Canyonlands National Park {with kids}

It's Tuesday, and that means it's time for my Traveling Tuesday post. I'm starting off with documenting some of the amazing places we visited last summer during our vacation out west. In July of 2015 we set out on a grand vacation through the southwest. We traveled for 21 days and over 6,000 miles, visiting 5 states and 9 National Parks. We explored new places and met up with old friends. Overall, it was an incredible journey and everyone learned so much. You can view all posts about our wild west adventure here.

Date of Visit: July 2015
Kids: Cole (age 8) & Kiley (age 5)
Length of Stay: 1 Half Day

We left our hotel outside Capitol Reef and headed towards Moab where we would visit Canyonlands & Arches National Park. The drive didn't take very long and we arrived in Moab well before we could check into our hotel so we decided to head into Canyonlands, the Island in the Sky district, right away. Besides the visitor center, there are not many amenities in Canyonlands. We decided to stop in Moab to pick up some food for a picnic lunch before heading into the park, and after the long drive up to the visitor center, I was glad we did.

We stopped by the visitor center to pick up Junior Ranger books and then enjoyed a picnic lunch at the tables right outside. We hiked to Mesa Arch and it was pretty amazing. It would end up being the closest we would get to an arch with the fewest amount of people around so I'm glad we took the time to take some pictures.

After stopping by the ranger station for Junior Ranger badges we headed to our hotel to check in.

Highlights: The kids loved Mesa Arch. The fact that you can walk right up to it was very cool. It was a great introduction to the arches we'd see the next day at Arches National Park. Canyonlands gets a lot fewer visitors than it's more popular neighbor Arches so it was fun to visit without the crowds. Also, the hotel we stayed in Moab was the Gonzo Inn. Let me tell you, it was amazing. The perfect place for families. Our room had a separate bedroom and a small kitchen. It was wonderful to spread out after being in standard hotel rooms for the last week.

What We Would Change: Canyonlands is divided up into 3 different districts and we only had time to visit the Island in the Sky while we were there. We had planned to the Needles later in the week, but decided the kids really needed a rest day. Since we were doing so much hiking in Arches later in the week. I would love to go back to the area and spend more time in Canyonlands.

Recommended Reading: I highly recommend the Foder's guide to National Parks of the West, we used it when planning our trip and it was a great resource. I liked that there were plenty of suggestions to exploring the parks with kids.

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