Going to this park was a big deal for me. One of my archaeology professors talked about how much he loved this park all through to semesters and I wanted to visit so badly! (Also, it’s my first item checked off my “5 Before I’m 25” list). We were in the ‘Island in the Sky’ section of the park and the drive in from Moab was absolutely stunning. You pass the Hell Roaring and Mineral Canyons, which makes for a gorgeous drive.
We passed into the park and looked over the Shafer Canyon Overlook, and I completely understood why this is so many people’s favorite national park. It’s so much different than what I imagined it would be, but in a good way. It’s just canyon after canyon everywhere you look.
We stopped in at the ranger station for some suggestions and we were pretty disappointed when we found out that most of the park is only accessible by 4-wheel drive vehicles on Shafer Road, but we did three pretty awesome hikes.
The first hike we did was the Mesa Arch trail; it’s super short and very easy. We got to this arch that basically frames a spectacular lookout! I climbed on top of this arch and that experience was really amazing. It was amazing to stand on top of there and look down over this canyon was just unreal. It was one of my favorite moments of the trip.
We stopped out at every overlook, and made our way too the Upheaval Dome Overlook hike.
Upheaval Dome is a moderate level hike that edges along Upheaval Canyon to this stunning overlook. We passed by the first overlook and went right to the second overlook. You walk on a lot of slick-rock surfaces, but it is really great, and I highly recommend this trail.
Our last hike was the Murphy Overlook. We’re not sure if we actually made it to the very end of this trail because we kind-of veered off the trail and played around. We saw a great overlook, though, and played around in a “slot canyon” just to say that I had (I’m using the term slot canyon VERY loosely). Then we just hiked around the area before heading back for the night.
This is a park that I’d really love to return to in a jeep and camp down in the canyons doing some back country trails. Can’t wait for that!
For more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.