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

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

Hey folk, welcome back to Grand
Adventure! 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 we
went 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 cool
one. I’ll put a link right up here on the screen and you can go check it out. But
in the meantime we’re down in the Moab, Utah area, right outside of Arches
National Park. We’re about ten miles north of town and the entrance gate to
Arches. We’re going to do some camping here and then head over to Arches for some
hiking to a couple of the key arches in the park. So stay tuned! For this episode we’re camped at Dalton
Wells, a popular boondocking area just north of Moab. There’s little left here
now to show the role that Dalton Wells played in two of the most significant
events in 20th century US history. During the New Deal in the 1930s the
site was the location of a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. Later when the
CCC camp was no longer in use, the site was used as a relocation camp for
Japanese Americans during World War II, following a riot at California’s
Manzanar facility in December of 1941. The unrest began after the beating of
one of the internees, Fred Toyama. Guards at the camp fired into a crowd of
internees, killing two and injuring numerous others. Following the event,
those internees identified as troublemakers at Manzanar were shipped
to Dalton Wells. At its height Dalton Wells housed 49 internees. In April of
1943 the Dalton Wells inmates were transferred to Arizona ,and eventually
back to California. The site at Dalton Wells is now listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. Nowadays the area surrounding Dalton
Wells offers a convenient boondocking spot for campers and ATVers. Visitors need
to traverse a 100-yard wide dry wash with deep sand at the entrance to Dalton
Wells, so four-wheel drive is recommended. No
camping 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 half
mile. However, the best sites are located further back in like ours, which was
along a side trail and peppered with junipers. A large slickrock just outside
the camper door functioned just like a paved patio. It was, in a word, perfect. This is Utah state school trust and
sovereign land. Be forewarned that due to its proximity to Moab, Dalton Wells can
be very busy on spring weekends, but we had all the space we needed during our
midweek visit in late April. There are fewer campers than you’ll find at nearby
Willow Springs, but sites are not as dispersed as they are further north
along Klondike Bluffs Road. Our campsite at Dalton Wells is only 10
miles from the entrance to Arches National Park, home to more than 2,000
natural sandstone arches. The nearly 77,000-acre park was
originally named a National Monument in 1929, and was redesignated as a National
Park in 1971. This is a very popular National Park, receiving more than 1.6
million visitors in 2018. Most of the arches were formed by wind and water
erosion in the salmon-colored Entrada Sandstone layer that sits atop
the vast buff-colored Navajo Sandstone layer that is prevalent
throughout this portion of eastern Utah. Approved recreational activities within
the park include auto touring, backpacking, biking, camping and hiking,
some of which require permits. Guided commercial tours and Ranger programs are
also available. After climbing the park road from the Visitor Center, the first
major area of the park you’ll see is Park Avenue and the Courthouse Towers
area. You can walk among massive monoliths and towering walls to see
views of the nearby La Sal Mountains topping out at over 12,000 feet. The
sheer walls of this canyon reminded early visitors of buildings lining a big
city street. The viewpoint is paved and accessible
for people using wheelchairs, and beyond the viewpoint a hiking trail descends
steeply into the spectacular canyon and continues one mile to Courthouse Towers. Balanced Rock — one of the most iconic
features in the park — stands a staggering 128 feet tall.
The slickrock boulder of Entrada Sandstone sits attached to its eroding
pedestal of Dewey Bridge mudstone. Eventually, erosion will bring the 3,600
ton 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’s
state symbols. Heck, it’s it’s even appearing on our
license 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 the
