Moab, Utah is known for being an adventure lovers playground. River rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, and being so close to not one but TWO National Parks with fantastic views, there is SO much to do! But the national parks don’t allow dogs on their trails, I haven’t gotten around to teaching my dog to ride a bike, she doesn’t have the opposable thumbs necessary for rock climbing, and I don’t think the river guides would appreciate my dog’s nails and teeth on their inflatable raft… so what about for those who want to bring their furry friend along on their trip to Moab? Never fear! There is still PLENTY for you and your dog to do and see! Here is a comprehensive guide to a Dog-Friendly Moab.
Let’s start with the Dog-Friendly Hikes:
Dead Horse Point State Park:
Shade: Little to none
Water: they have to have it brought in by water truck from Moab, so just plan on bringing your own.
While you may not be able to get into Canyonlands National Park with your dog, just a few miles before you reach the Island in the Sky district of the park. There is a small State Park with absolutely STUNNING and dramatic views from above of the Colorado River. Though its name doesn’t inspire these types of images, don’t be deceived: Dead Horse Point State Park is absolutely breathtaking and has 7 miles of different hiking trails (all of them flat and easy to traverse) with both you and your dog.
Dotting the path are informational signs, learn about the geology and plant life of the park. I slept peacefully that night after hiking and meeting my “learn something new every day” quota.
The park’s facilities include a visitors center, two restrooms (with plumbing!), and even a small coffee stand outside. Two campgrounds, one which includes yurts, you can reserve your spot and view the night in style. With this park being a “Dark Sky” certified park, consider staying the night to go stargazing, see the Milky Way, and watch for shooting stars. This is a popular park so reserve your accommodation early. There are several first come, first serve spot in one of the nearby Cowboy or Horsethief BLM campgrounds. Just make sure to keep your dog on a leash while in the park. So take that National Park dog haters!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WasYs7Obh4 This trail starts from a well-marked parking area next to the Colorado River. It immediately takes you up a few switchbacks to climb up onto the landing where you will get a great view of the river and the canyon. Cross the railroad that goes through a short stretch of a man-made slot canyon (very Instagram worthy!).
Follow the rock cairns to help keep you on the path. Eventually, you will come to a section where both you and your dog will have to channel your inner mountain goat to climb up to the next shelf. But don’t worry! There are foot holes carved into the rock and a rope to help you up. With a little encouragement and coaching your dog should be able to get to the upper level just fine.
At the top of this shelf, you will be able to see both Corona Arch (right) and Bowtie Arch (left upper). Make sure to hike all the way under the arch, it will give you a better perspective of the epic proportions of this free-standing monolith.
Traveler tip: A lot of this hike is over slickrock, which is really good at reflecting heat. This is a great hike during colder months for this reason. During the hotter months, be sure to do this hike earlier on in the morning and bring LOTS of water for you and your dog!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT_EO2KsPdQ Across the street from the main parking area for Corona Arch, there is more parking, picnic pavilions, and an outhouse toilet. There are no garbages at the trailhead for doggie bags, so please be considerate: pick up after your dog and just take it with you to dispose of later.
Traveler Tip: In the Big Bend campsite across from the trailhead (next to the river), there is a dumpster where you can take your trash and dog droppings.
Morning Glory Natural Bridge:
Length: 4.3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 416 ft.
Shade: Morning and evening shade
Water: a stream your dog can drink from
Starting in the parking area next to the Colorado River, this trail follows a stream up a lovely little side canyon. This canyon is formerly known as Negro Bill Canyon, now Grandstaff Canyon. You can enjoy the dramatic red cliffs on both sides as you listen to the birds sing, the gurgle of the stream, and walk under some the of trees that have taken advantage of the little water source. You do cross the stream a couple of times, so unless you and your dog have some acrobatic balancing skills to jump from rock to rock, just expect to get your feet wet.
When you come to the point in the trail where the canyon forks and goes two separate ways, go to the left. The first time I hiked this trail, I got confused and started to climb up, following what looked like a path (probably made by many other confused souls like myself). Just stay down below and follow the stream. At the second fork of the canyon, go right to reach this canyon’s dead end and see Morning Glory Natural Bridge, with the 5th longest span in the world! When you get there, you will be treated to a large, deceiving arch with a spring feeding a little pool directly underneath it.
You can sit there to relax and enjoy the sites and sounds echoing around the dead end of the canyon. At times, you’ll even be able to watch people rappel down between the bridge and the cliff into this little oasis. But be aware of your surroundings! There is poison ivy included in the plant life in this area. Not a ton, but enough you should be aware of the plants so you and your dog can avoid touching it. Just remember: leaves of three, let it be! This is a popular hike and the main parking area isn’t that big, but there is some overflow parking down and across the street a short way. There is an outhouse-like toilet, no plumbing in the main parking area. And while there are no garbages in the actual parking areas of the hike, next to the overflow parking area is a campground where there is a garbage to throw out your doggie bags.
Poison Spider Dinosaur Tracks and Petroglyphs:
Length: 0.3 mile loop
Elevation gain: 68 feet
Although this is a short hike, it is well worth it for you and your dog. This trail has lots of history includeing the writings of an ancient people and tracks left behind by the dinosaurs that used to roam this area. Against the red rock, both the petroglyphs and the tracks are easy for you to see. Just be prepared to climb up to see both the tracks and petroglyphs. As you start, it won’t be far until you come across the Dinosaur tracks.
The slab of rock they are on has fallen from above where the petroglyphs are, so keep going to see the petroglyphs and a few more tracks. There are informational signs by both sites where you can read more information about what you are seeing. An outhouse is available here, but no garbage cans.
Distance: 2-3.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,459 feet
This hike is about a 25.5-mile drive outside of Moab, but worth it to see these unique rock formations. The drive itself is pretty spectacular as you are driving through the canyon on Scenic Byway 128. With the Colorado River on your left and the dizzying red cliffs on your right, you’ll wish you were the passenger in the car so you can just enjoy the scenery! When you get to the trailhead, you will be able to see Fisher Towers immediately. The best perspectives, and viewpoints to really be able to appreciate that enormity of these natural structures comes when you hike the trail itself.
Traveler Tip: Make this hike the ‘go to’ hike if someone in your party is too tired, or has physical limitations. It is a great spot to have a picnic with great views – and provides a fantastic trail for those who want to keep pushing themselves.
The beginning of the trail is a bit deciving because you have to begin the trail heading away from Fisher Towers, down into a canyon, and then turning back towards the Fisher Towers. Three-quarters of the way up the trail, you will get the full perspective of just how massive the Titan (the larger of the Fisher Towers) truly is. At this point you can continue on to the end of the trail where there is another viewpoint of the valley and an ampitheater like rock formation; or you can turn back to head to your next unique adventure. If you are lucky, you may see some rock climbers attempting to conquer the Titan – it is a very popular climbing right of passage. Facilities available: An outhouse is available but no garbages. There is also a picnic area/campground near the beginning of the trail. It is a BLM campground so, don’t expect water or hookups to be provided.
Jeep Arch (also known as Goldbar Arch):
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 944 feet
Jeep Arch Hike is a unique advneture that not a lot of people know about. About a half mile down the road from the Corona Arch, there is a pull-out on the right side of the road. There is no sign to indicate it is the beginning of the trail, but once you park, go through the culvert that leads under the train tracks.
