The Drive to Moab
History has not always been a subject that I have enjoyed. However, while traveling, my wife and I seek out the history of our travels. Learning about the places we travel to, seem to be more important to me, than being forced to learn history like I was in my academic career. We have shared the information that has intrigued us with loved ones, and now, we want to share it with you — in fact it’s too great not to mention. Grab a drink and maybe a snack. Sit back, and enjoy the history of our trip to Moab, we certainly did.
Living in central Utah, we have two route options to Moab. Drive time and mileage were comparable. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience the beauty of both routes. Friday, our adventure began taking I-15 to Scipio (US-50), then merging onto I-70. We stopped at a rest stop in the Devils Canyon area on I-70, approximately 1.5 hours west of Moab (if you reach exit 116, you’ve gone too far). The view of the light colored rocky mountains and the dark green trees was quite impressive. The colors contrast and compliment one another very well. Upon arrival, we observed a few Indians carefully laying out their handcrafted pottery and jewelry on the sidewalk in front of the parking lot. It was interesting that they chose this particular rest area to sell their unique goods. It was also apparent that even if one was not in need of any type of rest, that this area should be put on a travelers radar anyway. We don’t have any use for purchasing materialistic things that we won’t ever use, but we recommend visiting this beautiful area. And IF you enjoy collecting traveling trinkets, we suggest purchasing at least one of their charming pieces.
Green River Tamarisk Restaurant
Our first year together was tough. My wife didn’t concern herself with any type of meal schedule. She ate when she was hungry, which wasn’t very often. I, on the other hand, had daily calories to maintain. I found my energy, and sugar levels were lower when we were together. My calorie intake suffered tremendously, and occasionally my hands trembled. That woman of mine, somehow made me forget about eating. Needless to say, she now consumes food on a regular meal schedule.
We stopped for lunch at the Tamarisk Restaurant in Green River. A small Utah town of approximately 1,000 people. This restaurant was established in 1979, and located on the banks of the Green River. The river is a 730 mile river beginning in Wyoming, and meandering through Utah, with Colorado claiming a mere 40 miles of it. 450 miles is channeled through Utah until it combines with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park.
We recommend dining at Tamarisk Restaurant if you are looking to have a great view of the river. Dine in a clean and well kept facility. Have great service. And have the option to eat fabulous food, whether you desire comfort foods or traditional healthy foods. I ordered a coconut crusted tilapia with mango salsa and steamed broccoli. And a bunless garden burger, with fresh vegetables for my wife — delicious!
Dead Horse Point State Park
Our pleasant dining experience was complete. Continuing on our route once again towards Moab, we veered onto SR 313 which leads to Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park. We decided that Canyonlands needed more time devoted to it than what we had on this trip. From the exit to the state park, it is a 23 mile scenic route. Ten million years of erosion formed these beautiful canyons and buttes. The Colorado River flows through these spectacular rock formations on its way to the Gulf of California. This state park provides activities such as sightseeing, hiking, cycling, and camping. The park is open year-round from 6am-10pm. The grounds are well kept with a visitor center that sells drinks and snacks. There is an on-site Espresso truck, but keep in mind that it is NOT a Starbucks — the sign posted on the truck will remind you, if you happen to forget. We arrived around 1pm, busy for a Friday afternoon. One could easily spend at least 4 hours exploring this park. We only spent a short time admiring its beauty, like most people who are on a tight traveling schedule. Before leaving the area, we took a short drive to Dead Horse Point Overlook. Gorgeous panoramic views, and numerous picnic areas with shade if you were needing to get out of the sun’s unforgiving rays for a moment. Legend has it that cowboys had corralled wild horses 2,000 feet above the Colorado River, and left them for reasons unknown. With water in site, but not in reach, these horses had no choice but to surrender to the inhospitable elements of the desert.
Side note — keep track of your personal belongings, especially your wallet and/or purse, because not everyone is as honest as my wife, who found a wallet in the bathroom stall, and immediately released it to the care of the visitor center.
