Before setting out on this journey, I didn’t know anything about Utah and just assumed in was a barren wasteland of nothing but desert.
Well, it’s a desert that’s for sure but there is SO MUCH to see!
I stumbled across a post about Zion National Park a few months and decided to try to add Utah to the list since we were already going to be in Colorado.
Before arriving in Moab, we still didn’t really know much about it except that it had two National Parks nearby and several more state parks and national forests.
Apparently, other people know about Moab though because it’s a thriving tourist town complete with cute shops and an adventure tour company every five feet.
We began our stay in a nice little family-owned campground on the south side of town and set off to find somewhere free to park on the plethora of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. After several hours of driving all over the BLM lands in the area, we found several signs that said camping was allowed in designated areas only but never really managed to find any of those designated areas.
We found plenty of sites that would’ve been perfect but, since the ground is technically alive out there, you’re not allowed to stray off the roads or create new campsites.
We thought we were S.O.L. and going to be stuck paying for a site the entire time.
On a whim, we drove down a state road just a few miles outside of town and, low and behold, there are a ton of campsites with a sign saying there was a 14-day camping limit so we knew we were allowed to park there.
We had views of Arches National Park, traditional Utah rock formations, and the La Sal Mountains. We also had a gorgeous view of the Milky Way each night and the sunrises each morning.
Once we finally got settled into our new boondocking spot, we thought we would finally get to explore the area. We were wrong.
Upon started my laptop one morning to record that week’s solo episode for the podcast, my computer did a forced Windows update. During the update, it froze and when I restarted it, all I got was a screen that said it was attempting repairs (it was working perfectly fine BEFORE the update).
I called Microsoft and the end result of over 6 hours on the phone with them trying to get anyone to help me, they actually managed to make it WAY worse. One of the reps had me do something that ended up completely wiping my hard drive.
Another rep even admitted it was their fault my computer was screwed up but the only way they would do anything about it would be if I took it into a Microsoft store.
The nearest one was almost four hours away in Salt Lake City!
Luckily, we purchased the laptop from Best Buy and got the Geek Squad Protection so they were able to replace my hard drive for free.
The catch … the closest Best Buy was 97 miles all the way back in Colorado.
When we dropped off the laptop they said it would take 1-2 days to fix so we just drove straight back to our campsite. After being back for only about an hour, I got a call letting me know my laptop was finished. So, we proceed to make the trip back over to Colorado for the second time that day.
All told, it took 2 days, 6+ hours on the phone, and 6 hours drive time to get my laptop back. Even then, it had a completely new hard drive so it didn’t have anything on it.
Almost a week later, I’m still trying to get everything back the way it was.
After that disaster, I desperately needed a break so we made the trip out to Dead Horse Point State Park. Unfortunate name for a beautiful place.
The road you can see in the bottom of the canyon in the picture above is actually 100 miles long and takes at least two days to drive. We’ve added it to the list for a future visit. 🙂
At one point I noticed a fairly short road on the map that had a marker for both dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs so we decided to check it out.
We were SO GLAD we did. The Petroglyphs were incredible to see. They’re just right alongside the road and they have pull-off areas for your to view them. According to the signage there, some of the drawings believed to be 6,000 years old.
As if that’s not cool enough, a little further down the road there is a pull-off for a trail head. Not too far from the beginning of the trailhead is a rock that has multiple visible dinosaur prints.
The road eventually dead ends (unless you have an off-road vehicle) at a boat ramp for the Colorado River. The road is about 19 miles I believe and is gorgeous the entire way. It’s something most people who visit Moab probably never experience but I HIGHLY recommend you check it out if you’re in the area. Just follow the signs for Potash and head down 279.
Next, we visited Canyonlands National Park; which is right next to Dead Horse Point State Park. It’s probably because I’m still recovering from the ankle injury I sustained in Colorado Springs and wasn’t able to do any of the hikes, which I am sure are incredible, but I was slightly let down by Canyonlands.
It’s beautiful, of course, but it just seemed like a repeat of Dead Horse Point State Park and was 3x as much. If we hadn’t purchased an America the Beautiful Annual National Parks Pass, I probably would’ve felt we wasted our money. With the pass though, it was definitely worth the trip.
We ended up spending our final day in Moab at Arches National Park. Again, I wasn’t really able to do any of the hikes but it was definitely still worth the visit. I can’t wait to go back in the future and really explore it though.
I’m saving the best for last though. Or, well, what we felt was the best part of our visit to Moab.
We took the road that goes through the Manti-La Sal National Forest just to the SE of town and it was honestly one of the most spectacular drives we’ve ever been on. It took a couple of hours to make the loop but it was SO worth it.
It’s like the desert and mountains collided with each other and the two worlds are side-by-side. It’s surreal, to say the least. If you’re in the area and have the time (and a vehicle that can handle going up the mountains), I highly suggest you follow the La Sal Loop Road all the way from the South side of Moad, through the La Sal Mountains, and back to the Colorado River.