You will see a sign on the other side of the culvert that indicates the beginning of the trail for Jeep Arch. The trail leads you up and to the left. The first 1/8th of a mile of the trail is uphill to get you up on the shelf. After that, the trail is well marked with cairns. About a mile into the trail, there is a sign indicating the trail becomes a loop. You can go either way and it will take you uphill to the arch. If you go to the right, the uphill route is more gradual. To the left, the climb up is steeper and in between the split rocks shown in the picture, but once you do, the rest of the hike to the arch is flat. Either way you go, you can hike through the arch to complete the loop, or just hike back the way you came.
This is a great trail to get away from the crowds! I hiked this trail in February, and for the whole hike, I only saw one other person on the last 1/4 mile of the trail. Otherwise, I was able to just take my time and enjoy the quiet solitude of the desert.
Travler Tip: Like the Corona Arch Trail, the majority of this trail is on slickrock which makes it really good at reflecting the sun’s heat. This makes it a great trail for hiking in the winter, but take that into consideration when hiking in summer: hike early in the morning and bring lots of water.
There is no garbage can at the trailhead to place your dog’s waste, but since it is so close to Corona Arch and the Goldbar Campground, you can go ahead and use the campground garbage. You can use the toilet facilities at the campground area as well.
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 164 feet
Shade: most of the day (except midday)
Water: Yes. a stream for your dog to drink from (for most of the year)
To get to this trail, on the way from Moab, keep an eye out on your right-hand side for a big boulder with some fencing around it and make sure to stop! This rock is covered in petroglyphs, including the famous Birthing Scene! It’s fascinating to think about the people who engraved their stories into the rock! Who was the lady in the depiction? Was she or her baby a really important person in the tribe? Or was this just a proud father carving a family portrait? I don’t know, but I wish I did! Oh to be a fly on the…..rock? The parking area for this hike is the same parking area for the small campground that is right at the beginning of the trailhead. As you begin hiking up the canyon from the campground, you’ll be hiking among some of the vegetation that grows along the stream.. You’ll criss-cross the stream a few times and there are some opportunities for you to scramble up huge slabs of sandstone. About a half of a mile into the hike, make sure to look up and to the right to see Hunters Arch. Hiking in this canyon, with its huge, sweeping cliff walls and its stream and vegetation is what makes this a great hike for you and your dog to take. There is an open-air style bathroom with no door on it, just a sign to indicate if it’s occupied or not. There is also no garbage so be prepared to haul our your dogs mess out with you.
Mill Creek Falls:
Distance: 0.5-7.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 629 feet
Water: Yes. a creek for your dog to drink from.
Moab in the summer gets HOT! Hiking in summer, of course you are going to be doing most of your hiking in the mornings and in the evenings where the temperatures of the day are coolest, but what about those blistering afternoons? Well because of the waterfalls and swimming holes on Mill Creek Falls Trail, this is a great option to still get some hiking in and take a dip in the cool, refreshing water flowing straight from the La Sal mountains! The start of this hike is just outside of Moab. Getting out of the car, and starting along the trail, it won’t take you very long at all to get to the first swimming hole and waterfall (man made). If you are looking for just a quick dip to get cool, go ahead and spend some time here to cool off a bit. Make sure to keep going up the canyon, you will find more swimming holes, waterfalls, and see some native american petroglyphs on the cliff side.
Post Hiking Puppy Care:
I don’t know about your dog, but mine LOVES to play in the dirt and sand! After a long day of hiking in and around Moab, I knew if I wanted my pooch anywhere near my sleeping situation; I would have to give her a bath and wash out all of the red dirt she had collected in her fur. I tried to wash her off in the hotel tub the first night, but it was a near disaster as she was all over the place! I could barely get her clean enough to call it good enough before she jumped out and tore all over the room in her after a bath frenzy… then there was the wet dog smell that lingered for a long time afterward. So the second day, I decided to give the Moab Barkery a try.
The Moab Barkery is a pet shop in Moab that includes 2 dog baths (one walk-in, one raised) where you can wash off all that Moab dirt. For my 45 lb pooch, it cost me $15 and they provided the apron to save my clothes, bath, shampoo, conditioner, combs/brushes, ear drops, cotton balls, and dryer to dry her off when she was all clean. Oh my goodness, it was so much easier! I was able to save my back and bathe her in the raised tub, with a special leash so she couldn’t move around all over while I was giving her a bath. The shampoo and conditioner were very nice smelling and made it easy to brush her out afterward. I was able to dry her out with the dryer. They even have some special supplies there 😉 I was able to buy my spoiled pooch a treat and a new toy. All in all, my puppy and I had a great experience here!
Moab Bark Park:
We had spent all of the morning and afternoon hiking around Moab. Finishing around 4 pm, I knew I wouldn’t have time to complete the next trail I had wanted to do before sunset. I dog tired (pun intended), but I wasn’t ready to call it a day quite yet. I knew Moab had a dog park so I looked it up: I found out it’s open from dawn until dusk so I decided to go and let my puppy get the rest of her energy out before we went back to the hotel.
It is a large space with two enclosed areas: a smaller one for dogs up to 30 lbs, and another, larger one for everyone else. It was all red dirt which I didn’t love, but my puppy sure did! There were plenty of other dogs there for her to frolic with. Several poop stations are available with bags to clean up your dog’s waste. There is also a puppy watering station where for a drink break between play sessions. My sweet dog was exhausted after playing so hard at the Bark Park. We both slept like the dead once we got back to our Hotel.
When I first got my puppy, I didn’t think about the fact that my accommodation options would become more limited. My first trip to Moab I researched hotels with the “pet-friendly” filter on. The frustration quickly mounted, when I would call to double check they would allow my pooch to come and they said they didn’t allow dogs.
As a result of that frustration, I called quite a few of the hotels/motels/etc in the Moab area and asked them three things: 1. If they allowed dogs 2. if they had a fee for pets staying 3. what their cheapest off-season rates were versus their most expensive in-season rates.
The result of that effort is what follows: (USA Country phone code is +1) Dog-friendly Hotels:Pet Fee:Price Ranges(Off/On-season)
So when you decide to visit Moab with your furry friend, be sure to make your hotel reservations early, bring your poop bags and water for your pooch, bring your camera, and experience Southern Utah, like never before.
As Always, Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See You on the Flip Side!
Deep in the remote mountains of northern Thailand, the peaceful retreat camping in Doi Angkhang, a world away from the bustling streets of Chiang Mai. The main attractions around this small town are the projects run by the Royal Agricultural Research Centre. Within the compound, colorful flower gardens showcase the technical expertise of scientists and gardeners. Further on, picturesque tea plantations and fruit farms welcome visitors to explore and buy the local produce.
Just a few decades ago, this region bordering Myanmar was lawless and inaccessible. Poppy plantations and opium factories dotted the landscape, as drug smugglers ran their business with impunity. In recent times, however, a determined drive by the Thai government to introduce agriculture reforms and improve infrastructure has driven the drug trade out of the area.Today, Doi Angkhang is popular with locals seeking refuge from the tropical humidity. With a temperate climate averaging between 20°c to 25°c, most visitors come here to hike, camp or just spend a night in the only resort for a short getaway.
It takes 3.5 hours to get here by car from Chiang Mai, with the last hour crawling up steep uphill slopes and navigating relentless hairpin turns. There is no public transport going up to Doi Angkhang, so you’ll need a private vehicle to make the trip up.
If you can find a group of travel companions, you can hire a private minivan or Songthaew for 2 days and share the cost. You can find plenty of tour operators in Chiang Mai, or take a bus to Fang and find a driver there for slightly less.
