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Day five of our Utah trip was split between Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. We knew we had a lot of ground to cover, so we decided again to visit the park in the evening after checking into our hotel. After getting settled in, and of course taking a quick nap, we made a plan to visit Arches until sunset. We picked a hike that was at the far end of the park to start with. When we arrived at the trail’s parking lot, it was pouring rain! We couldn’t believe that it was raining, especially since there was no rain when we left the hotel. Since we had dropped our bags off, we didn’t even have our rain jackets. We ended up sitting in the car and waiting for the rain to stop.
Once the rain lighten up to just a sprinkle, we started our hike. We passed quite a few hikers who had gotten caught out in the rain! The air was cool, but humid as we started how hike. Once the rain fully dried up and the sun started to come back we realized humid desert air is almost worst than dry desert air! The humidity made the air very thick and warm! The hike was still beautiful though and we got to see the first of many arches in the park! We finished out hike and used the last of the daylight to do a few more short hikes. Then we ended the evening sitting at a viewpoint and watching the sunset.
The next morning we woke up early to get into the park for a long hike. The hike is mostly uphill, with almost no shade, and the light rock reflects the heat of the sun. The hike to see Delicate Arch is a difficult hike but is also very popular! We had to circle the parking lot a few times until we finally got a spot. After a few days in the quieter parks, it was crazy to see so many people on this hike! We got to the top and sat with a crowd of people, all looking at the large rock arch. My husband went further to get a better look, but I stayed in one spot because the area around the arch slopes down into a deep bowl which made me nervous. It was worth the hike though, because this arch is amazing!
We finished the morning with a few short hikes, but quickly realize how hot Arches National Park can get. It was close to 100 degrees with full sun. Thankfully, we were smart enough to bring extra cooling towels and started keeping them in the ice water at the bottom of our cooler. Even then, the towels would warm up and start to dry out within 15 minutes. We were still able to see almost everything in the park, and we were glad we spent so much time exploring the night before. As lunchtime rolled around, we made a stop at the visitor center and then left to go to Canyonlands National Park next.
After we had some lunch, we drove over to Canyonlands National Park. Canyonlands is so big, that we only had time for one section of the park. We decided to visit the Island in the Sky, which was the perfect choice! Throughout all five days, this was the only park we went to in the afternoon and it was hot out! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do any longer hikes and had to cut a few stops from our list. After five full days of hiking through five National Parks, plus the 100 degree heat, we were exhausted!
Canyonlands was amazing still. We had a chance to stop at a lot of viewpoints and overlooks. It felt like we were at the grand canyon because everything was huge and as far as we could see. At some points we couldn’t even tell what was lower or higher in the distance because it was so much lower than where we were standing.
We should have planned more time for Canyonlands, but I am very glad we made the effort to check it out! It was different than any of the other parks we had been too and felt much more grand too. Once we were officially done going out in the heat, we left for Salt Lake City. The whole reason we went to Utah was for a styled shoot on the last day of our trip. We drove to just south of Salt Lake City and checked into our last hotel. During the drive we ended up seeing the best sunset of the entire trip! Then, the next morning my husband dropped my off at my styled shoot, relaxed at the hotel until check out time, and then picked me up to head to the airport.
That was the end of our crazy week of five National Parks in five days! Catch up on the adventure with the links below!
Ready to look back at some of our past trips?
Washington – PNW Trip – Part 1
Oregon & Washington – PNW Trip – Part 3
Alecs Kay Photography is a Wedding & Portrait Photographer in Fargo, ND