Jun 12, 2015

Roadtrippin' 2015: Canyon de Chelly and Canyonlands Needles District

We reached the midpoint of our road trip. This day we drove from Holbrook to Moab, Utah. It was by far the longest day of our entire trip. We lost a lot of time during our drive for some reason and wound up at our destination much much later than planned.

At least we had some beautiful weather and scenery to enjoy!

We decided, at the last minute, to make a detour to Canyon de Chelly National Monument, since it was right on our route.

We didn't want to lose too much time, so we decided to just drive to Spider Rock, which is the main highlight of the park, and enjoy some of the vistas.

There was short walk around the Spider Rock overlook, which we took. Spider Rock is a 750 foot sandstone spire and is quite a sight to behold. 
Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly

Carson even wanted a closer look and hopped onto the ledge to take in the great view.

After that detour, it was back on the road. The highway that we were on was lined with amazing landscapes and geological features. This part of the drive was much more interesting than some of the other days.

Once we reached Utah, our plan was to stop in the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park since we would be passing by the turnoff that leads to this section of the park. 

Canyonlands has two sections that are completely separate and actually very far from one another. It is not possible to visit both sections in the same day because of all of the driving that would be required. Even getting to the Needles section is quite a trek, it is located another 30 miles after you turn off onto the access road. 

At that point, we knew we would be in for a long afternoon! The road leading up to the entrance station was gorgeous. We could not believe that we had not reached the inside of the park yet. There was already so much to see. 

Once we entered the park, we drove along to road and took in the views. 

The Needles in the distance
The road took us to the Big Spring Canyon Overlook and then to Elephant Hill.

Wooden Shoe

Canyonlands is well-known for its hiking and 4 x 4 trails. Much of the park is not accessible otherwise. Also, dogs are not allowed on the trails, so we were stuck doing a driving tour on the main park roads, which do not require a 4 x 4 vehicle.

At the end of our day, we decided to do the Cave Spring Trail and left the pups in the car since it was cool enough by then. The trail is also only 0.6 miles, so I felt okay leaving them for a short period. 

The trail starts off by leading you past a historic cowboy camp. 

Followed by a wall decorated in prehistoric petroglyphs.

Then the fun part, you have to climb two wooden ladders to access the rest of the trail. 

After which, you are treated to some stunning views. 

We rounded our way back to the end of the loop and were met by this furry guy. 

Then it was back to the car and another one and a half hour drive to Moab proper. As we were driving, we came across this arch along the road. I can't recall the name of it though. 

We finally reached our cottage and headed out for a late dinner at Devran's Mediterranean. Raisin Bread and I were both so hungry that we ate about two baskets of pita bread and shared the haydari appetizer (yogurt with walnuts, dill and mint). 

For my entree, I had the honey-marinated lamb chops. 

It was a long but satisfying day. We still had to run to the grocery store before we headed back to the cottage for the night. Can you say exhausted?


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