The Camping Experience
Accommodation in Doi Angkhang is very limited, with a single resort and several guesthouses in town. But the best way to spend the night here is in a tent, camping alongside locals in a forest clearing overlooking the valley below.
The Campsites in Doi Angkhang
While there are several campsites in the area, each with its own unique viewpoint. Occupying several strips of terraces directly facing east, the campsite managed by the National Parks is the prime spot for catching the sunrise. A tent here costs 200 Baht per night, which is affordable even for locals. In front of the rows of tents, the valley extends far into the distant mountain range.
On weekends and national holidays, there may be a lot more visitors to the campsite (I DID say that this was popular with locals!). Fret not, for just further down the road, to the left of the National Parks campsite, is another site run by the Thai army. A small army camp marks the entrance, and you can rent a tent and pay the pitching fees at a small booth nearby. Local families also rent out small plots of land around the area for overnight camping.
Equipment for Camping With Locals in Thailand
You don’t need to bring your own tent to pitch here. Everything can be rented at an affordable rate, and it’s all set up for you to crawl into. For security, you’ll just need a padlock to secure the tent while you’re out.If you’re renting from the National Park office, you may choose to rent a sleeping bag or a set consisting of a sleeping mat and a blanket. Temperatures may drop to single digits on the Celsius scale at night, so be prepared to tuck in for warmth.A row of shops across the road from the campsite sells other common camping equipment like gas stoves, bottled water, and toiletries. They stock pretty much everything you need for a comfortable outdoor camping experience, so you really need to lug them up the mountains.
Bathroom Facilities Available in Doi Angkhang
A short distance from the tents, shared bathrooms are available for all campers to use for free. Housed in two separate blocks for each gender, the bathrooms are relatively basic with no heated water and limited toilet paper. It’s cleaned daily before the bulk of campers congregate in the afternoon, but expect it to get progressively dirtier as night comes.
You can get hot water showers at the shops across the road for around 100 Baht each time. With the nice cool temperature though, most campers will just skip the shower for the night – it’s part of the outdoor experience after all!
Dining Available in Doi Angkhang
No camping trip is complete without cooking a meal over a campfire. In Doi Angkhang, locals do it with a twist, as the shops prepare a mookata feast to be delivered and cooked right in front of your tent. Mookata is a social dining experience, where food is either grilled on a metal plate or cooked in a broth that is collected in a shallow trough running along the side. In Doi Angkhang, 400 Baht will get you an earthen stove, the mookata hotplate, charcoal to last for 2 hours, and enough ingredients to make a meal for 2 people.
Choose a shop to purchase the set, and a shop assistant will carry everything down to your tent and prepare the fire. As the campsite gets dark at night, it’s best to prepare a headlamp to free your hands while cooking AND eating (remember to use separate pairs of chopsticks for handling raw and cooked food!). If all these sound too troublesome, the shops also sell cooked food at affordable prices. As these family-run establishments double up as their homes, you might even be invited to join them for a meal if you’re lucky!
Catching the Sunrise
One of the highlights of camping in Doi Angkhang is catching the sunrise from the front of your tent. All tents are pitched on a terrace with an unblocked view, so there’s really no excuse to miss it. At 6am, wake up and partially wiggle out of your sleeping bag to unzip the flap of the tent entrance.
From the comfortable confines of your tent, you can watch a magnificent sunrise without taking a single step out.If you’re feeling active or need a boost of energy to start the day, the cool air of Doi Angkhang is ideal for a morning jog or a short hike into the woods. Otherwise, roll back into your tent to catch a few more hours of sleep.
Packing and Moving On
Most campers pack up and head back down by 10am. Checking out is straightforward, as you return all your sleeping bags or mat to the office, and then collect your driver’s license or identity card from the park ranger.From the campsite, you can head towards the Royal Agricultural Research Centre to visit the gardens and plantations, and then further on to the army base at the Thai-Myanmar border.
Alternatively, head back down the mountain towards Fang, and return to Chiang Mai (3.5 hours) or Chiang Rai (2.5 hours).If you have an extra day to spare, do check out the Chinese village of Mae Salong (3 hours), which has picturesque tea plantations to visit and an interesting background story worthy of a Hollywood movie!
Guest Author:Gary is an avid backpacker and part-time geek. He started 2-Week Trips, a travel blog dedicated to independent backpacking vacations, as a resource for the gainfully employed to embark on exciting adventures around the world.
All you have to do is say a park is dog-friendly and I will be going to visit. Kodachrome has much more to offer than just being dog-friendly though. Kodachrome Basin State Park is unique because of the single monolithic spires that dot the park.
These rock formations seem to shoot up out of the ground into the air with no reasonable explanation as to why. Some of these spires can rise nearly 170 feet into the air, with different colorations striating the spire making for a unique natural structure. There was one spire that I could not figure out for the life of me if it was a petrified tree or just an odd rock. Arches in this park are, uniquely, on the tops of the mountain rather than closer to the ground like in Arches National Park. The Grosvenor Arch is one of these arches that is located about 11 miles from Kodachrome Basin that is the most well-known arch in this area. A white towering arch that is the perfect place for those epic Instagram photos.
There are 67 different monolithic stone spires identified in Kodachrome Basin State Park. Geologists are still baffled by their formation to this day. Several theories are circulating as to how, when and why these spires were formed. One of these theories is this area used to be covered in water and over time the area wore the stone down and the waters dried up leaving Kodachrome Basin as we know it today.
How to get there:
Here is a map I made for you on how to get to Kodachrome Basin State Park. There are two options for those flying in, one to the Salt Lake City International Airport and the other to the much smaller St George Airport. You have another option of flying into Las Vegas and driving three and a half hours to Kodachrome Basin State Park as well. The drive to this area is much prettier driving from Salt Lake rather than Vegas.
It is an easy drive, but I would not try and drive the route from Salt Lake City if it is snowing. The roads can be very dangerous with multiple slide-offs. If you are coming from Las Vega in the winter, that drive will have clearer roads without snow.
Where to Stay:
In the Summer
The easiest and cheapest place to stay is typically in the Basic Land Management areas, or the Camping Areas near Kodachrome Basin. Most of these camping areas are very safe to stay in but make sure to keep your dogs on a leash as there are bobcats and coyotes in the area. Basic Campgrounds can cost you up to $20.00 per night, and you will most likely need cash to pay for these as they are typically envelope drop places. Park rangers come by around 6-7am and check cars for the campsite tickets in the window. The Park Rangers compare it to their list of envelope drops and how much you paid. If they catch you staying without paying, you can get a large fine.
In the Winter:
I would stay in Cannonville at a hotel. Kodachrome Basin State Park can have unpredictable and harsh weather changes at all hours of the day. The temperatures drop dramatically at night and hypothermia can be a problem unless you are properly equipped. Many of the campsites are also closed in the Kodachrome Basin area without restroom facilities. The hotel that we stayed at was Ruby’s Inn in Cannonville Utah. This hotel is just outside Bryce Canyon National Park and allows dogs both inside the hotel rooms and inside the common areas, but not in the grocery store. If the weather is too harsh, they have loads of activities (both in the winter and in the summer). There is an indoor pool, grocery store, convenience store, shows, restrooms, even a fireplace with cozy chairs and couches that you can crack open a book and feel as if you are staying in a grandiose cabin. Their prices are reasonable, especially in the off-season & there are refrigerators, microwave, and warm showers to chase away the chill in every room.
