BEST HIKES Arches and Canyonlands, Utah

It’s all good.

This may be the best region in the world for hikers.

i could not find a bad official hike anywhere out of Moab, Utah.

That’s a problem for someone trying to list the “best hikes”. Still, in this post I sum up recommendations for hikers coming to the area for the first time. It’s a starting point.

Travel to Moab, Utah … in a motor vehicle. The US National Park system caters to everyone, no matter how obese. No matter how obese their motor home.

But the hiker with no vehicle is looked upon with suspicion. Indeed, is cited if caught hitchhiking.

Best hikes closest to Moab:


Delicate Arch
, Arches

Devil’s Garden, Arches
Negro Bill’s Canyon

A mad walker can do these 3 dayhikes and more in a long day. Better would be 2-days.

Next drive 45min up to astonishing Dead Horse Point State Park. In fact, I suggest you stay in the car campground there, one of the best in the entire 4 corners region.

canyonlands-map.gif
source – USGS

Next, move on to Island in the Sky in Canyonlands and hike (at least) Syncline Loop. There are perhaps 6 more essential short “parking lot hikes” including Mesa Arch. You need minimum 2 days on the Island in the Sky.

I’d strongly recommend you bypass Canyonland’s The Maze entirely. It’s too remote, too dangerous. Perhaps the most isolated land mass anywhere in the lower 48 States.

Instead, take a leisurely, scenic drive down to The Needles. Spend the rest of your hiking days there starting with the Chesler Park area.

cp2.jpg
campsite CP2 – Needles

You can do a lot in a week out of Moab as access to trailheads is so easy and most of the trails short. (Two weeks would be twice as good.)

And there is plenty to interest everyone. Many of the walks are wheelchair accessible. But those looking for adventure need merely scramble off-trail up the slickrock.

Read Edward Abbey’s 1968 classic Desert Solitaire while in the desert.

The Fall is slightly better than Spring for this region. The bugs are gone by early August. October would be best — but in October 2006 some of the roads were washed out due to atypical rainy weather.

2 Replies to “BEST HIKES Arches and Canyonlands, Utah”

  1. No doubt, an excellent place to hike but what about the drinking water? Are there any reliable sources or should I carry water?

  2. I was there in the Spring after rain storms.

    Water was no problem at all.

    The rest of the year you would need to check with the Parks staff. It is possible that you would have to carry water. This is the reason there are so few established LONG hikes in Canyonlands.

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