I grew up in Northern California and have always loved the outdoors and going on road trips. I started traveling internationally at an early age, which I was super fortunate to have the opportunity to do. But in the last year, I realized how much of the United States of America I still hadn’t seen.
So I made it a goal for 2020 to take many road trips (and start my travel blog The Suite) while working remotely. I think being able to write un-intimidating travel guides is so important because many people don’t want to travel simply because the thought of planning a trip is daunting.
I like to take the weight off by capturing content on my trips and wrapping them up with efficient guides that are easy to follow and approachable.
Visiting Utah with my Boyfriend
My boyfriend was on a work trip to Salt Lake City and I had only ever been to the airport so I thought why not tag along and check it out! We are also big hikers, so we knew we wanted to check out some of the national parks.
To be honest, I had no idea how stunning the land is out there. Utah has to be one of the most underrated destinations in the country! The geography is incredibly diverse. On the way from Salt Lake to Moab, we went from sunny weather to a blizzard to desert in a matter of hours. It was wild.
Canyonlands National Park – A Highlight of Utah
We knew we wanted to visit Arches National Park, and when we bought our national parks annual pass we were told Canyonlands National Park was close by and included in the pass. So we decided to check out Canyonlands. Breathtaking doesn’t begin to describe the views there.
We actually only spent 48 hours in Moab and so our trip to Canyonlands was very short. But we definitely want to go back! We did quite a bit of hiking and if you are short on time you can drive through the park pretty efficiently and stop as long as you want at each destination/lookout point.
My favorite spot at Canyonlands by far was Mesa Arch. There is something about that spot that took my breath away. You are just steps away from a drop off and the arch is perfectly suspended, almost framing the view of the canyon. It’s hard to put into words but to me that spot is magical.
5 Best Things To Do in Canyonlands National Park
- Visit Mesa Arch
- Meet other travelers
- Hike around the park
- Go offroading – rent a 4WD for this!
- Check out the viewpoints at Island in the Sky
You can spend all day staring at the canyon or hiking around but I recommend the view at Grand View Point and Mesa Arch as must-do’s. We also spent time offroading (not in Canyonlands because it’s too icy in January) but if you go when it’s warmer this is definitely a highlight.
As well as hiking around the park, make time to stop and meet other travelers. You won’t regret any conversations with the kind of people you meet in national parks. Most of them have very interesting stories to tell!
Where to Stay near Canyonlands
If you are on a budget, I would grab a room on Hotels.com (or any other similar website) at one of the motels in Moab. They are no frills but most have free breakfast and are around $75/night – so it’s an easy place to crash.
If you have a sleeper van then I definitely recommend camping in the park! You can go in after dark and stargaze. There is very little light pollution and overall it’s a great experience. If you want a high-end experience, there is a Under Canvas Moab glamping set up near Arches that looks amazing.
Need to Know Before you Go
Don’t be scared to visit Canyonlands National Park in the winter months. I was turned off by the idea of going in January, but we had the top down on our jeep and enjoyed every minute of it! If anything, I would be cautious of going too far into the summer months as it can get extremely hot.
I would get up early and pack food and water for the day so you can make the most of the park. It’s worth it to spend all daylight hours there and then return after dark for stargazing. I also recommend grabbing a beer at Moab Brewery after your adventures. The local service is awesome and the beers are delicious! The perfect end to a perfect day out in Utah’s country.
I would like to leave you with my best memory from Canyonlands. The moment I was sitting on the edge of Mesa Arch looking out at the canyon was just mesmerizing. It was so peaceful. Even though I was shaking since I’m afraid of heights, there was something calming about experiencing a view that looks so stunning you are not sure if it’s real. It was surreal!