What to do in Kodachrome Basin:
Kodachrome Basin State Park has loads of activities for you to do and experience. With hiking trails, horseback riding trails, mountain biking trails, ATV trails and with all the unique rock formations, is truly a photographers paradise. Bree (my roommate) and I had so much fun imagining what the rock formations looked like, just as you would imagine shapes in the clouds. There were a few of the rock formations that had us in stitches from laughing.
Angel’s Palace Trail:
The trailhead is across the street from where you park. In the winter there are no restrooms open, nor are there any garbage cans – so be prepared before you go. As you start this trail it is deceivingly marked with arrows that point to the right way. Maybe it was because we were hiking this trail in the winter, I don’t really know, but about 1/4 of the way into the trail the arrows started to point the wrong way, the posts had blown over, or there were two arrows pointing two different ways on the fork, but then no other signpost.
What you want to do is get over the hill onto the other side. There is a cliff with an unbelievable view of the valley below. Coming around the corner you are struck with a breathtaking view of a mountain face that begins in a reddish orange and bleeds into a white multi-point peak that without evening knowing the name of the trail, I named it, “Heaven’s Castle”.
We spent quite a bit of time here, taking pictures, enjoying the view and wishing we could pitch a tent in this spot and forget the world and let nature heal our souls. If you do not have time to do any other trail, this is the trail I would suggest doing. It is 1.6 miles and is fairly easy to hike. It is an exposed trail to the sun, so it is fantastic to hike in winter and will be quite hot in the winter.
This was the last trail that we were able to hike before having to head back to our real life and resume our adulting duties. I think I enjoyed hiking this trail more than actually reaching Shakespeare Arch. The trail had fun little areas that you could explore the riverbed and a beautiful view of a surrounding valley. This trail is not well marked and is a 2.6-mile loop. There is no water here for you or your dogs. Most trails in Kodachrome Basin are exposed to the sun, with very little shade.
When we arrived at the Arch, well…….it was disappointing. I almost said out loud, ‘That’s it?! Well…….that’s………cute’. Not exactly a reward for the 2.6-mile moderate hike in, but the views along the way, the dogs enjoying the sand and playing in it & the comedy of Bree getting lost on the trail and almost getting stuck on the edge of a cliff is what made this hike fun for me.
Kodachrome Basin is definitely a place I will return to, it is off the beaten path. It is unique and has locations that have not been over Instagrammed and feel special when you visit. The colors of this area are striking, and around every corner, you will have both shocking and spectacular surprises.
There is so much to explore in this Park. I would give yourself at least three days to explore all the corners of Kodachrome basin adequately. Bryce Canyon National Park, Dead Horse Point, Moab, Zion National Park are just a short ride away as well, although not as dog friendly. L
Happy Travels, Happy Trails, and see you on the Flip Side
Discover the Legends of Moab Not only is Moab a great place for Jeep Safari’s, hiking, climbing, river rafting and pretty much anything you can think of to do outdoors. The Legends of Moab & its history are something everyone should know, so that travel becomes not just a grand adventure, but a meaningful and educational grand adventure. Here are some of the Legends and History of Moab that I have recently learned about:
History of Dead Horse Point & its Legends:
This is 5200 acres of beautiful deserts, steep cliffs, and sunsets that will knock your socks off. I didn’t realize this was a State Park actually, so be sure to stop by the visitors center and pay the entrance fee.
Where does the name Deadhorse Point come from?
The name Dead Horse Point comes from the story, that in the 1800’s this area was used to herd wild Mustangs. When you walk or drive along the Road you come to an area where, it is said, that a herd of ‘unwanted’ Mustangs was herded into this small area next to the 2000 ft cliff and eventually died from thirst due to the brutality of Drovers during that time.
The truth is, that yes the area was often used as a place to herd mustangs because of the natural corrals that were created by the surrounding cliffs. The story has changed over time but really was just that because it was so often used as a herding location, the unforgiving nature of the desert in Summertime caused many horses to die from exposure or thirst. It seems to depend on where you get your information from, which of these perspectives is true…..I will let you decide.
Interesting facts about Dead Horse Point:
Beyond the Legend, a rather depressing one at that, this place is an iconic photography location for weddings, landscape photography, and filmmaking. You would have seen Dead Horse Point featured in the final shot of the film ‘Thelma & Louise‘.
If you come at sunset, you can get stunning photos of the red rock and play of light and dark on the cliffs and surrounding area. Sunrise is the best time to get the clearest photos of the picturesque Colorado River winding around the canyons. It is also an ideal place for those who love Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing or hiking.
Your hike will begin just at the Visitor’s Center and is 1.5 to 2 miles long with an easy trail, well marked, slight elevation gain. We frequently stopped and took photographs, enjoying the views, to complete the trail it took us 45-minutes, even with all the photography breaks. We took the walk back to the Dead Horse Point Visitors Center, which took about 25 minutes & was accompanied by a spectacularly colorful sunset.
Legends of Moab within Indian writings:
Along Potash Road in Moab, you will find Indian writing and Petroglyphs. These unique and historical drawings are so ancient, that the drawings are typically dated by what is depicted (500 AD for bow and arrows, 1500 AD if horses are seen).
I stood in wonder at how archaic these writings are, what their meaning was to the people of that time period & if we will really ever know why exactly they chose to make the effort of carving them into the stone.
How were the Petroglyphs Discovered?
Archeologists discovered the petroglyphs prior to construction of Potash Road. There are many other Indian Petroglyphs throughout Moab, to view more of them visit Discovermoab.com where a map will be provided & tips on how to find them.
Johnny Depp filmed a portion of Lone Ranger along Potash Road, so if you see the film keep a look out for it.
Dinosaur tracks in Moab:
To see the toe prints of the dinosaurs and more of the Indian Petroglyphs, follow this map and bring your binoculars! One of the few places you can likely see something like this, so don’t miss it!
Legends of Moab and the Fisher Towers:
Located 16 miles South of Moab, with a rather bumpy dirt road that approaches it, is the Fisher Towers. These sandstone giants (of up to 1,000 feet) each have different names, with the largest tower being called the Titan Tower, with the popular climbing route called Sundevil Chimney.
There is not just one tower, but several towers each with distinct names. One of the more famous towers, is the corkscrew tower (part of the Ancient Arts formation), due to its draw for Rock Climbers along the Stolen Chimney route.
These unique natural wonders are 245 MILLION years old! Named after a miner who lived in the area in the 1800’s. Would you rather have a natural wonder or a celestial star named after you? I like to imagine that he was a great cook of fish stew, told wicked campfire stories, and never gave up his dream of finding copper in those sandstone mountains.
Legends of Moab in the Miners Town
In the 1800’s there was a mining town near here. The Mining community consisted of only 75-80 families. The mining, tragically, didn’t last for very long and most of the families moved to other towns for better work. Some of the mines actually still survive today, although most are too dangerous to explore now.
Hiking in Zermatt is one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself. Take a journey with me through one of the most beautiful countries I have seen, in Zermatt Switzerland. Start your day off with a big breakfast and a heaping dose of patience with yourself. Zermatt Switzerland is 5,310 feet (1,620m) above sea level. At that altitude you will get winded no matter how ‘fit’ you are because the air will be thinner.
Altitude sickness has nothing to do with your gender or fitness level, but it can lead to severe health complications if it is not addressed properly. Please review symptoms of altitude sickness so if it begins to happen to you, you will be able to address it properly. So if you feel out of breath, take frequent breaks and give your body time to catch up to the oxygen requirements. If you are an asthmatic (like me), be sure to bring your inhalers 🙂
As I was only able to do 2 hikes while I was there, I felt these were the best ones for me due to the fact I was suffering from altitude sickness. (I almost ended up in the hospital because I did not give my body the time it needed).
