Happenings January 2005
Day Hikes - Canyonlands & Arches
review by Carrie Switzer
It’s easy to find
excuses for not getting out. One of them is inexperience
with the myriad trail possibilities in and around Moab,
not to mention the obviously treasured Arches and Canyonlands
National Parks. The other is time constraints or limited
physical endurance. With these considerations, it’s
especially important to know where to go and how strenuous
a hike one may embark.
Best Easy Day Hikes is a perfect companion book under these circumstances
and a great book for locals and visitors. Small and slim, it outlines
21 hikes in the two national parks surrounding Moab, with simple detail,
including directions to the trails, the length and difficulty of each,
maps, hints on special features and even detours to see more, and short
cuts for quick trips.
Written by Bill Schneider, "Best Easy Day Hikes" is an abridged
version of “Exploring Canyonlands and Arches National Parks” by
the same author. It includes overview maps and a discussion of what a
day hike – and especially what an “easy” day hike is.
It also has a description of the types of hikes, such as the Loop (starts
and finishes at the trailhead); the Shuttle (a “point-to-point
trip that requires two vehicles); and
Out-and-back (self explanatory.)
The book – which can easily fit in a large pocket or small hip
pack – also lists trails by difficulty, from “easiest” to “hardest.” A
responsible guidebook published by Falcon Press, it admonishes all hikers
to abide by three Falconguide principals:
1. Leave with everything you brought
2. Leave no sign of your visit.
3. Leave the landscape as you found it.
The Arches National Park day
hikes include: Park Avenue, Delicate Arch, Devils Garden
and Tower Arch.
Canyonlands trails include: Island in
the Sky: Neck Spring, Mesa Arch, Aztec Butte, Whale Rock, Upheaval Dome
Overlook, Murphy Point, White Rim Overlook and Grand View.
Another nine trails are listed from the Needles, Maze and Horseshoe Districts
of Canyonlands National Park.
The hike I considered taking
and writing about for December Devils Garden, and “Out-and-back” trail
or a ‘Loop” trail, with total distances ranging
from 2 miles to 7.2 miles. Its attraction is the fact
that it can be a 1 to 4-hour hike, with detours to as
many as nine arches. There is a minimal elevation gain
and spur trails to keep things interesting. If a hiker
takes the primitive loop and all the spur trails, it
can be the longest hike in Arches National Park. Or the
whole loop can be traversed in 2 hours. The primitive
loop is not considered an easy hike.
Best Easy Day Hikes was published in cooperation with the National Park
Service, Trails Illustrated Maps, and the Canyonlands Natural History
Association. It is available at the Moab Information Center and other
outlets locally, and worth having as a reference and loaner to visiting
friends and relatives.