Hyatt Place Moab
Built in 2018 with modern design, Hyatt Place Moab was our hotel destination. The staff is friendly. The rooms are pleasant and clean. Getting a good night’s rest was problematic for light sleepers like us. The A/C is extremely noisy. Waking us up every time it cycled on and off. The pool and hot tub are decent sized, bigger than we have seen at any other hotel thus far. A free breakfast is available with the purchase of your room. The food wasn’t anything to rave about, as it was a typical carb loaded breakfast with very little protein options.
Colorado River Scenic Byway U-128
We aren’t much for watching television. We are explorers and adventures. Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway U-128 was nearby. The incredible views were calling our names. The drive consisted of winding roads, fit for a sports car, and tall red rock formations with views of the Colorado River below. There are many campsites and picnic areas along this route. We did not complete the entire route — a man has to eat. The route continues through the La Sal Range and loops back to Moab on the La Sal Loop Road, approximately 60 miles. Allow 2 hours for driving this scenic route.
Broken Oar Restaurant
As my energy level depleted, dinner was upon us. I was thankful that I had previously made reservations for 7pm at the Broken Oar Restaurant. It’s a very busy restaurant with a parking lot that is not able to keep up with the restaurants demands. We parked in the bakery parking lot to the east; thankful they are closed in the evenings. We ordered Halibut with Tzatziki sauce and asparagus, thinking that it was a healthy option. The fish was cooked well, but the amount of salt that was used to flavor the dish was overbearing, and in our opinions, extremely unnecessary. We will not return to this restaurant. Reservations are recommended if you decide to brave or even like the taste of salt instead of the actual flavors of your prepared dish. It would be cheaper to just purchase a container of salt, and eat the salt by the spoonful. We did take a photo of our dishes, the presentation was nice, but still not worth our time to include a photo on our blog.
Arches National Park
A great chunk of our Saturday was spent five to ten minutes north of Moab — destination, Arches National Park. With temperatures this time of year in the upper 60’s at night, and the upper 80’s during the day. We suggest the fall season for optimal temperatures, even though it is open 365 days per year. Operating hours for the visitors center is 9am-4pm with extended hours during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. We arrived around 9:30am on a Saturday, typically the busiest day of the week. We waited about five minutes before we were able to access the entrance station. We were able to find a place to park at every stop as vehicles pulled in and out of the various parking lots. Too much to see for a one day trip to remain at one destination for too long. It was apparent that others felt the same. The map of the park is very easy to read, and quite handy. Our day at the Arches went a little something like this:
Leaving the visitor center we followed the road as it gained elevation offering remarkable scenery along the way. Park Avenue was our first stop, and the first major attraction upon entering the park. It was an easy 2 mile round trip trail. If you are an individual that has to have a destination in site, this trail does not offer that typical landmark at the end of the trail. Instead it is presented with great views looking up from the bottom of the canyon to the gigantic red rock towers above.
Our next stop was Delicate Arch. This arch is the parks most popular arch, and a definite must see. As an option for the background on the Utah license plate, it is one of Utah’s greatest treasures. There are two different options to be able to view Delicate Arch. One way is to drive to the viewpoints, but you are only offered a distant view of the awe-inspiring, 60-foot-tall, famous, sandstone landmark. The second option is to hike the 3 mile round-trip trail which begins at Wolfe Ranch Trailhead. The park has rated the trail as difficult, but it’s relative to one’s hiking experiences. For my wife and I, it wasn’t a struggle in the slightest. Exposure to heights and falling hazards was minimal. Many young children and elderly individuals completed this trail; resting when needed. Signs are posted at the Wolfe Ranch trailhead “heat kills”, please remember that water is needed, and we recommend hiking shoes, not flip flops; the trail is mostly slickrock. If you attempt this hike during midday of the summer season, we strongly advise at least one liter of water, and that you are in good physical health. Shade is non existent while on the trail. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are sneaky; educate yourself to stay safe.