Gorner Gorge Hike
My favorite hike was over to Gorner Gorge. This is a 15-minute walk from town along the gorgeous river walk along, go past the Forest Fun park and to a small cabin where you pay a fee to pass to Gorner gorge. (If you are a little more adventurous and avid hiker, I would also suggest hiking Jungfrau Mountain in nearby Bern. )
Make sure you bring cash with you, as they do not have credit card machines (or bathrooms) at the cabin.
After paying the fee at the cabin, you walk down a flight of stairs and are met with an intricately detailed rock formation. This rock wall mesmerized me into a trance of contemplation, reflection and pure wonderment of how nature can form something so beautiful. I was unaware that this small portion of this elevated footpath was just the beginning of a stunning journey through the beauty of nature.
If you have a fear of heights, this may not be the path for you as the footpath is made of wooden planks & posts bolted into the mountainside.
There are also two different ladders that are quite steep, those with bad knees or hips may not be able to climb these without some assistance (there are about 14 steps per ladder). Even if you are not able to make it up to the biggest of the waterfalls, just contemplating life as you watch the water flow down the twists and turns of this gorge will be worth the effort. My mind wandered frequently of how I would be able to get a Kayak down the canyon, and if I attempted it, what would be the statistical probability of my demise, lol.
The twists and turns appear as though the wind carved out the gorge like a knife through soft butter. Sharp angles along the narrow canyon reflected a serene blue of the water. A stream flowed beneath in a soothing Zen-like way. The gorge makes you wish you could hook up a tent on the side of the cliff face and spend the night there. Continuing along the path, I pondered how they were able to get the footpath posts into the walls. I found myself internally thanking the men and woman who made it possible to witness this natural wonder.
Waterfalls in Zermatt
I climbed the two ladders up to the higher viewpoint and continued to explore the cliffs and gulley’s surrounding me. The view of Zermatt from the top took my breath away completely. There was the waterfall and on the other side a stunning view of Zermatt Switzerland.
Beyond Gorner Gorge
There are other hiking options that could take an entire day for you to explore. To get to these other options, just continue up the stairs to the top of the gorge. I chose to just sit in the peacefulness of the mountain and enjoy the view.
Other options for hiking are listed on the sign below. Each hike is shown with their respective times and directions, which is easily found along the trail.
Before attempting to ski in a place like this, know that these slopes are steep with sheer and treacherous drop-offs. Many of the Olympic Ski Teams come to train before their Olympic Trials. Make sure that you are in tip top shape and able to deftly navigate while on your ski’s. Not being able to control your aim, speed or cutting would likely result in a tragic end. Even the locals have a deep respect for the Mountains that surround them, and all they offer and impose.
On the way there the air conditioning inside the plane stopped working, we ended up sweating off about 10 lbs on our way there in 96 degree weather. Luckily the flight from Salt Lake City to Grand Junction was a direct 1 hr 30 min flight. We arrived at the airport, and the walk from the gate to the rental car desk literally took about 7 minutes; yes, it was a very small airport.
There were about 4 different rental car companies available & all were located inside the airport. We then made our way to our hotel, Courtyard by Marriott in Grand Junction. This hotel was the best one in town (at least to me it was.) There are cheaper options like Motel 6 or Travel lodge, but you have to be careful in small towns – cleanliness isn’t always an international standard. If hotels aren’t your thing there are plenty of camping sites available as well.
The hotel was clean, and more importantly, air conditioned! I really appreciated that the hotel staff made the effort to keep the AC running in the room I was staying in, as many hotels in small towns tend to not do this to save on costs. There was a TV, shower, coffee, hairdryer, amazing bed and fluffy pillows, and all the other usual amenities at a higher end hotel you would expect. Breakfast was included in the cost of the hotel and it was actually VERY good.
There were plenty of options in the morning for everyone, including vegetarian and healthy options. They also have a bar on the main floor that typically opens around 5pm and has a variety of choices. Coming in that night, it was actually quite crowded, and seemed to be the meeting place for the business men coming into town (hubba hubba).
Take A Walk Down Main Street
After we checked in at the Hotel,we decided to stroll down Main Street. There were so many locally owned shops, which was SO NICE! I’m a huge supporter of Mom & Pop shops. There was one store, Willowcreek, that was my favorite. It is a tea shop that has a plethora of homemade teas! They also host a Tea Bar of sorts, where you can walk up and mix up your own concoction of tea to take home with you! How cool is that?!?! The shop smelled so good I could have stayed in there all day smelling things & drinking tea like the Scottish woman I am. After tickling the nostrils with the delightful smells, we continued wandering down the street with the most amazing art pieces greeting us every few yards.
I think all of the street art and the subsequent artistically inspired shops were the most surprising thing about Grand Junction. I have been through a lot of small towns in my life, I expected to see sagebrush blowing across empty roads. But the roads were far from empty, especially after the sun went down. Locals come out in force with the most unique bikes and their pets to enjoy the cool evenings and grab a late night treat.
With all the bike shops along main street and scattered throughout town, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by the off-road bike this particular lady had. I talked to her for awhile about how she just took this bike up a mountainside during a big rainstorm and was able to slide all the way down the mountain without a problem. She described how she was covered in mud from head to toe and by the end of the trip both her & her husband looked as if they had been mud wrestling. She rides her contraption to work everyday and says she has actually put more miles on this bike than she has her own car! I feel like she would fit in really well in Amsterdam, lol. After any bike ride, there is nothing more perfect than GELATO! Make a stop at the classic ice cream shop, Gelato Junction. They pretty much make their own specialty ice cream right in the store. One of the most famous ice cream flavors in the whole town is right in this shop, called Palisade Peach. Why is this the most famous flavor? Because Palisade city is right around the corner, and in this ice cream you can actually see the small pieces of peach within the Gelato! I have one patient that told me he actually eats 3 boxes of Palisade peaches every 2 months during the summertime. Still not convinced it’s the best in town? Just ask the local wildlife, they go crazy for it 😉
Try out the Grand Junction Off-Road Racing! There are several different events to choose from all throughout the year. To see a full list of Racing and Biking tours check out Epic Rides.
Challenge your road biking abilities by biking the Colorado National Monument from one entrance to another.
There are also OHV, ATV or dirt bike trails readily available throughout the Grand Junction area. You have your choice of over 1.2 million acres to choose from surrounding Grand Junction, all of which are deemed Public Lands. For some really great summertime mountain biking, head over to the Powderhorn Mountain Resort; you will find plenty to choose from in the way of trails.
Grand Junction has 250 days of sunshine a year! That much sunshine could rival Las Vegas, which means that golfing is an integral part of the town. There are several different golf courses to choose from, and you can literally play year round.
Rockslide Restaurant & Brewery: This restaurant was opened by three friends in 1994 who wanted Grand Junction to experience the magic of a microbrewing company. This festive Restaurant has over 20 years of brewing experience, friendly staff, and is definitely the place to grab a drink after a stressful day at work or wind down after a great day of exploring nearby trails. Don’t forget to take a gander at their Happy Hour while your there. They host some of the best salads, burgers, pizza and of course brew in town 🙂 Check out their Menu to see if it can tickle your interest.