most famous geologic features in the world, the light opening beneath the arch
is 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, making it the largest freestanding arch in the
park. You must get out of the car to view Delicate Arch. You can walk a half mile
to the Upper Viewpoint to see the arch a mile away, but the way to see it up close
and 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 Cabin
built by John Wesley Wolfe in the early 1900s. Beyond the cabin sits a wall of
Ute Indian petroglyphs dating to the 1700s. The trail to Delicate Arch has
virtually no shade and some exposure to heights. On very busy days the parking
lot for the trailhead at Wolfe Ranch will fill, and the trail can be very
busy 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 terribly
strenuous, it’s only about three miles roundtrip. There is a bit of climbing up
involved. However, the big thing that makes this a little more challenging
than a lot of other hikes is that it’s so hot. There is no shade anywhere along
that trail up to Delicate Arch, so in the heat of the summer — or even the heat of
late April like we’re here — that sun is really intense and it does get really
warm. Now, one really neat thing about Delicate Arch is Delicate Arch was not
the original name. There’s another arch in the park called Landscape Arch, and
originally that was Delicate Arch because it’s very wide and very thin and
very long, and what is now Delicate Arch was Landscape Arch. What ended up
happening, when they made the maps for the area they got the two names switched
by mistake, and the new names have stuck ever since. So we figured, you know, while
we’re here why not check out Landscape Arch? Devils Darden sits at the end of
the National Park scenic drive. Here you’ll find arches, spires, and a large
concentration of narrow rock walls called fins, which will eventually erode
and give way to the formation of arches like Landscape Arch, the objective on our
hike today. The easy trail through spectacular fins
to reach Landscape Arch is just under two miles roundtrip. There is no
significant elevation gain, only moderate up-and-down hills. Those looking to add a
bit of challenge may continue on to Double O Arch beyond Landscape Arch. Landscape Arch is the longest arch in
North America. With a light opening 306 feet wide, this awe-inspiring expanse is
only six feet in diameter at its narrowest. Large segments of the arch
came crashing down in the 1990s, proof that the park’s landscape can change
dramatically in an instant. Although other arches have fallen, Landscape Arch
still hangs on by a very thin thread. Devil’s Garden Campground is the only
campground within Arches National Park. 51 dry campsites are reservable
between March 1 and October 31, at a cost of $25 per night. During this busy season
the campground is usually full every night. Between November and February,
campsites are first-come, first-served. Potable water is available within the
campground, as are vault and flush toilets. but there are no showers and
there is no dump station. Campers can dump and fill for free at the Maverik
gas station on the south side of Moab. Sites include picnic tables and fire
rings with grills. The desert town of Moab, named after a
mountainous region in the Middle Eastern nation of Jordan, sits just a couple of
miles south of the entrance to Arches National Park. Moab attracts a large
number 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 for
off-roaders to come for the ridiculously busy annual Moab Jeep Safari held for
ten days each year around the Easter holiday. Once mining for uranium dwindled,
tourism took over in the 1970s, and today Moab has perfected catering to
recreational tourism. So I don’t know about you, Bob, but I really enjoyed our visit to
Arches this year. I would highly recommend it to anyone who’s hasn’t been
here in the past, Marc. Absolutely! Surprisingly, here at the end of April it
really wasn’t that busy. I expected it to be mobbed, but we really didn’t have any
problem getting in, didn’t have any problem finding a parking spot at a
couple 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 feeling
like we were stepping all over everybody, so that was actually pretty good. We’re
going to stick around here in the Moab area and visit Canyonlands next week, so
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please remember … life is nothing but a Grand Adventure! We’ll see you soon!
Get out and explore, folks!