The trail consistently seemed to be dressed with people; hardly ever a naked spot on it. The populous trail did not keep us from moving at our own pace. There is plenty of room, even on the rock fin to get around those that are moving at a slower pace than you. Please don’t be rude. Don’t rush anyone. Allow people to admire the majestic paradise that is Arches National Park at their own pace.
You can feel Delicate Arch is nearby, but it’s still not yet visible. As you come around the last turn on the rock fin, you glance to the right. The prominence of the arch and all of its magnificence, strikes the very heart of your soul, and you struggle to believe what your eyes are seeing. “Can this be real?” You find yourself asking the powers that be. Photographs of this splendor are beautiful, but cannot provide the recognition that this arch deserves. People come from all over the world to admire its glory. It’s crazy to think that such a serene place was created by millions of years of erosion, deposition, and other geologic events. People are courteous as they all take turns snapping that famous picture of themselves under the breathtaking arch. It was too windy for tripods to be set up. People were content taking photos for someone else, so that their adventure could be recalled by an unbelievable photographic moment.
The other arches and rock formations that we stopped to admire, were definitely not the ‘famous’ Delicate Arch, but all glorious in their own right, and deserve recognition for their stunning views.
Skyline Arch is an easy half mile round-trip walk, if you would like a closer view. However, you can snap a picture from the roadside if you didn’t want to walk the trail.
The Windows is also an easy 1 mile round-trip trail. Offering views of the north and south windows with the Turret Arch slightly off to the southwest.
Double Arch, another half mile easy trail. Northwest from the Windows Trailhead. No need to move your vehicle to view this unique, marvelous formation after wandering on The Windows Trail. Both trails can be accessed from the same parking lot.
Balanced Rock provides a .3 mile walking trail around the base of the formation, if you would like to be up close and personal. Or you can snap a picture from the parking lot. Both views are superb.
Arches National Park Visitor Center
Our last stop prior to ending our day at the Arches National Park; the Visitor Center. Food of any kind is not sold here, but a free water bottle fill station is available. Plus, the facility is clean and lots of educating to be had. The bathroom facilities were also clean, that’s always a plus for us.
Our day at the Arches is complete. We are dirty, and a bit sweaty, and looking forward to a bit of relaxation in the hotel pool before dinner.
Bangkok House Too
Once again, dinner was planned for 7pm, our destination Bangkok House Too. Outside dining does include being misted. My wife doesn’t like that too much, as her hair frizzes with the moisture. We sat inside, but it was a little too warm for my liking. The food was delicious, fresh, and reasonably priced. The service was very professional. I ordered Teriyaki Chicken with steamed vegetables for myself, and Asian Green Stir Fry with chicken for my wife. — absolutely scrumptious!
Hurrah Pass Road / Chicken Corners Trail
Sunday morning arrives quicker than we desire, as our main destination for the day is home. We packed up our belongings and checked out of the hotel. Before leaving Moab we decided to visit Hurrah Pass Road which leads to Chicken Corners Trail. It’s a very scenic drive next to the Colorado River, and through the canyons. The drive is approximately 42 miles out and back. Trail is rated at a 2, which is a fairly easy 4×4 trail. Many people come to sight see, hike, drive, or ride the trail on mountain bikes, dirt bikes, and ATV/UTV’s. It’s beauty is beyond impressive.
The Drive Home
As we mentioned previously, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drive both routes. We took US-6 through Price and Spanish Fork home. The drive offered more sensational views, except in various areas of Spanish Fork Canyon where the Pole Creek fire had demolished a great deal of land. There was relief to see breathing plant life amongst the charred land.
Come back again and again and again.
We invite you to continue traveling with us. Along the way we will also provide some entertainment. Soon, a short story regarding the red rocks in Moab will be debuted on this page. We would love for you to revisit and enjoy the written works of a new aspiring writer, Anneberly Andrews aka, my wife, Kimberly LaDamus.
Short Story: Red Rock Tall Tales