Day 4-6 Bryce to Moab and Arches

We passed “Thunder Mountain” (the basis for Disney’s “Big Thunder Mountain”) in the dark on the way in, so we decided to take a route to Moab that took us back through that way to get a better view in the daytime. They have two arches in the road to drive through on the road between Hatch and Bryce, which is fun.

Absolutely gorgeous drive. I think the best driving day of the trip view wise (pics of drive below). Dragon Canyon/Spotted Wolf Canyon is really worth pulling over for.

an old wooden beam porch on and old west style building with a sign hanging over it saying “Arches Electronics”
store in Moab

The Canyonlands RV Resort in Moab was full of noisy people and their noisy off-road vehicles. Got woken up a lot, and they were making loud noise right up to the “quiet time” of 10PM. I suspect this is the nature of who camps at RV parks in Moab though, not that specific RV park which seemed decent and had the benefit of being right in town and walking/rolling distance to the main strip. It had a laundry but we did not use it, and a few trees around the RVs. We stayed two nights and my husband got very little sleep, so we decided to get a hotel when we got to Santa Fe (where Covid rates were pretty low).

Moab itself has a little strip of stores and restaurants with some nice handmade items. Also amusing stuff like the electronics store being in one of the oldest looking buildings. I had a boyfriend in college who lived here and got a different more local view back then (which is a blur now), but for most people this is what you see. It’s a cute town. We wanted to have dinner at the Sunset grill (which looked amazing) but covid rates were sky high in Moab when we went so we did takeout from Zax, which was fine but not amazing.

Arches National Park

Go early or be prepared to go after noon. Arches was closed when we got there at 10:30AM (at capacity for Covid). It turns out this is typical, and if you check their twitter (@ArchesNPS), they let you know when they start letting people in again (usually between 12:30 and 1:30 if you go back over the past weeks of their twitter announcements). So we got lunch in town at Quesadilla Mobilla (very good for a food truck) and came back at 1:30 and it was fine.

Once again we got in free with the Access national parks pass we got at the Grand Canyon using my handicapped placard and documentation. You can get that at any major National Park including Arches.

There are pull-over spaces and parking lots for the trailheads, all of which have handicapped parking.

Balanced Rock is a super short, totally wheelchair accessible trail from the parking lot.

Delicate Arch (the one on all the posters) has three trails, one theoretically accessible to a very distant view (still needed some help going over some bumps), another short (1 mile) hike starting from the same point that you can probably get partway up in a chair, and a 3 mile hike from a different starting point to all the way under the actual arch, which is totally inaccessible.

a series of orangish rocks with and arch of rock to the left
a super zoomed in shot of what you see from the Delicate Arch accessible trail. Note size of people.

Our favorite trails were Sand Dune Arch and Double Arch, though I could only get partway to each.

Sand Dune Arch. I was able to get as far as the last image in the first set. We saw so many ravens on this trip!

You can also see another arch in the distance that you can get to from the same trailhead as the Sand Dune arch, though I didn’t try doing that one. It was fairly flat and it might have worked.

arch of orangish rock out across a field, pale blue sky.

My husband and daughter got all the way to Sand Dune Arch (my husband’s pictures below). It was my daughter’s favorite.

Double Arch in my opinion is the most impressive for the least effort. It is a very short walk from the lot. Here is as close as I could get in the chair (with a little help getting over some curbs/bumps) before the ground got too sandy. Close enough to see how awesome it was.

And here is my husband’s photo from a little closer.

image of two huge arches of orangish rock, with the right one stacked over the left, offset and a kid in a covid mask in the forground

Neither was labeled as a wheelchair accessible trail, but I was able to get a fair way up both. Both required a little help getting over some bumps with my husband’s help. At double arch, make sure to go around the parking lot to the arch trail. If you start from the opposite side of the lot there is an island with a trail that will get you stuck in sand in the middle. You can probably get to where you can actually see it (I did), though you can’t get right under it. At that trail head there is another trail on the right side for “Windows” where you can also get to a view of some of the arches unassisted, though the trails after that point are not accessible.

image of a blonde woman in black in a red wheelchair with an arch of reddish rock behind her.

Arches is a lovely park. We only had time to see that or Canyonlands and after seeing so many canyons it was the obvious choice.

Published by Mary Corey March

I am a contemporary artist living and working in San Francisco. The root of my work is exploring both the individual person and humanity through identity, relationships, diversity, and commonality. How do we define ourselves and each other? Where do we draw the lines and what happens _on_ those lines? How to we frame our experiences? How much of our humanity can come through in a data format? Through our symbolic images? Our words? Our definitions? Our bodies? These are the questions I delve into again and again. In May of 2017 I became disabled with ME/CFS. I have since continued my artwork with the help of assistants. I am in a wheelchair outside of the home.

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