In July 2013 we went on an amazing 2+ week road trip through the west coast and the southwestern states. After finishing our time at the Grand Canyon, hanging out around Flagstaff, Arizona and visiting Native American ruins, and a brisk stop at 4 Corners National Monument we found ourselves exploring Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.
We could spend weeks exploring beautiful Utah but alas, we only had 3 short days. Aside from driving we spent our entire time around the Moab area. The town of Moab itself was a lot smaller than expected, with a population of approximately 5,000 people. You know you’re in a small town when the movie theater doesn’t even accept a debit card 😉
I enjoyed Moab…but not as much as I could have. At this point in the trip Jake and I were both exhausted and we visited during monsoon season, so it was hot and muggy during the day and hot and raining at night. Additionally, our (*cough*, my) poor choice in accommodations did little to alleviate the discomfort from the weather. “Jake, I’ve always wanted to stay in a hostel! It would be so adventurous of us!” Jake kind of tried to talk me out of it but I was unwavering in my decision. So for about $20 per night we booked it for our two night stay. And it was awful.
Our two nights got cut short to one night when I had a nervous breakdown at the thought of spending another night on this squeaky bed in the muggy room in the stinky “hostel.” I was envisioning something more like a European hostel I guess… this was more like a trailer park near some shady storage units.After fabricating a sad story for why we had to check out of the hostel a day early we enjoyed our second night elsewhere. If you are looking for a hotel recommendation in Moab I would suggest River Canyon Lodge for a cool $40 a night. Our room also came with a kitchenette and the most amazing air conditioner!
**Update: 2 years later we have still yet to encounter a hostel as bad as this! 7/7/15
Jake and I under-budgeted half a day to see this massive national park. In all the hours I spent researching before this trip I don’t know how I missed the fact that you can’t simply drive up to Delicate Arch. So with our little backpack holding our one and only bottle of water and a couple of snacks we were off to conquer the “moderate” 3 mile round trip hike to see Delicate Arch. For goodness sake, if you visit any time of year (but especially in summer!) bring AT LEAST 2 water bottles per person. We were treating the water like it was nectar (hot, plastic-y nectar) by the end of the hike.
It was 90+ Fahrenheit and mid-day on a rock face while wearing black clothing. It was pretty toasty. We were both utterly miserable about 20 minutes into the hike but we persevered and 1 hour later we were rewarded with one of the most incredible sites!
By the time we made it back to our car we were sunburned, dehydrated, overheated and absolutely exhausted so we didn’t see any other sites except for the air conditioned gift shop. I look forward to going back one day when we are in better shape and better prepared so we can take in some of the other incredible sites this national park has to offer. Seriously, arrive as early as you can and pack enough food and water. The hike doesn’t have to be as miserable as it was for us.
Other Activities to do in Moab
Moab is a fun little town to explore. Most of the shops are located on the main street and it is a very walkable town. As mentioned earlier too, they have an old movie theater but it was well priced and cooled. Otherwise, outdoor activities are the main reason people come to Moab. May it be biking or hiking the various trails, renting a jeep or all terrain vehicle (ATV) or seeing the sun rise over the red rocks from a hot air balloon- there truly is something for everyone.