MX Resturante on Main Street (located on the Upper floor of the building) They have several options for all the picky palates out there. I ended up having 3 different tacos and chips and salsa with guacamole. My stomach is very finicky and I was nervous about eating here, but the Lime Shrimp taco & the Chicken tacos with pickled onions were to DIE for. MX Menu is varied and delicious with excellent service ta boot. If I still haven’t convinced you of the options available for your dining pleasure, take a look at this classic diner, Main Street Cafe! It was closed when we went by. It is located in down town Grand Junction, and looks absolutely ADORABLE!
Wine Country and Vineyards
Want to reward your taste buds with an excellent glass of local wine? Try these wineries out! In talking to several locals, it seems vineyards in the area are becoming ever more popular. If you cannot afford a tour of Napa Valley wines in California, this would be an excellent choice. St Kathryn Cellars:known for their lavender wine. Red Fox Winery: specializes in wines, ciders, and fruit wines — Bourbon Barrel Merlot Two Rivers Winery:Two Rivers Merlot Maison la Belle Vie Winery: Vin de Peche is the perfect Palisade dessert Hermosa Vineyards: Gewurztraminer, Reisling, and Cab Franc Rose.
Where to Watch & Listen
If you have a chance, travel along the riverfront in Grand Junction where they have recently built an Amphitheater, Las Colonias Amphitheater. Here, you will find some excellent booty shaking concerts in this former wrecking yard turned jam session arena. Residents here are quite happy about this amphitheater; they feel it is breathing life back into the city, allowing the culture to change for the better. So make sure to check out Las Colinas Amphitheater concert schedule prior to going, and check out this little piece of Grand Junction history while listening to some great tunes.
Where to Hike!
Because of my work responsibilities while in Grand Junction I was not able to grace the trails of Grand Junction. When I go back, I will definitely be trying some of these trails out, especially this one, the Rattlesnake Arch Trail. Here are the other top 10 rated trails in the Grand Junction area.
Moab is actually only a 1 hr and 15 min drive away from Grand Junction, so for a fun side trip, make sure you rent a car and extend the trip to visit Moab.
In the end, I have to admit that I was completely wrong about this place and cannot wait to go back. I never knew that so many wonderful adventures could exist in such a (comparatively) small town.
So if you like being outdoors, finding unique adventures, meeting new people, appreciate street art, statues and all around fun, make sure to visit Grand Junction Colorado. Like me, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much this city has to offer! I personally cannot wait to go back and explore.
The first time I decided to try and hike Zion National Park was with a friend from school. We were taking Organic Chemistry & just had to get away from the crazy studying that was required. We loaded up the car and headed down in June…..and it was a scorcher. I had to try twice to get all the way up to Angel’s Landing, but found plenty of alternatives to hike until I was ready to climb it all the way. So here are my tips on hiking in Zion National Park.
My First Attempt At Zion National Park
I was riddled with excitement to hike Angel’s Landing, felt like I would be part of the ‘in’ crowd & get to the top and take that one iconic picture that was all over Instagram. Well it was around noon, and it was so hot — I think it was around 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.8 C) that day. We ended up meeting these guys on the trail that were from Switzerland, as I was huffing and puffing, trying to keep up with everyone. My friend was so patient with me, and all I could think about were these self-deprecating thoughts swimming around in my head.
How I wasn’t good enough, how I was so fat that I couldn’t do what I loved and so on and so forth. Well I ended up getting really dizzy and my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, I was not sweating very much, and I didn’t even want to drink any of the warm water that we had brought along with us. I told my friend I wasn’t going to make it, she was so sweet and said she didn’t mind at all because she was getting really hot as well & glad I said something.
We ended up going to the Narrows, a wonderful hike up a riverbed, complete with swimming holes, beautiful scenery & MUCH cooler environment for me to adapt to. I was glad my friend was able to go on one hike that we both enjoyed. We ended up having a lot more fun on this hike than the other, only because it wasn’t miserably hot.
If you plan on visiting Zion’s National Park in June, July or even August you need to start this hike very very early in the morning. Get a Bandana wet so that you have something to keep yourself cool. Bring Gatorade or an electrolyte drink with you. There are several tourists every year that don’t prepare well for the hiking & heat, and end up getting hospitalized for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. There is always one tourist, or someone in a youth group we hear about, that dies from heat every year, so don’t let that be you or someone you care about. Come PREPARED! Don’t be afraid to turn around, your pride is not worth as much as your life.
That is the great thing about Zion, if one hike doesn’t work then you have plenty of options around for every type of traveler, physical condition, hiker preference etc…
There are shuttles that can take you to each trail head and each trail head is clearly marked. Those who are in wheelchairs or have bad knees can wander around the trail head, there are plenty of little trails everywhere for each level of physical health. Be sure to check out the opening hours and times of the shuttles should you need to use them.
In some areas you have to actually swim with your pack overhead to not get your camera wet. Make sure that you have a Protective Water Proof Case. I would also recommend a walking stick because this is a river bed that is very rocky. Bring water shoes, wear your swimming suit. You can turn around at any point on the trail, you can hike for one hour, 10 hours, 16 hours, or 1-2 days depending on your physical capabilities. Make sure you are properly prepared to Hike the Narrows if you decide to go, do not think you know more than mother nature.
When we left, we had some great memories, but I was still pretty bummed and embarrassed about having to turn around on the Angel’s Landing trail. So I made up my mind to not let the trail beat me, and I was determined to go back and tackle it one more time. I started to do some conditioning and training for hiking Angels Landing, which meant A LOT of STAIRS and a bunch of lunges & calf raises.
It was about 2 years later when I got the chance to tackle the trail again. I went alone this time and just knew that I was going to make it to the top, come hell or high water……or in this case snow.
It was October, and Utah weather is VERY unpredictable. There is actually a joke here, that if you don’t like the rainy weather, you just cross the street for sunshine.
The storm clouds were coming in, and I stopped at a little unique looking hotel called, Zion Lodge, on the way to Zions. This looks like a great place to stay (if you have the money). The weather didn’t look like it was going to dump any rain, maybe snow, but no lightning or thunder — so I ventured on. (Check out the Safety Tips on Hiking in a Storm) It was the off season, so I was able to drive right up to where the hike started pretty much and just took my keys, small backpack and some water and started up the trail.
I had my rucksack, my music, my two feet and a heart that knew I was going to conquer. I started on the trail, which was well marked and easy to follow (even for a directionally challenged person).
I was so proud of myself I made it to these switch backs, there were plenty of them to make the hike super doable.
Hiking tip: switchbacks often scary for new hikers, but they are actually a really good way to conserve your energy, so you don’t wear out before you get to the top. Switch backs prevent you from having to climb straight up with a rope.
For my climbing readers: If you want to climb up to Angel’s Landing, there are a few routes, but you have to have permits, are physically capable of doing it, and that the routes are open. There are about 8 different routes with various degrees of difficulty, but please note that these are typically Trad routes. If you don’t know what that means, then please don’t attempt it.
Once you get past the switchbacks, then you see your first ascent with the legendary chained path. Once you start up this path, especially during the high season, its basically the point of no return (you will see why later). Basically, they are there for you if you should slip, get dizzy from the altitude, or have a fear of heights.
Hiking tip: When hiking on steep surfaces where chains are available, a good rule of thumb is to always keep one hand on the chain at all times. Be patient with those in front of you (and sometimes those behind you). If the people behind you are getting pushy, I usually just try and fart or pretend like I farted & they back off rather quickly, lol — I know, I know – I have no shame, medical professional…. come on.
