Arches & Canyonlands Hiking

Trip Length 6 Days
Group Size 4?12
Activity level
Starting from
$3,199 for REI Members
$3,599 for non-members
Departures Oct 2020-Oct 2021

Water and wind have sculpted these extraordinary national parks; a sense of wonder and adventure will guide us through this 6-day hiking journey.

Arches and Canyonlands National Parks offer active explorers an unforgettable introduction to the grandeur of the Colorado Plateau's high desert. Each park brings its own beauty, but both take their name very much to heart. Arches, located on the Colorado River, has 2,000 natural sandstone arches dotting its terrain. Canyonlands is a maze of vast canyons amidst a colorful landscape. Our peaceful lodge overlooking the Colorado River in Moab is our western paradise basecamp. From here, we explore the best of both these exciting worlds.?

Alternating between Canyonlands and Arches, our daily hikes take us to scenic viewpoints high above the red canyons of the Colorado River, past giant sandstone arches curving gracefully into the sky, and to panels covered with ancient Native American rock art. We stop occasionally to take pictures and to take it all in, knowing this shared experience provides a better connection to nature and to each other.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore the magnificent landscapes of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
  • Hike to stunning sites like Delicate Arch, the Needles, and Devil's Garden
  • Stay at a serene western lodge with panoramic views of red cliffs, nestled along the banks of the Colorado River

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. You should be capable of hiking up to 8.5 miles (up to 6 hours) while carrying a daypack. We hike both on- and off-trail; terrain includes dirt and sand trails, open sandstone slickrock and some steep inclines/declines.

  • Hiking

What's Included

Double-occupancy lodgings at Moab, Utah for 5 nights; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; all vehicle transfers; guide leadership; park entrance fees.

Accommodations

Lodge, 5 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Travel to our lodge on the banks of the Colorado River, afternoon hike.

Our trip begins at 10am today at the Grand Junction, Colorado airport. After introductions we transfer to our comfortable accommodations in Moab, Utah. This afternoon we set out on a hike that provides incredible views of massive fin-like sandstone rock formations. We admire the deep red and pink hued colors of the canyons while enjoying a guide-prepared picnic dinner. Lunch and dinner included.

Hiking: 4+ miles on sand and slickrock trails; Elevation gain/loss: 800'; Driving: 2 hours.

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Day 2

Take a mesa-top hike in Canyonlands with views of sandstone spires.

Today?s hike is in Canyonlands National Park. The trail begins with a gradual climb across open wildflower-filled grassland toward the rim of Island in the Sky mesa. The sandy trail eventually changes to slickrock before reaching a mesa-top vantage point offering awe-inspiring views across the Colorado River Canyon to the soaring sandstone pinnacles and spires of White Rim. Watching for bighorn sheep, we hike just below the mesa rim along the Lathrop Trail, with the cliffs of Island in the Sky above and the fantastically-carved red rock canyons of the Colorado River spread out before us. Tonight we dine in Moab. All meals included.

Hiking: up to 8 miles on sand and slickrock trails; Elevation gain/loss: 600'.

Day 3

Explore the Klondike Bluffs of Arches National Park.

Reaching Arches National Park, we travel along a dirt road through the Salt Valley to the remote Klondike Bluffs region. This area is seldom visited by other hikers. We hike to Tower Arch via a series of steep climbs over slickrock and sand, walking between massive cliffs that are hundreds of feet high. We enjoy a picnic lunch with time to enjoy the views of monoliths that comprise the surrounding landscape . You can also practice your scrambling skills. The next section of the hike includes a multitude of sandstone fins; the enormity of the landscape provides a sense of awe. Dinner is on your own in Moab, with transfers provided by your guides. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 5.5 miles along primitive sand and slickrock trails; Elevation gain/loss: 600'; Driving: 3 hours.

Day 4

Hike in Canyonlands' Needles District and marvel at the petroglyphs.

We set out to a hiker's paradise, the remote Needles section of Canyonlands National Park. Before entering the park, we take time to view a series of ancient pictographs and petroglyphs at Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument. There are hundreds of fascinating petroglyphs (some dating back 2000 years) carved into the rock face by the Native American peoples who passed through this region over the centuries. Our hike begins at Squaw Flat. We are treated to unforgettable vistas of this entire region of Canyonlands, including an astonishing array of sandstone "needles" rising from the slickrock landscape like a city of stone skyscrapers. Our hike concludes at Elephant Hill trailhead. Returning to our lodge, we have dinner together. All meals included.

Hiking: 6 miles, mostly on slickrock; Elevation gain/loss: 600'; Driving: 4 hours.

Day 5

Hike to Delicate Arch, Devil's Garden and the Windows in Arches National Park.

Arches National Park is our focus today. With giant balanced rocks, colorful hoodoos, and more than 2000 sandstone arches of all shapes and sizes lying within its borders, Arches National Park is nature's sculpture garden. Our hike takes us through the tall canyon walls of Park Avenue, where we are surrounded by imposing red cliffs. Continuing our hike, we reach the most extraordinary natural arch in the Southwest - the magical Delicate Arch. Perched above a striated sandstone basin, the graceful shape, color and location of Delicate Arch make it a photographer's dream. We pause for a picnic lunch with wonderful views of this natural work of art. Next, we hike the Devil's Garden Trail to view Landscape Arch, the longest in the park, stretching to more than 300 feet. The Double Arch and Windows Trail round out our day of exploring. We stop at the park?s visitor center, then return to our lodge. Dinner is in Moab. All meals included.

Hiking: Up to 8.5 miles on sand and slickrock trails; Elevation gain/loss: 1000'; Driving: 1 hour.

Day 6

Bid farewell to Utah's canyon country and return to Grand Junction.

We depart our lodge and begin our journey back to Grand Junction, Colorado. En route we take a final hike on the Grandstaff Canyon Trail to see Morning Glory Natural Bridge, the sixth longest natural rock span in the U.S. Following a picnic lunch, we continue our drive to reach Grand Junction by 4pm. Breakfast and lunch included.

Hiking: 4.3 miles over sand and slickrock with a few small creek crossings; Elevation gain/loss: 400'; Driving: 2 hours.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary?this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

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Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Photo Identification

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.