4 National Parks in 4 Days

I am still in the process up going through photos but this month me and my friend went on a road trip through Colorado and Utah. The original goal was to just go to Arches National Park. What ended up happening was a a beautiful vacation that took us through 4 national parks / monuments in 4 days!

Our trip started in Denver on a Thursday. We drove up and over the rockies via I-70 which brought us through the Eisenhower Tunnel. This tunnel happens to be the highest point on the United States interstate road system at 11,158 ft.

Our trip them lead up to Dinosaur CO. A small town in northwest Colorado that is just outside of Dinosaur National Monument. I am not going to post a bunch of picture here but OMG this park is beautiful and there are dinosaurs!!! Please see my post about this park or better yet go to the park and see it for yourself!

After spending the day there we headed south through Utah towards Arches. This drive was gorgeous ad brought us through Indian Canyon. This canyon was kind of beautiful but quickly turned into what to me seemed like a haunted forest from a Disney film. It was a wonderful drive but as the night wore on and we got tired we descided to stop to sleep.

Day 3 started in Green River Utah which is not far from Arches. We got breakfast and head out. I am not sure how to describe Arches other than it is fascinating. Like Dinosaur Monument I have already posted photos but its is hard to capture just how literally awe inspiring these arches in the sandstone are.

Did I mention it was HOT... Like 103° hot! We hiked a little and in spirts but honestly after 6 arches and the heat we just wanted to be in AC. We could have easily spend days there exploring but we didn't have the time. Canyonland National Park was right there and we wanted to see that as well.

My promise to my travel companion was no more hiking for the day and I kept it. What did end up happening was we went to Canyonland National Park and say the largest canyon I have ever seen. It is not the Grand Canyon but it is just as impressive. The confluence of the Colorado and Green River is lost in the layers of canyon within canyon. I want to go back and take the 2 day off road drive that goes around the high mesa in the middle but we did get to drive down a small part of it. Let me tell you about that,

Driving down a dirt road that literally wides down the edge of a cliff is the most terrifying and fun drive I have ever done. If there is one thing you should do in this park it is get a 4x4 and go down Shafer Trail! This road winds down into the canyon eventually leading you to the Colorado river (not the bank but a beautiful overlook) and then out of the park back to Moab.

We stopped there for dinner and then head off to Montrose CO so we could wake up the next morning right near the 4th and last stop on our trip, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

This last canyon was beautiful! In many ways it was the most impressive as the rock it carved itself into was harder and it was truly a deep gorge right through the middle of a mountain ridge. Absolutely beautiful but not a lot of easily accessible hiking. Even if there was we needed to get back to Denver for our late afternoon flight home but we did it! Four parks in four days, plus I don't know how many national forests we drove through.

One last thing to mention was on the way back we did stop at Monarch Pass which is one the continental divide. It was pretty and the air was thin at 11,312 feet but not much of a view from the road. We were tired and didn't take the lift to the top though.

Overall, a great trip!!!

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