View Full Version : National Arches and Petrified Forest National Parks

04-09-2016, 06:08 PM
I've visited both places long ago, and I think it's time to plan for my return while I still CAN :cool: Whichever park I choose for my 2017 vacation, it will be a road trip. While I am there I plan on taking day hikes, and also do some sketching while I am there. They are both about a 20 hour drive from me, and I will decide at some point next winter. Deciding WHICH park will be challenging as I want to go to both - but if I had to choose today it would be Arizona.

I'm just curious if anyone there has visited either park? Any stories you would like to share? I know National Arches is in Moab, guess I'm really curious about MTB adventures anyone here may have had there. Of course it probably wasn't in the actual National Park? It seems a nice time of the year to think about vacations, especially to the desert.

04-10-2016, 06:00 AM
I've been to both and would definitely recommend Arches National Park (it's not called "National Arches", btw) for hiking. It is absolutely gorgeous, and there are lots of trails of different difficulty levels. Once you get about a mile from any parking lot, you'll encounter many fewer tourists on the trails.

Petrified Forest is mostly a driving thing, though there are some short hiking trails. It's fascinating too, but not nearly as much to see, and it's mostly just flat, open land. If you can only go to one, Arches is the way to go. Also, if staying in the Moab area, Canyonlands National Park is also nearby and is stunning, with many amazing hikes. I highly recommend it.

We did a blog when we visited many southwest parks in 2006. I can't believe it's been 10 years! If you are interested, they are here:

Petrified Forest NP: http://travelingtwosome.weebly.com/sw-parks-page-7.html
Arches NP: http://travelingtwosome.weebly.com/sw-parks-pg-11.html
Canyonlands NP: http://travelingtwosome.weebly.com/sw-parks-pg-12.html

I didn't know much about blogging way back then and did it as one LONG report with no easy way to negotiate between pages, but the content of the individual pages may still be helpful to you.

P.S. We did not do any mountain biking back then, but my former manager used to go to Moab every year and raved about the MTBing. He was a much more advanced mountain biker than I, however.

04-10-2016, 06:54 AM
I'm with Emily 100% on this one, much more to see and do in/around Arches.

04-10-2016, 10:06 AM
Thanks for the tip - now that I think about it my main exposure years ago to the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert was driving. Thanks for the blog links Emily!

04-10-2016, 11:02 AM
I totally agree with Emily and Pax -- Moab/Arches will be way more interesting. Aside from the many trails to hike (and photograph) at Arches, Moab itself has some attractions (mountain biking at Slickrock and, depending on the season, white water rafting on the Colorado River).


04-10-2016, 01:50 PM
I've never been to the Petrified Forest, so my enthusiastic endorsement for Arches NP (and nearby Canyonlands NP and Dead Horse Point SP) is very biased. Moab is known for its many great mountain biking options (from beginner to advanced), but there is also beautiful road biking to be done. One MTB trail I can recommend is the Klondike Bluffs trail - it's doable for a beginner/intermediate, and it will take you to a gorgeous overlook of Arches NP.

I don't know what time of year you are planning to go, but I recommend spring or fall. It gets extremely hot in the summer.

04-11-2016, 12:46 AM
4 or 5 + (whatever the number) for Arches

You could spend a few weeks doing all the incredible hikes around Moab. I was there for the first time last Sept and had a wonderful time…..road riding especially though. I looked at ( this (http://utah.com/search/moab-hiking-trails?referrer=5579fa8be92e3ce056162728&search_source=things-to-do&sort=name-asc) ) before we left. The sandstone fins in a canyon hike we did were just magical. Lots of stunning visuals to sketch all through the Park. I’d luv to go back and spend a few days from sunrise to sunset hiking and photographing in Arches.

04-11-2016, 11:35 AM
I agree with all the above comments. I love Arches... haven't been there for many years though.

04-11-2016, 12:56 PM
I got to Moab every Thanksgiving for parachuting, and two years ago visited Arches National Park and it was great. Canyonlands National Park is a short drive away (ok, maybe 40 minutes to an hour), and is also stunning although I've only driven through the park, I didn't hike. There is a place called Mineral Bottoms on BLM land within about 45 minutes that is great as well. If you decide to go around Thanksgiving, let me know and I can tell you a little more about the various parachuting locations if you'd like to watch :-) I've had friends who love MTBing there, but I've also had friends visit to take off-road jeep adventures. The store "Moab Adventures" (they have a website) sells several "adventure" tours from rafting, to guided MTBing, to jeep tours, etc. I LOVE watching slackliners (last year I saw a group slacklining over canyons). You could probably find TONS of stuff to in addition to hiking Arches National Park.

Here is a video of some of the slacklining last Thanksgiving. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXJvvOMnJBs (I think it can post links?)

04-12-2016, 01:50 AM
whoa....great video aromig!!!!!!

when you paste the youtube share link into the 'insert video clip' in the message box and delete the s in the https you get
this :)


04-12-2016, 04:14 AM
WOA! I won't be doing this, but it is incredible! I think my decision is made where I will go for my inexpensive hiking/sketching vacation next spring :cool:

04-12-2016, 07:13 AM
RebeccaC -- thanks for the tips! Catrin - I don't slackline, but it sure was fun going out and watching others do it! There are tons of slackliners there during Thanksgiving, but you can see them in the local parks all the time. Not just walking across - they do cool bouncy acrobatic stuff too. As you're going through Moab, you should check it out.

04-12-2016, 05:51 PM
Is THAT what they are doing in the "Fruit Bowl" video RebeccaC posted :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: I can hardly stand to get up on a 2-step ladder to change candles when it's my turn at Altar Guild duties at church - I had to almost shut my eyes to watch the video :o I'm fearless in activities that keep me connected, in some way, to the ground - like riding - but OMG!!!! Perhaps I can watch them if I've had a couple medicinal glasses of some good port or sherry first :D

04-12-2016, 10:33 PM
so how does one sting the line across? It's something I've always wondered. Can't really run a rope down the side of the cliff than back up on the other side. Some magic fairy dust to get the line across?

I'll just watch. my sense of balance isn't that good anyway and I hurt easily. Never mind about bouncing from 1000+ feet.

04-13-2016, 06:31 AM
so how does one sting the line across? It's something I've always wondered. Can't really run a rope down the side of the cliff than back up on the other side. Some magic fairy dust to get the line across?

I'll just watch. my sense of balance isn't that good anyway and I hurt easily. Never mind about bouncing from 1000+ feet.
Helicopter with someone suspended below it from a harness? Then again that would make a LOT of wind so nevermind :)

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G870A using Tapatalk

04-13-2016, 07:20 AM
I think (I'm not sure, I didn't get to watch them string it up) that the lines are long enough they can anchor it on one side, and then "walk" it around (hence why it worked well to put it in a horseshoe shaped canyon rather than across). I got to see it up close -- the complexity of the anchors was pretty amazing. This required several climbers, etc. to consolidate/contribute gear. I've also seen things more complicated going from a cliff to a spire - I presume they climb with a guide rope and haul the other end up? Most of the people setting this up are pretty famous/accomplished climbers.

I had a chance to go out to the "space net" - you wear a harness and slide out on the support lines if you're not comfortable walking the lines. I was mainly afraid I'd not be able to pull myself up on the net once I got there (I really lack upper body strength) and the thought of two or three people trying to haul me over the edge just wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe next year (they've had a similar setup two years in a row and I'm sure they'll have it again next Thanksgiving).

ny biker
04-14-2016, 02:38 PM
I've never been to either park so I defer to the others here. Just wanted to say hi to Jean_TZ!