The geography of Utah from Provo south and east to Moab changed at least a dozen times from snow-capped and tree-covered mountains to high desert basin back to slate-looking mountains and then the stunning red rocks and canyons. We followed the Colorado River to the Corona and Bowtie Arch trailhead just north of Moab. The hike is about three miles round trip and offers two beautiful arches. There is actually a third arch (Pinto), but you have to take a separate trail at the halfway point. With no shade and only one bottle of water, we opted for the two arch payoff. There was a railroad crossing and a few scrambles plus a chain assist and a ladder!
This is our second visit to this adventure-loving town. There are two great National Parks (Arches and Canyonlands) plus numerous hiking and biking paths. We found some terrific hikes outside of the National Parks. Right in town, there is a multi purpose path that follows the Mill Creek. There are some great murals including a rainbow arch and inspiring words. There is also shade provided by the abundant cottonwood trees. This is the time of year that the ‘cotton’ flies from the trees like snow; it is beautiful and wild, unless you are sneezing with a pollen allergy!
Another multi-use paved path with great scenery and a river view begins at the Lions Gate Hub. From here you can get to Arches National Park and also to Grandstaff State Park. Most of this path is without shade so we made this a journey and enjoyed the scenery for a while before heading to our next adventure.
A refreshing dip in our hotel pool followed by lunch in town at the appropriate Trailhead restaurant was the perfect reset before another hike. We took a beautiful ride past spectacular rock formations on the way to Moonflower Canyon. Everything here was a treat! At the head of the trail we came upon ripe mulberries. We sampled a few and then quickly came upon amazing Petroglyphs. The trail is also filled with cottonwood trees and we experienced a true blizzard.
The temperature read 98 degrees when we arrived at Grandstaff Canyon and any whips of cloud was not going to provide shade. The hike to the Morning Glory Arch said 4.8 miles out and back, but we opted to take the advice of the park ranger and make this a short journey and look at the arch online.
Our final hiking spot for the day is actually on the side of the highway about 20 miles south of Moab. There are parking pullovers on both sides of the road and even 18 wheelers pull over to admire and sometimes climb the slippery and sandy rock to the top of Wilson Arch. At about the three quarters mark, my shoes started slipping and I got too nervous to climb to the top. It is a pretty impressive arch.
Moab is a town filled with fun and wonder. Our hikes filled our spirits with joy, the big dark sky filled with zillions of stars thrilled our hearts and our memories of the red rocks and the mighty Colorado River with be with us always.