, but hoping for the best for now.

Links:

This is Why You Should Visit Moab, Utah

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