Moab and Glenwood Springs, Aug 2020

In the summer of 2020 we took three days to visit and recreate in two of our favorite towns in the Western US. We’d visit and hike in Arches National Park, float on the Colorado River, and stay at one of the historic hotels of Glenwood Springs.

  • Highlights
    • Springhill Suites, Moab, UT
    • Delicate Arch Trail & Devil’s Garden in Arches NP
    • Colorado River Tubing
    • Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs CO
    • Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company, Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Lowlights
    • None
  1. Day 1: Moab, UT
  2. Day 2: Arches National Park and Moab
  3. Day 3: Arches and Glenwood Springs, CO
  4. Glenwood Springs

Day 1: Moab, UT

Scenery along Highway 128

The car thermometer read 108F the day we arrived in Moab after a scenic drive along the Colorado River. Rather than drive in from the busier and less scenic Highway 191, we had taken the windier Highway 128. As we exited the car at our hotel we could feel the heat.

Lodging: Springhill Suites by Marriott: 4.5 Stars
The pool area and waterpark are really impressive. It’s actually shared with the neighboring Fairfield Inn, There is a large main pool with Arches-like rock features and a couple smaller pools. You can see the red rocks of Moab in all their glory from the pool area.
The rooms are suites and the hotel is still fairly new and in great condition. Since we were there during the COVID craziness there was only a bag breakfast so we can’t comment on its quality. Also , the staff wasn’t the friendliest we ever met.

After a few hours cooling off in the pool Shell and I headed out for a nice date-night dinner while the kids enjoyed pizza and watched a movie in the hotel room.

Restaurant: Sunset Grill: 4 Stars
The Sunset Grill sits up on a ridge overlooking Moab. The views are outstanding from the restaurant and patio area. We ordered steak which while decent wasn’t the best we ever had. But we had great service and enjoyed a few good cocktails while we dined.

Day 2: Arches National Park and Moab

We started off for Arches relatively early knowing that the relatively cool 90F temperatures would soon give way to boiling hot 105 F+ temperatures. We planned to do the Delicate arch hike as a family as drove straight to the trailhead.

Attraction: Delicate Arch Trail: 5 Stars
Delicate Arch is one of the great geologic wonders of the USA and the signature arch of Arches National Park.

The hike to Delicate Arch is only about 3.75 miles roundtrip, but with young kids and high temperatures it’s more of a challenge. I’ve learned as a dad that I will need to spend double or triple the time on any trail when we hike as a family. But the reward is knowing we accomplished a hike as a family.

The era of COVID in 2020 was bizarre in that people willingly induced themselves to extra misery by wearing masks on the trail. We did not and there was no requirement to wear them outside in the park. While the distance isn’t that significant, the hike is relatively steep and there is no shade for the majority of the hike.

Delicate Arch unfortunately attracts a ton of hikers and many of them insist on having their picture taken right at the base of the arch. It makes it difficult for the rest of us who want a picture to get a moment to get a clear photo. We took our photo on the opposite side where we aren’t interfering with anyone’s photography.
After descending I took the side trail to the Anasazi Indian petroglyphs and we looked at the homesteader cabin as well.

Following the hike to Delicate Arch we had a reservation to float on inner tubes in the Colorado River. The kids were too tired to do more hiking and with the temperature now close to 110F the cool waters of the river were enticing.

Attraction: Colorado River Tubing: 4.5 Stars

Canyonlands By Night and Day rents inner tubes for floating on the Colorado River. They will drive you upriver to a launching point (depending on how far you want to go and the flow of the river it could be 2-4 hours). We also rented a tube for cold drinks and snacks (highly recommended).
If you try tubing the river know that it is possible to stand in the river but the mud beneath the surface can be extremely sticky and you made have trouble moving in it. Also know that if the air temperature is very hot compared to the water temp you might get some of the worst cramps you’ve ever experienced upon entering the water. Splash water on yourself to moderate your temperature.

Restaurants: Eddie McStiff’s: 3.5 Stars

The restaurant was practically our’s alone when we arrived after the float. But the food was pretty good and so was the very attentive service. The kids were able to be goofy without a care.

Afterward we got some ice cream from the store and went back to the hotel to chill out and relax for the evening.

Day 3: Arches and Glenwood Springs, CO

I planned to be up before sunrise to go into Arches and enjoy the sunrise as well as do some quick hiking in the Devil’s Garden.

I drove into the park and started up the short trail to the Windows where a small crowd had already gathered for the sunrise. As I proceeded up the trail I heard a distinctive rattle and found that a midget faded rattlesnake was alarmed by my presence.

I read later that the venom of the midget faded rattlesnake is actually more potent than the prairie rattlesnakes common in Colorado. Fortunately I only got a photo out of the encounter.

The Windows area of Arches was a great spot for sunrise photos and I walked around to the opposite Window and took a few pictures of the illuminated Keyhole Arch as well.

Attractions: Arches NP: Windows Area: 4.5 Stars

With the family still back at the hotel and time relatively short, I returned to the car to drive on to Devil’s Garden. Devil’s Garden is the second most popular area of Arches after Delicate Arch.

Attractions: Arches NP: Devil’s Garden: 5 Stars

I parked at the lot and set my sights for Landscape Arch a mile down the trail. The hike was realtively quick and until you arrive at Landscape Arch there are not a lot of arches to see. But there are hundreds of miles of trail to cover and an equal number of arches in Arches if you have the time and energy to see them.

After returning to the car I drove back to reunite with the rest of the family. We had beakfast, got some coffee and started off on our way to Glenwood Springs, CO, vowing to return to Utah the following year to complete the Big 5 National Parks tour.

Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs is probably our favorite town in Colorado (Durango, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs all vie for that title). There is so much to see and do in Glenwood Springs and the surrounding area and the town is full of great historic buildings and terrific restaurants.

On this visit we decided to stay in the historic Hotel Colorado.

Lodging: Hotel Colorado, Glenwood Springs, CO: 5 Stars

It’s up to the guest to decide if there are actually ghosts in this 130-year-old hotel, but we are pretty sure there are. We certainly went to the areas reputed to have had ghost sightings, including the tower areas and the basement, and went up to the Roosevelt room door as well.

The hotel once hosted President Theodore Roosevelt and whether or not the Teddy Bear was named after him at the hotel is a matter of belief. But the lobby area has a great deal of memorabilia related to the former president and the the furniture remains as it was from the early 1900s.

Are the rooms ‘modern’? No. Is this a really cool hotel and one worth staying in? Absolutely yes.

After checking out the hotel it was time for a great dinner. Glenrood Springs rarely disappoints.

Restaurants: Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company, Glenwood Springs, CO: 4 Stars
We’ve eaten (and drank) here more than once. The restaurant is right downtown by the train station in a historic building space, and just across the rive the the Hotel Colorado and a hot spring water park. This time because of COVID they had set up an outdoor eating space which was fairly relaxing. The food has been good and the beers are excellent too.

And with that our short getaway was over. We had a good time in both Moab and Glenwood Springs and we will be back to both places in the coming years.

Travel and the Creative Arts

%d bloggers like this: