I visited Arches National Park on a girls trip with my girlfriends back in Spring of 2017 and while I spent a lot of time driving, we made the most of our time and really enjoyed seeing the park! This year we are headed to Albuquerquee to check out the International Balloon Festival!
Anyhow, we flew into Salt Lake City which is pretty cheap from San Diego and only 2 hours away. The weather in April was perfect. We had light jackets which was all that was necessary, even at night time. Here is a copy of my itinerary and what I planned:
I flew in after work on Friday night and didn't get in until past midnight and thought I could be ambitious and check out some local bars but just went straight to bed. Also, there aren't too many bars that are open too late in Salt Lake City, but it was probably good that we didn't stay out late because we had to get up bright and early to drive to the national parks.
We got a great rate at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. It's a pretty big hotel close to downtown that would be a good place to stay if staying in Salt Lake in general.
The next morning we woke up super early and grabbed breakfast at Eva's Bakery which is located downtown. It's a super cute spot where we filled up on coffee and breakfast before driving out.
Our first stop was Dead Horse Point State Park which is about a four hour drive from Eva's Bakery. I highly recommend adding Dead Horse to your trip if you are planning a visit, as it isn't too far and the views are unreal. The admission in the park was only $15 per vehicle so we parked at the visitor center and walked around the park for some pretty epic views. It was extremely windy though so keep that in mind before wearing hats!
After a brief walk around the park, we grabbed some sack lunches at the Dead Horse Visitor Center before heading off to the Island in the Sky Visitor Center (Canyonlands) and then drove off to Mesa Arch.
The hike for the Mesa Arch is less than a mile hike but it is pretty popular (it's featured in a lot of desktop photos) and can get crowded. As we were visiting in April, it wasn't too crowded and we found parking in the parking lot pretty easily. There were still a good amount of people, so we waited our turn to take a picture with the arch, which in my opinion wasn't that impressive compared to what we just saw at the Dead Horse Park, but it was still a cool spot to visit.
From the Mesa Arch, we drove to Arches National Park for golden hour. We didn't have to pay an entry fee that day (I don't know why really) so we drove right in and made our way to the Windows Loop, and once again had no problem finding parking.
We walked up to the Double Arch which is really just a walk, not a hike at all. You can climb on the rocks and get some great views.
We then walked the Windows Loop just in time for sunset and we had almost no company which was great for taking some of these photos.
After snapping some photos, we were pretty exhausted from our long day of exploring and driving so we checked into our hotel in Moab at the Best Western. We took quick showers and then had dinner at Zax across the street where I learned I was breaking the law by having two of the same alcoholic beverages at the same time! We took whiskey shots and I was drinking a whiskey ginger - apparently you can't have two of the same types of liquor in your possession at a time. We then had drinks at Woody's Tavern before passing out as we had another early morning the next day!
The next morning I think we had breakfast at the hotel, but we might have just stopped at a Starbucks - I can't really recall. Either way, we went back to the Arches National Park to hike the Delicate Arch. This time we paid for our entrance fee and made it to the Delicate Arch parking lot. The hike wasn't tough but more work than the few days before. It was significantly more crowded at the Delicate Arch but not terrible. The Delicate Arch was my favorite of all the arches in Arches National Park and so worth the three mile early hike.
There isn't much to see on the way, but once you get to the arch there are so many different angles to take photos and take in the sights, so be sure to factor in time for exploring the area and waiting in line if you want a photo in front of the arch.
After the Delicate Arch, we booked it back to Salt Lake City to catch our evening flights back home. As a reminder, it is a four hour flight back so make sure you give yourself plenty of time before heading back.
We stopped by Red Iguana for dinner and we had a little bit more time so we checked out Temple Square, which was very beautiful and interesting! Everyone was extremely nice and helpful in explaining their beliefs and the history of the Mormon religion.
We took our two hour flight back to San Diego, tired but happy to have seen so many beautiful places in just two days!! If you have more time, I would suggest taking your time to fully explore each spot - but for us, PTO days are limited and there's so much to see! I used the national park websites (all linked within this post) to determine which hikes were the most feasible. I hope this post inspires you to visit these beautiful parks!
If you liked my post, feel free to share on Pinterest!