Friday afternoon, I decided to pack up and head back to Moab for a weekend of hiking and fun. Staying a night at the familiar Willow Springs Road that night, I woke early and headed into Arches National Park to do the Devils Garden Primitive Loop hike. Once complete, I headed to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, finding a campsite at Hamburger Rock, just outside of that park.
Staying in Grand Junction had been fun, and I was successfully able to get an oil change and new brakes on Tivona, along with visiting Colorado National Monument. However, I was ready to head back into Moab to revisit Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.
After buying supplies, I headed directly into the Island In the Sky District of Canyonlands, where I was able to pick up some topographic maps and take some quick views of the canyons below. However, I decided not to spend any further time, heading directly to find a campsite on Willow Springs Road. I was able to find camp, although the area was absolutely packed.
I setup camp for the night and set an alarm to wake early, headed into Arches. I ended up on the road before 8am, arriving at the Devils Garden Trailhead with tons of parking still open.
Starting the hike, there were a few people on the trails, but it was easy and quiet hiking to see the obviously accessible Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Landscape Arch. The stone looked wonderful in the early morning light, and I was pleased to have a quiet experience at an area that would prove to be remarkably busy later in the day.
From this point, I jumped onto the more primitive trail leading up to Partition Arch and Navajo Arch, including some light scrambling and exposure to find my way, before heading on to Double O Arch and Black Angel. I skipped the Black Arch overlook, thinking that I would come back to it, but alas I never did. I guess that’s just something I’ll have to do another time in the future!
Finally, I hopped onto the primitive trail looping back to the trailhead. As the day progressed, the trail kept getting more and more busy, but I was pleased with the general level of quiet that did exist the entire time on the primitive trail. That is something that is truly difficult to find at many of these more known national parks, especially during the busy seasons, such as what Arches is currently in the middle of.
Alas, I met back up to the main trail, finding it to be absolutely packed with people just after noon. The quiet of the morning was gone, and I was more concerned with navigating the crowds than navigating the trails. Even the parking lot was packed full of people when I got back to Tivona and headed back out of the park.
For the afternoon, as I began relaxing from the nearly 8 mile hike, I drove South 2 hours to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The drive through this section is short and the scenery is minimal. The drive through the Indian Creek Recreation Area was longer and almost more notable, from the road. However, I stopped to take some pictures of the views around the canyons and needles and hike the small Pothole Trail before heading back out to find a campsite.
I had marked several possible campsites just outside of the camp prior to heading down, and I was happy to find an open site at Hamburger Rock. Setting up camp and playing, scrambling around the rock feature that the campground is based around, I stopped to stare at the absolutely marvelous stars at night prior to heading to bed, preparing for a long day to follow.