The path is pretty well worn, but the great thing about sandstone is that it doesn’t typically get slippery from all the foot traffic until it gets wet. So make sure you have good shoes to take with you. I like my Merrell hiking shoes because they have these magical rubber soles that stick to any kind of rock and I have never had a problem with them. If you have weak ankles, then I suggest High top’s on your hiking shoes for support. Once you get past the chains you come to this gut turning sight, a narrow path with sheer drop off’s on each side of the trail. This is why I told you, the prior chained area was a point of no return. At this point, I got a good song on, screamed along with the song inside my head, and just focused on putting one foot in front of the other while I white-knuckled the chain.
There is a reward at the end though….beautiful views with breathtakingly stunning 360 view of Zion’s National Park in all its glory! You can see why it is called Angel’s Landing once you stand in this place. I feel like I took 1,000 photos up here, for more of a reason than just to plaster them on Facebook or Instagram….it was a triumph of fear, self-doubt, and self-deprecating thoughts of my failed attempt at doing this so long ago.
Celebrate Your Victories, Learn From Defeat
I was a little reluctant to share this experience because I was worried people would judge me for finding this hike to be so challenging. I have been finding more and more that I am my own worst critic, and I think we all are. Why do we let ourselves be defeated by our own thoughts?
Why do we limit our experiences because we are afraid society might think, ‘oh she is so stupid for even attempting this at her [insert comment on physical shape or age]’? Who cares if you look the part of an experienced hiker? Who cares if you are huffing and puffing to the top! Are you taking the photos for your Instagram followers, for yourself, or your posterity? If you stuck with me to the end of this post, you are likely one of the few that take photos for your posterity, for your own memories, for your video or photo journal — as a consistent reminder to yourself that you CAN do it, and you can succeed at anything you LET yourself succeed at.
Celebrate your victories, learn from your defeats, but don’t ever give up….find your courage and say, “I WILL NOT LET YOU DEFEAT ME!” Even if we are saying that to our own critical selves. Thank you for taking this hike with me. Honor the best that is within you, make peace with the parts you have labeled as weaknesses, and never ever give up on yourself.
Where is your next hiking trip?
What is the hardest hiking trip you have ever done?
Reading Time: 5minutes Anyone who has traveled with their dog knows the frustration that comes with trying to make the trip go smoothly. When your furry friend is with you, you get rejected at restaurants and hotels, and even trails are restricted to you— even with the most trained of dogs. Here is my experience with traveling with my furry friend in Moab, and it why it was WONDERFUL! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT_EO2KsPdQ
I was moving back to Utah from Texas. I’ve spent the majority of my life in Utah but had never seen one of the major National Parks there, including Moab. I always thought having a furry friend in Moab with you was illegal….. I was wrong. Most National Parks don’t exactly like pets, but Utah, being such an outdoorsy state, has plenty to offer for your furry friend. When planning for the trip, I looked at Booking.com and put the ‘dog-friendly’ filter on, and found this great little Inn, Gonzo Inn. It is dog-friendly and there is only a small fee for bringing pets (no fee for service pets). Some of the rooms have fireplaces, which was great for me. When I was visiting in October/November, the nights and mornings were chillier than most. Right outside your back door, you have a rocky area and a small patio that you can let your dog out on. There is also a little doggie play area, which is great. The staff are very helpful and they even watched my dog for me while I ate breakfast at their great breakfast bar. My dog has separation anxiety and howls and scratches the doors pretty bad if I leave her behind, so I have to take her with me, especially if I don’t want to be murdered by the other guests at the hotel. Other tips for this hotel: they don’t allow bikes inside the hotel rooms but they are located in the center of downtown and within walking distance of a few restaurants and grocery stores. For more dog-friendly hotels look here. In general, dogs are not allowed inside restaurants or any store with food in it. So if you would like to eat something, here are a few tips: bring a cooler with your own food (fridges are in most hotel rooms now), order takeout from a diner, or get fast-food.
I was on the road too long to bring my own food, so I ended up taking Zoey into the lobby of a local restaurant and ordered take-out. They didn’t seem to mind, as long as I kept her in the waiting area. In the summertime, I’m sure you can sit outside on the patio area of most restaurants with your furry friend.
[caption id="attachment_4330" align="aligncenter" width="451"] Corona Arch in Moab Utah[/caption]
The next day we hit the trails and I wanted to definitely see an Arch and didn’t want to leave Zoey behind. We were only going to be there for one day, so I decided on Corona Arch & Negro Bill Canyon. [gallery ids="4331,4328" type="rectangular"] Corona Arch trail is an easy 3-mile trail with a few steep spots that were hard to navigate. There is also an open field where it was hard to find the trail, but if you follow the stacked rocks, you can usually find your way pretty easily. We rounded a corner and you could see the Arch from further away. There is a 7-foot ladder you have to climb up in order to get to the Arch itself, and with me being 5’4″ and trying to lift my 17 lb squirming dog that hates to be held up… that just wasn’t going to happen. Next time, I will bring a bag to stick her in, climb up the ladder, and take her out of the bag. That is the only way I could think of to actually reach the arch with Zoey.
[gallery ids="4334,4327" type="rectangular"]
The sun in the winter goes down rather quickly, especially in Utah, but I wanted to get one more hike in. I decided on Negro Bill Canyon Trail. This is a gorgeous and easy 5-mile hike. I get a little nervous hiking that close to sunset, but with a little help from other hikers on the trail, we made it there and back quite easily.
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Along this trail, you will find a little stream with several easy crossings. Your furry friend’s feet will get wet though, so make sure you have something to cover the seat with when you put them back in the car. When you get to the arch, be aware and cautious to not let your dog go into the brush along the trail or roam free. There is quite a bit of Poison Ivy along the trail, especially at the bottom near the arch, and if your furry friend rubs that along their belly then they can suffer the same symptoms we do. When you get to the Arch, it just looks like another part of the mountain but if you go up close and underneath it, you are able to see how massive and impressive it is.
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Overall, it was a PERFECT trip with her and I will never forget those bonding moments we had while we were there together. If you plan on staying longer than I did, here are some other hikes that were suggested to me: Moab Rim Trail, Amphitheater Loop, Dellenburgh Trail, Fisher Towers Trail, Grandstaff Canyon, Hidden Valley Trail, Hunter Canyon, Ken’s Lake Trail, Longbow Arch Trail, Poison Spider Bench, Portal Overlook Trail, Stairmaster, Sylvester, and Trough Springs Trail. If you want to go on a hike that does not allow dogs, there are several doggie daycares in town that seem to have pretty good reviews. Moab Barkery is the doggie daycare I would likely look into if I were to have Zoey stay somewhere. It has 22 reviews with a 4.6 average rating And it is right near the center of town.
[caption id="attachment_4333" align="alignnone" width="3264"] Zoey posing and very excited for her adventure in Moab[/caption]
Last but not least, don’t forget to pack the doggie turd in, and pack it out. Please keep your pup on a leash so as to avoid antagonizing other dogs on the trail.
Happy Travels, Happy Tales, and See you on the Flip Side.
Before we began our hike to Akchour, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I had just arrived in Chefchaouen the night before with my friend Omar and his friend Medi, after a nearly 2-hour drive from Rabat. I had been traveling through Morocco for 2 weeks with very little sleep and was completely exhausted when I started this hike. So my first tip is to do this hike when you are well rested and hydrated. If I had done this any other day, not while I was feeling ill, dehydrated and exhausted – it would have been a Moderate hike with beautiful surroundings. That being said, here is my personal experience when hiking to Akchour and some of the tips and mistakes I made when doing it.
