Ep. 97: Arches National Park & Moab | Utah camping RV travel

Hey folk, welcome back to GrandAdventure! I'm your host Marc Guido, and we're back out again with my buddy Bob.

You may remember Bob from a couple of our episodes last year, including when wewent out in the West Desert, out the Pony Express Trail in search of — and finding –a herd of wild horses.

If you haven't seen that episode yet, it's a pretty coolone.

I'll put a link right up here on the screen and you can go check it out.

Butin the meantime we're down in the Moab, Utah area, right outside of ArchesNational Park.

We're about ten miles north of town and the entrance gate toArches.

We're going to do some camping here and then head over to Arches for somehiking to a couple of the key arches in the park.

So stay tuned! For this episode we're camped at DaltonWells, a popular boondocking area just north of Moab.

There's little left herenow to show the role that Dalton Wells played in two of the most significantevents in 20th century US history.

During the New Deal in the 1930s thesite was the location of a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp.

Later when theCCC camp was no longer in use, the site was used as a relocation camp forJapanese Americans during World War II, following a riot at California'sManzanar facility in December of 1941.

The unrest began after the beating ofone of the internees, Fred Toyama.

Guards at the camp fired into a crowd ofinternees, killing two and injuring numerous others.

Following the event, those internees identified as troublemakers at Manzanar were shippedto Dalton Wells.

At its height Dalton Wells housed 49 internees.

In April of1943 the Dalton Wells inmates were transferred to Arizona , and eventuallyback to California.

The site at Dalton Wells is now listed on theNational Register of Historic Places.

Nowadays the area surrounding DaltonWells offers a convenient boondocking spot for campers and ATVers.

Visitors needto traverse a 100-yard wide dry wash with deep sand at the entrance to DaltonWells, so four-wheel drive is recommended.

Nocamping is permitted along the first half mile of the road off of US-191, and many RVers congregate in large open areas just beyond that first halfmile.

However, the best sites are located further back in like ours, which wasalong a side trail and peppered with junipers.

A large slickrock just outsidethe camper door functioned just like a paved patio.

It was, in a word, perfect.

This is Utah state school trust andsovereign land.

Be forewarned that due to its proximity to Moab, Dalton Wells canbe very busy on spring weekends, but we had all the space we needed during ourmidweek visit in late April.

There are fewer campers than you'll find at nearbyWillow Springs, but sites are not as dispersed as they are further northalong Klondike Bluffs Road.

Our campsite at Dalton Wells is only 10miles from the entrance to Arches National Park, home to more than 2, 000natural sandstone arches.

The nearly 77, 000-acre park wasoriginally named a National Monument in 1929, and was redesignated as a NationalPark in 1971.

This is a very popular National Park, receiving more than 1.

6million visitors in 2018.

Most of the arches were formed by wind and watererosion in the salmon-colored Entrada Sandstone layer that sits atopthe vast buff-colored Navajo Sandstone layer that is prevalentthroughout this portion of eastern Utah.

Approved recreational activities withinthe park include auto touring, backpacking, biking, camping and hiking, some of which require permits.

Guided commercial tours and Ranger programs arealso available.

After climbing the park road from the Visitor Center, the firstmajor area of the park you'll see is Park Avenue and the Courthouse Towersarea.

You can walk among massive monoliths and towering walls to seeviews of the nearby La Sal Mountains topping out at over 12, 000 feet.

Thesheer walls of this canyon reminded early visitors of buildings lining a bigcity street.

The viewpoint is paved and accessiblefor people using wheelchairs, and beyond the viewpoint a hiking trail descendssteeply into the spectacular canyon and continues one mile to Courthouse Towers.

Balanced Rock — one of the most iconicfeatures in the park — stands a staggering 128 feet tall.

The slickrock boulder of Entrada Sandstone sits attached to its erodingpedestal of Dewey Bridge mudstone.

Eventually, erosion will bring the 3, 600ton boulder tumbling down.

In the winter of 1975/76, Balanced Rock's smaller sibling — called Chip-Off-the-Old-Block — collapsed just this way.

So, Delicate Arch is one of Utah'sstate symbols.

Heck, it's it's even appearing on ourlicense plates.

So Bob and I are going to go take a hike to Delicate Arch.

Visiting Delicate Arch is on the top of many visitors' to-do lists.

One of themost famous geologic features in the world, the light opening beneath the archis 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, making it the largest freestanding arch in thepark.

