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Just outside of the charming town of Radiator Springs... er... I mean Moab, Utah... sits the majestic Arches National Park. Being an easy drive away from our home, my family likes to day trip here. Especially during the Spring months, before that desert climate starts to really heat up those lovely red rocks, and the temperatures effortlessly soar above 100 degrees.
Wait...is this the real Radiator Springs?
I can't help but think of Disney's Cars every time we are in this area. Here you'll find the Southwest's grand open vistas decorated with red rock formations, which were clearly the inspiration for the movie's setting. This is the REAL Radiator Springs, people!
Although we arrived slightly hungry, we wanted to head right into the park to stretch our legs and hike a bit first, before going in to town for some "urban" exploring. Hey, that's what the snack bag is for. So we snacked in the car, and headed straight into Arches National Park first thing.
Fun Fact: Bring along the grandparents, and you can coast in to this National Park for FREE, by using their $10 Lifetime Senior National Parks Pass! Perfectly legit, if they are your passenger. That's a heckuva deal, for you AND them.
As soon as you enter the park, you'll instantly be treated to some spectacular scenery. Those rocks are SO RED, it's truly breathtaking. And if that isn't enough natural beauty for you, let's add in the snow crested La Sal mountain range in the background for a gorgeous contrast (opening photo above).
We like to take the drive about half way into the park before stopping to hike. We have small kids, so our hikes on these day trips are short and casual. This park offers some very short trails, with high yields.
Check out this Arches National Park map for a lay of the land. Our favorite area to stop is near Double Arch - take that first red squiggle road right, to the loop at the road's end. Here you can park, access a pit toilet (if you're desperate), and head in two different directions: the North/South Window and Turret Arch area, or the Double Arch area.
These particular trails are so short, in fact, that you can spot the beautiful arch formations at the trail's end while still in the parking lot, if it helps decide which way you'd like to go. Both are definitely worth seeing.
Even in early March, you're going to be treated to that soul-soothing feeling of the sun warming your skin. Visiting in Spring is such an ideal time to experience the Moab area, when the temperatures are in the 60s, instead of 100+ degrees.
Between the easy access and breathtaking beauty, this is a popular park. So you probably won't have that peaceful, remote wilderness experience here. There were plenty of people sharing the area with us, but it was still well worth the visit.
Overall, it was a grand day! Every time we come to the Moab and Arches National Park, we wish we were staying for more than just a day. If you get a chance to check it out, I'm certain you'll enjoy your time there.
Written by Tami Mittan
Colorado Mountain Mom