Arches National Park, Utah
While I would describe myself as an outdoor enthusiast, I would never call myself a camper. I value hot water and a bed too much. When I found Moab Under Canvas right outside of Arches National Park, I was beyond thrilled. I would finally get to go glamping! This was an exciting prospect because all of my actual camping experiences involved torrential downpours or sleeping on asphalt. No thanks.
Moab Under Canvas was such a cool experience. At night we made S’mores over a fire with fellow travelers. It was a nice way to meet people from all over the world and swap crazy National Park travel stories. The glamping site was also a great location to photograph the Milky Way, which you could see with the naked eye. Back home in Connecticut, it is too difficult to see due to light pollution. Luckily, Moab does not have that problem.
The tents were very comfortable. Our tent was furnished with two twin beds pushed together, a dresser, solar lamp, and a water sprayer for you to cool down right in front of the tent. (We were there in July and the heat was oppressive, but it cools down a lot at night.) We spent two nights at Moab Under Canvas and quickly became accustomed to waking up with the sunrise, watching the surrounding rocks glow and change colors as the sun crept further into the sky. Each morning we took advantage of ordering a take-away breakfast for the day of adventures at Arches National Park.
When we arrived at the Arches National Park entrance, we were instantly in a world of dramatic red rocks all around us. Right after we entered the park, we hit a pretty steep and windy road on the way to trail heads. There were many moments I gripped onto the door handle until I had white knuckles. This park is not for people who are scared of heights.
We were traveling at the end of July, and Arches National Park was packed with busloads of tourists, RVS, and more. Amanda and I tried to keep a tally of the different languages we overheard in the parking lot. We listened to people speaking French, German, Chinese, and more. It was really cool to go hours without hearing anyone speak English.
We decided to take the Delicate Arch trail to a short loop to get a glimpse of the Ute Indian petroglyphs. This only adds about 10 minutes to the Delicate Arch hike. It was worth checking this out to see big horned sheep and horse petroglyphs on the rocks.
Back on the main trail, the way up to Delicate Arch is a steady incline for the entire 3 miles. It takes about 3 hours round trip. Most of the time you are hiking on slip rock, so make sure to wear your hiking boots. Once you get to the top, you will find a line of people waiting to get a picture under the arch. I think we waited about an hour to get our picture taken, patiently waiting for the amateur yogis who decided to do inversion selfies.
We found that right after the sunset was one of the best times to wander around the park and to take dramatic photos. Photographers refer to this time as the Blue Hour. This next photo is from the Windows Arch trail taken during the Blue Hour, just before the sky became too dark.
National Park exploring can require a lot of patience and kindness. It is easy to get frustrated with the throngs of people always in the way. But that is the beauty of national parks. They are meant for everyone. There is even a place for that person doing a handstand under the Arch.