62 thoughts on “Ep. 97: Arches National Park & Moab | Utah camping RV travel

  1. Hope I can make the premiere. I got some work to do in the camper after work before we take off for the salt flats.

  2. You just keep inspiring us to travel to new and awesome places! You're videos are so well done. Can't wait to see all Utah has to offer!!

  3. Just an Incredible video Grand Adventure! Loved the hiking trail footage. Also, great how you gave us a look at the campground and nearby town! Love all these episodes!

  4. We will be in that area in a few weeks. Thank you so much for such beautiful videos. I really appreciate the trail and campground footage. Looking forward to next weeks video.

  5. Great video!! I know you are busey but don't forget to check out Pasta Jay's pastajays.com
    Last time out there we stayed in OK RV Park.

  6. Thanks for another Grand Adventure Mark !
    The photography was magnificent as always, although Arches is such a magnificent place that even such a poor photographer as myself has taken some memorable shots there.
    Your trip along Delicate Arch trail brings back fond memories from my own journey there some 16 years ago. That first sight of that ancient stone arch ( as you round the trail) cradled since the dawn of time in a bowl of rock is burned into my memory. It is truly one of the must see treasures of the American west along with the Grand Canyon, Devil's Tower and others.
    Thanks again.

  7. Wow! Amazing! We only have limited time to explore salt lake city and surroundings and not sure if we have time to visit arches national park! Thx marc!

  8. Thanks for the info on the name change on the arches. I hiked the arches in the 90's. Brought back memories.

  9. The “mighty 5” is still to date the best trip we’ve ever done. Arches is the one park We would of liked to spend a bit more time in. Beautiful video as always!

  10. Did a quick stop in Moab in early April while driving from Utah to New Jersey. Wish this video had been available back then. Will have to do a longer stop next time, because of all your tips.

  11. We just missed you in MOAB but are circling back in two weeks. We will definitely check out the recommended Boondocking sites. Please keep up the excellent videos.

  12. How I love that place! Can’t wait to go back and explore some more of Utah. Two months baby!

    On my first trip I booked at the rather expensive dead horse point state park, and while sunrise over the La Sals and Canyonlands was easily worth the price, now I know better! Thanks for the boondocking tips 🙂 Thanks Marc, safe travels!

  13. Marc, another great creation by you. This is why your numbers are increasing. Almost 10K.
    I love everyone of them.

  14. A fire a few beers and good company makes for a great break. The hikes looked doable for a lot of people. Thanks for sharing P&J

  15. You find the COOLEST boondocking spots! If I could just convince the wife…LOL! Thanks for the Videos and safe travels!

  16. I really enjoy your videos. My wife and I bought our first RV a couple months ago, and will be heading out full time next April. We’re heading out west for our first year (Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, etc), and hope to visit some of the places that you’ve documented. Thanks for all the great info!

  17. Excellent look at Arches! Chiricahaua National Monument in Arizona is also great for other-worldly rock formations. I was there in '74 as a kid and so taken by its beauty went back 28 years later so my wife could experience it. Air temps looked comfortable in your video I take it this video was produced recently. Thanks for the images.

  18. Marc, what's the GPS coordinates for that spot off Dalton Well? I've been in Moab a number of times to 4×4, but never stayed down in the Dalton area.

  19. Great scenery out there and some great video by you,as usual. It gives us a good preview of where to go out there.
    Kim and Vinny in CT

  20. Thanks for taking u s along on your hike. We were only able to do an auto tour, but had the excitement of mudding off a side road with our 4 wheel drive vehicle after a morning rain. Love your sceneries, flowers, and information of the localities you visit.

  21. Did the 5 day river trip down the green river. Pricey, But worth every penny. If you can. DO IT!

  22. Holy cow, Mark. Do you have a connection to my brain? Lol. I’m visiting Arches mid-June and your video is very timely. And it’s because of you that my trip also includes a trip to The Wedge, Goblin Valley, Swasey’s Cabin and many others in the San Rafael Swell. I appreciate your posts.

  23. That was another excellent video.  I take it the ski season is about over so it is great to see you back on the road!

    The Arizona Snowbowl located on the slopes of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, AZ has announced they will be open three more weekends through May 19th.  That is a new record for their 80 year history.  They are currently reporting a 68 inch base but I bet that it is "interesting" skiing conditions.   

    I was wondering if you had the alignment checked out on your trailer this winter?  I remember you had concerns after the strange tire and hub issues last summer.  Hopefully all is well for a trouble free summer coming up. 

    I spent the night years ago just north of Moab on my way to Montana but I have yet to tour the Arches area.  After seeing your video, I need to take the tour!

  24. Really enjoyed your video! I visited Arches NP in 2014, but only saw what I could see from the road or a very short walk. Old age is taking its toll. 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  25. Marc – Great episode as usual. Thanks for straightening out my Delicate vs Landscape Arch confusion. When I first visited in 74 ( set up my Tipi in Devils Garden) I remember Delicate being by there. Then in 2017 when visiting w Mike & Winter, hiked to the “New Delicate Arch “ and didn’t remember the hike or Arch being the same as years before??? Now I know why.

  26. Great video, Marc. Beautiful place. I just got in tonight from 4 days in phoenix for work. I was able to sneak in a hike on Camelback Mtn, utv riding on Table Mesa, and a side trip to Sedona. The southwest sure is nice.

