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Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

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By Wayne Lazarus on August 10th, 2010

Categories: Linda's Travel Articles

The National Park Service has announced it is waiving entrance fees for the weekend of August 14 – 15. While more than 200 of the 392 national parks never charge entrances fees — this is a great time to plan a visit to one that does.

normal_Delicate Arch FJArches National Park in Eastern Utah has some of the most awe-inspiring scenery in the United States, with its fins (long narrow formations,) balanced rocks and over 2,000 of those breath-taking arches. Much of the park’s 76,519 acres can be seen from the car, but you’re going to want to get closer. There are hiking trails of varied levels and the park is popular among climbers and bikers, although restrictions exist. Ranger led tours of the Fiery Furnace, a maze of sandstone, are available by reservations only at $10 for adults. (The tour fee is not waived for the weekend.)

Less than an hour away is Canyonlands National Park – Utah’s largest national park. It also has paved roads from which you can tour the Needles (tall, thin rocks,) the Maze (canyons to get lost in) and the Island in the Sky. Normal admission for each of these national parks is $5 for individuals of $10 per vehicle, good for seven days.

normal_CanyonlandsWhile you’re taking advantage of “free” offers, visit Moab, just five miles south of Arches. Admission to Moab’s museum is free on Mondays, through November. (Normal admission is $3 for adults.) Exhibits there explain the geology behind the beautiful scenery in this part of the world, the history of the peoples who have lived here and the dinosaurs that left behind fossils.

The area around Moab is popular among bikers, balloonists and outdoor enthusiasts. The new Slickrock Trails has three levels of mountain biking — getting people up close to this spectacular landscape. In town there are interesting shops, restaurants and art galleries, which sponsor an Art Walk on Saturdays. You can take a sunset cruise along the Colorado River or follow a self-guided tour of the many sites used for movies. Since the ’50′s, this part of Utah has been popular among filmmakers. More recently, parts of Thelma & Louise, Mission Impossible II, City Slickers II and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade were filmed here.

Photos: Delicate Arch by Frank Jensen. Canyonlands at Dusk by Tom Till. Both used with permission, courtesy Utah Office of Tourism.

1 Comments Total

VisitMoab Utah - August 12, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Firey Furnance tours are now available to reserve online in advance upon ReserveUSA. IN addition to the National Parks, the state park, Dead Horse Point offers evening campfire talks. Well narrated, educational ranger programs. The park visitor center will have times and topic details. In Moab, at the Moab Information Center, most Thursday nights at 7 p.m. are free lectures on a variety of science topics.

Watch the event calendar for fun additives to any visit — the most rounded is found on DiscoverMoab dot com.

Finally, the Moab Area Travel Council has a new website for meetings, weddings and events. Upon it are venues and services. A staff person is dedicated to assist planners with travel logistics, special use permits and sorting out sites, event rentals and more. Just Another Reason to Love Moab: Meetings and Events! (advertising grant money available for new events based in Moab. Submission deadline is annually on October 15th for an event the following year) http://www.moabutah.info for all the details.

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