It was cooler in the mountains than I expected, so make sure to bring a jacket (especially if you were sunburned from Marrakech like I was). There were a few clouds resting on the mountain side which gave this place even more of a mysterious and magical feeling than before. When you come to Chefchaouen, you feel as if it is the calmest place on the planet. The locals are very welcoming to tourists and incredibly helpful. The locals don’t get irritated with travelers like other popular destinations I have seen or lived in.
We went to grab dinner at the old Medina, hiking up the narrow passageways to the center of town. Omar picked a café that had quite a few locals in it and we sat down to order our Tagines. I ordered a Vegetable Tagine that really hit the spot.
This was my first mistake: I didn’t eat any protein the night before the hike to Akchour waterfalls. We left the Medina and headed back to our guest house to get some much-needed sleep so we could wake early the next morning and start our hike to Cascades D’Akchour.
Omar kept telling me, “the hike to Akchour waterfalls is hard Janiel, its 1 hour and 30 minutes hike” — well he looked about the same physical shape I was in, and I had been working with a trainer, so I thought, “Oh, I’ll be fine, he doesn’t know what he is talking about.” That was my second mistake….. We left for Akchour and had a little trouble finding the way, but after asking several locals the correct roads to take, we were able to arrive in time to start (and finish) the hike.
Traveler tip: You can catch a Grand Taxi in the center of town but try and get a local or the hotel/hostel/guest house personnel to negotiate a good price for you. A fair price would be around 250 Dirham (with tip included), which is around $25. Just make sure they are willing to take you back into town as well. Bring extra cash with you for the return trip to Chefchaouen and for some important items I will explain later, as well as your own towel, a jacket or sweater, and a water bottle.
The road to Akchour passes through some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen in all of my travels. I literally filled my 64 GB memory card with hundreds of images of this breathtaking scenery. Once we got to Akchour, it was fairly easy to find the trail. There are plenty of locals there to point you in the right direction (but don’t expect many of them to know English). We started hiking up the canyon (where the sign points to Akchour), and the first thing that immediately impressed me was the endless swaths of green and the waterfalls that seemed to appear around every corner.
I know you may think that I keep showing you the same waterfall over and over, but each one of these waterfalls is uniquely different and special in their own way. Each waterfall had a swimming hole, that is quite deep, and on a hot summer day is great to pause you hike and take a quick dip to cool off.
Traveler tip: The hike to Akchour waterfalls itself is said to take around 2-3 hours. That is, if you are use to the high altitude of the Atlas Mountains and can tackle the steep elevations of the trail. Yes there are steps you can use, the trail is well maintained; but the steps are made for tall people…..not short people. So be prepared, its like when my trainer has me doing box steps onto the 24″ box step, for 2 hours.
At the first hour of the hike to Akchour waterfalls, I felt like I was getting a good workout. Then we started to get to the steeper portions, and I started to lag behind my giraffe-like friends, who at one point I was cursing in my head for their ridiculous height.
TALL PEOPLE JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH HARDER IT IS TO GO UP THE GIANT 24″ -32″ STEPS! It takes us a lot more effort and energy! (ok, rant over) — I know I’m not in the best shape, but I had been working out really hard and felt like I could tackle this. They were going really fast up the hill for me, so be sure to hike with people who go at your same pace.
Omar tried to be patient, but Medi was not as patient, and I felt like the weak link. So if you go hiking, make sure people know if you like to go fast or slow and split into two groups. In defense of Medi, his English was not that great, and I think was a little shy to talk to a single American woman when he was a married guy.
I was positive the whole trip, but the last hour up the canyon I really thought that my legs were going to either give out, or I was going to pass out. I didn’t realize how hard it would be, even Omar started to get tired by the end of it. My legs felt like Jello, my mind growled, “I’m going to die in these mountains, just like the Spanish did when they tried to invade. I don’t think Morocco has helicopters that can transport me out of here. I really don’t know if you are going to be able to stand once you get to the end, and if you are able to, how the hell are you going to make it back without needing to be carried”? While this may be a tad bit on the dramatic side, I think the travel fatigue had set in full force. I had been traveling for two weeks non-stop and had Montezuma’s revenge set in the week before.
There were some blessed spots along the way that leveled out & I wanted to just linger longer in these areas to soak up the beauty and take more photos. Alas, this was not possible to do, as a storm was coming in and we had to get there and head back to travel to the next destination. Omar tried to make me laugh, and entice me with the food at the end, but I was NOT in the mood & poor guy… I just told him I wasn’t able to talk about food right then.
We finally arrived at the Cascades D’Akchour, and it was soooo cold! The storm winds had started to set in, and I was quite sweaty so I got cold very quickly. Omar was so excited to show me the waterfall, it truly was beautiful and I just sat in one of the chairs enjoying the relief of making it to the waterfall.
Traveler Tip: Please eat a hearty breakfast & take water with you before you hike to Akchour waterfalls. There are areas along the way that you can buy orange juice and water at the local cafes, but I didn’t bring any cash with me thinking, ‘oh I will be fine, who needs money when you are in nature’.
Omar is a hilarious and kind human being, he just laid back in the water taking selfies like he was in a hot tub. He also had a Cigar that was given to him that he had been saving for an entire year, just to come and smoke in these waters and take a selfie, lol. He really lives his life to the fullest and tries to bring everyone around him on his grand adventures.
The water had to be around 40 degrees F, very very very cold, especially after a hike. I didn’t really want to hike back wet, but Omar convinced me, ‘You don’t travel to a country like this, do that hike like you did, and not reward yourself with this amazing swim. Don’t waste an opportunity like this, this is when you create good memories’. Well, he sold me on the idea, and I went in for a dip. If you decide to swim, I would recommend just wearing wicking material & go in fully clothed, it’s nice to have the cool clothing on you when you are hiking back.
The swim was great, and I stayed in about 15 minutes because it was actually making my legs feel so good. It was like a natural ice bath for my exhausted legs, and I really really appreciated that the next day. (If you think I’m exaggerating about this hike, there were some other Americans there that came up and looked about the same way I probably did – completely knackered. It’s not just about your fitness level– these mountain valleys are the reason the Spanish Armada was defeated here).
We got done swimming and had this wonderful tagine that was cooked by the locals right there. They were so nice and let us sit by their stoves to keep warm for a bit. We ate our fill, drank the delicious mint tea & decided to head back down the mountain to get back into Chefchaouen before dark.
Once I had a little food in my stomach, and stopped being so ‘hangry’, I was able to keep up with the guys pretty well. Took plenty of photos on the way back down, and couldn’t believe how good I felt after taking the dip in the waters of the Cascades D’Akchour. Still, to this day, I keep telling Omar, how magical and truly healing I feel like those waters were for me.
I have never been one to hesitate on things like that until some experiences in Dallas changed me into something I didn’t recognize myself as being. But for some reason, ever since my hike to Akchour waterfalls, the spontaneity came back to me, and it was the first time I felt happy and like giggling (like the old me), in nearly a year. So if you are ever looking for magical waters in Morocco, this is the place to be, in my own way I have now named it the ‘Fountain of Youth’. Because when you leave, you really feel like you have become the young, free and spontaneous self again. Happy Travels my friends, and don’t hesitate to go and see this wonderful Fountain of Youth in Akchour. The road is hard on the hike to Akchour, but it is worth it in the end.