You must get out of the car to view Delicate Arch.

You can walk a half mileto the Upper Viewpoint to see the arch a mile away, but the way to see it up closeand personal requires a three-mile round trip hike with a 480-foot elevation gain.

Along this steadily uphill trail you'll also pass the historic Wolfe Ranch Cabinbuilt by John Wesley Wolfe in the early 1900s.

Beyond the cabin sits a wall ofUte Indian petroglyphs dating to the 1700s.

The trail to Delicate Arch hasvirtually no shade and some exposure to heights.

On very busy days the parkinglot for the trailhead at Wolfe Ranch will fill, and the trail can be verybusy through much of the year.

Sunset is a particularly busy time.

Sometimes hundreds of people will be a Delicate Arch for sunset.

So, that was a fun hike! It's not terriblystrenuous, it's only about three miles roundtrip.

There is a bit of climbing upinvolved.

However, the big thing that makes this a little more challengingthan a lot of other hikes is that it's so hot.

There is no shade anywhere alongthat trail up to Delicate Arch, so in the heat of the summer — or even the heat oflate April like we're here — that sun is really intense and it does get reallywarm.

Now, one really neat thing about Delicate Arch is Delicate Arch was notthe original name.

There's another arch in the park called Landscape Arch, andoriginally that was Delicate Arch because it's very wide and very thin andvery long, and what is now Delicate Arch was Landscape Arch.

What ended uphappening, when they made the maps for the area they got the two names switchedby mistake, and the new names have stuck ever since.

So we figured, you know, whilewe're here why not check out Landscape Arch? Devils Darden sits at the end ofthe National Park scenic drive.

Here you'll find arches, spires, and a largeconcentration of narrow rock walls called fins, which will eventually erodeand give way to the formation of arches like Landscape Arch, the objective on ourhike today.

The easy trail through spectacular finsto reach Landscape Arch is just under two miles roundtrip.

There is nosignificant elevation gain, only moderate up-and-down hills.

Those looking to add abit of challenge may continue on to Double O Arch beyond Landscape Arch.

Landscape Arch is the longest arch inNorth America.

With a light opening 306 feet wide, this awe-inspiring expanse isonly six feet in diameter at its narrowest.

Large segments of the archcame crashing down in the 1990s, proof that the park's landscape can changedramatically in an instant.

Although other arches have fallen, Landscape Archstill hangs on by a very thin thread.

Devil's Garden Campground is the onlycampground within Arches National Park.

51 dry campsites are reservablebetween March 1 and October 31, at a cost of $25 per night.

During this busy seasonthe campground is usually full every night.

Between November and February, campsites are first-come, first-served.

Potable water is available within thecampground, as are vault and flush toilets.

but there are no showers andthere is no dump station.

Campers can dump and fill for free at the Maverikgas station on the south side of Moab.

Sites include picnic tables and firerings with grills.

The desert town of Moab, named after amountainous region in the Middle Eastern nation of Jordan, sits just a couple ofmiles south of the entrance to Arches National Park.

Moab attracts a largenumber of tourists every year and serves as a popular base for mountain bikers, who ride the extensive network of trails including the Slickrock Trail, and foroff-roaders to come for the ridiculously busy annual Moab Jeep Safari held forten days each year around the Easter holiday.

Once mining for uranium dwindled, tourism took over in the 1970s, and today Moab has perfected catering torecreational tourism.

So I don't know about you, Bob, but I really enjoyed our visit toArches this year.

I would highly recommend it to anyone who's hasn't beenhere in the past, Marc.

Absolutely! Surprisingly, here at the end of April itreally wasn't that busy.

I expected it to be mobbed, but we really didn't have anyproblem getting in, didn't have any problem finding a parking spot at acouple of the key trailheads, including surprisingly enough even Delicate Arch.

Had plenty of free space up there to to roam around and enjoy it without feelinglike we were stepping all over everybody, so that was actually pretty good.

We'regoing to stick around here in the Moab area and visit Canyonlands next week, soif you're not yet one of our Grand Adventurers make sure that you hit thatsubscribe button down there in the corner, and ring that notification bell!We air new adventure travel videos each and every Wednesday evening, so we'd behonored if you shared Grand Adventure with your friends and family.

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life is nothing but a Grand Adventure! We'll see you soon!Get out and explore, folks!.

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