In July of 2015 we set out on a grand vacation through the southwest. We traveled for 21 days and over 6,000 miles, visiting 5 states and 9 National Parks. We explored new places and met up with old friends. Overall, it was an incredible journey and everyone learned so much. You can view all posts about our wild west adventure here.
Destination: Arches National Park
Date of Visit: July 2015
Kids: Cole (age 8) & Kiley (age 5)
Length of Stay: 3 Days & 3 Nights
After our day in Canyonlands National Park, we spent the night at our amazing hotel in Moab. I can’t recommend the Gonzo Inn enough. The rooms were clean and very spacious, they had a laundry room where I could wash clothes and a nice pool. It was one of the best places we stayed on our trip out west. We woke up early and it was actually overcast and surprisingly cool. Someone told us it was the coolest day in July that Moab had seen in the last 20 years. This was awesome for us because I was worried about we were going to be hot. We began our day by heading up to Landscape Arch. The hike was great, nice and cool. This is an easy hike for the kids because it is fairly flat and sandy.
After Landscape Arch, we headed over to the Delicate Arch viewpoint. I had originally planned for us to get up early and hike to Delicate, but since we had booked a Fiery Furnace hike for our last day I didn’t want to overdo it. It turns out that this was a great decision because the Fiery Furnace was extremely strenuous and I probably would have killed the kids attempting to do 2 difficult hikes in 2 days. After the Delicate Arch viewpoint we found a place to eat a little lunch.
Our after lunch adventure was my favorite for the day. We hiked up to Double Arch where you can climb around under the arch and explore a little in the rocks. The kids really enjoyed this one and the fact that there is quiet a bit of shade under the Arch helped. The clouds had cleared by this point and it was starting to get hot. This is an easy and short hike to do with kids. There were even people pushing strollers along the sandy trail.
On our way back down to the Visitor Center we stopped at Balancing Rock because Cole was dying to take this picture. Then it was time for another Junior Ranger badge and back to the hotel for some swimming.
On our second full day in Moab we decided to spend some time leisurely exploring the town. This was the first real souvenir and window shopping we had done since we started our trip. We had passed this real life Tow-Mater truck near hotel and the kids wanted to stop for a picture. The next order of business was the Rock Shop.
We wandered around a little more and bought a few t-shirts and loitered in a bookstore before grabbing some lunch. After lunch we headed over to Canyonlands by Night and Day for our boat tour. The boat tour took us up the Colorado River where we got to see arches, petroglyphs and lots of other fun landmarks. Our guide was great and very knowledgeable. This was the perfect relaxing day in Moab, and I’m glad we took the time to chill a little. The next day we would hike the Fiery Furnace trail inside Arches and it was strenuous to say the least. I’m going to dedicate a separate post to that experience, so stay tuned.
Highlights: Hiking to Double Arch was everyone’s favorite part of our day in the park. Everyone also enjoyed exploring the town. This was the the biggest “town” we saw on our trip so it was fun to do a little souvenir shopping with the kids.
What We Would Change: Really, I wouldn’t change much about our time at Arches. I think we saw pretty much everything that was kid friendly enough to hike to. I’m glad we had planned to pack our lunches in on the first day, because it does take a while to get all the way back out to the park to eat.
Recommended Reading: I highly recommend the Foder’s guide to National Parks of the West, we used it when planning our trip and it was a great resource. I liked that there were plenty of suggestions to exploring the parks with kids.