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4th August 2003 - Road Trip - day 4 - Colorado National Monument, Arches National Momument, Moab, Slickrock Bike Trail

We did another quick trip around the Colorado National Monument to see it in a different light, and then took the road into Utah to get to Arches National Monument.

As soon as we turned off of the I-70 in Utah, the landscape immediately started to change dramatically. Huge towers of sandstone dominated the desert and we followed a river that cut through the massive lines of rock on either side.

Eventually we reached Arches National Monument. It’s a huge park in the desert with massive towers of sandstone that have eroded over millions of years into strange shapes and in may cases form arches. The thing that strikes you most about this place is the heat. God damn it's hot – it was over 100 degrees F while we were here, and with no shade at all, it’s harsh hiking along the trails.

arches national monument

We did, however, find a nice oasis in a spot called Sand Dune Arch. It’s nestled between tall sandstone fins and in deep sand... a nice rest bite from the heat!

We toyed with camping, but with the heat it seemed like a bad idea. Just outside the park we found a campsite with cabins – lots of them. So we booked a sleep cabin (with air con) and spent a cool nights sleep after sampling the swimming pool and showers.

That evening we ate in nearby Moab and then drove the short distance to the take a look at one of the hardest mountain bike trails in the USA. Slickrock Bike Trail is a mecca for mountain bikers and rated 4 on a scale of 1 to 4. The main trail is 12.7 miles long and is open for motorcycles and mountain bikes, but unsuitable for ATV’s due to the steep side slopes and narrow ledges. It can take 3 to 4 hours to ride and they recommend starting at 6AM because of the extreme heat.

We walked part of the practice loop just before sunset - and it was hard to even walk parts of the trail!