  27. We were there the first weekend of April. But we stayed at the Willow Springs road, which has multiple deep ruts the farther you drive in. We should have scouted the roads before taking our 22 ft. travel trailer in. Ruts were so deep that we bent our steps underneath(almost couldn't open them!) Gladly we didn't do any damage to the pipes or sewer system underneath!! How was Dalton Wells Road? We weren't told about that road when we stopped to check on camping in Arches.

  28. Moab is the most incredible place in the USA. Also, I’ve started a GoFundMe page to raise money for your buddy’s haircut any year that he’s ready to accept that it’s time.

  29. Great, great video! Visited Moab and Arches during spring break. It was one of the best experiences! Cannot wait to go back! Looking forward to your Caynonlands visit

  30. Love, love, love your videos! In particular the background history and helpful hints about where to boondock and your outstanding music. Only one small criticism; your video camera seems to have a few spots on the lens. The spots aren’t always noticeable but the one in the upper right corner usually is. No disrespect meant w/the slight criticism. My husband and I love your videos. Please keep up the great job!

  31. I just love your video! I’ve been to Arches Ntl Pk twice, I was just their in 2017, however the park was under a reno project and we got there late in the day, just before closing, so we got as far as Park City! However my first trip was early 2000’s and we did managed to go to all the beautiful sites, but did not hike to Delicate Acrch just took pictures from the view point. I vowed I will go back and hike it up their…so it’s on the “Bucket List”. By the way if your in the area you must visit Dead Horse Park, it too is AWESOME! “Warning” definitely be conscious of the heat! Water! water! water! Is a must!

  32. Well yea or as you say in America “ hell yea “ sorry have been watching to many films , perfect camping spot Marc , balance rock looks really strange but some how perfect for the area , you could not have filmed the arch any better the backdrop is awesome
    Thanks Marc for sharing your journey

  33. Thanks for the adventure! I love your videos and have subscribed. Please keep ‘em conning. Your videos really help us in determining what we want to add to our bucket list of adventures. Thanks so much!

  34. I read through a page of comments and agree with all of them: These are among the very best out there. Well filmed, great narration, and detail that captures interest and the background that makes one want to pack and leave for that place later today. Thanks for taking us along!

  35. Great video again, do you have the exact gps coord of your camsite, try to find it witout success, was it on BLM 142?

  36. Arches was awesome. Saw at least three kids crying there eyes out being pulled up the hill by there parents. It was August at nine in the morning and it was well into the nineties. Tried to hide under a little juniper tree with people from four other countries all trying to get some shade. It was amazing

  37. I enjoyed the backstory on the name swap. This type of history is one of the things that differentiates your channel and of course great video/audio quality. Thanks.

  38. I don't usually add comments but I just had to share my story of Delicate Arch. My wife and I were in Moab visiting my brother who lived there. While we were there we decided to see the sights and decided to see the arch. We picked up a brochure that said it was only a 1.5 mile hike to the arch. Us, being from the plains of NE Colorado thought that was a piece of cake! Haha, we couldn't have been more wrong! We didn't realize it was a mile and a half almost straight up! You have to understand, I'm a trucker by trade and my wife is a teacher, so we're both let's say, well insulated. We weren't halfway to the arch, our only 16oz bottle water gone and with the sun beating down on us we thought it was the end of the Holland's. But we persevered, dodged the heat stroke we were both certain to have and made it to the arch in just over 3 hours…… (record breaking!) after a 2 hour break in the shade of the arch we headed back to the car. In less than 30 minutes we were sitting in the car a/c cranked and pounding every drop of water we could find. Once our eminent demise had passed we learned to never take a brochure for granted. Thanks for posting this video and helping us relive one of our best stories!

  39. This was an awesome video of Arches NP. It really inspires me to make another trip there hopefully in April very soon. Just love the distant shots that show the snow in the mountain ranges to the south. I searched for a rv site in the campground last time we were there and it appeared that all sites were for rv's shorter that 35 feet. Would you consider sharing the type of video equipment & drone eq. you use for this wonderful youtube vids?

  40. Hey Marc, i would love to see a video where you talk about the equipment and techniques you use to catch all this great footage.

  41. Marc, you are so good to us! I so want to visit these places. Arches has been on my list for a long time! Every time I see pictures or videos I long to go! Thanks Marc!!

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