Moab, UT and Arches and Canyonland National Parks


In many locations a 150 million year trip back in time, Moab, Utah on the Colorado Plateau is a gateway city to several national and state parks that date to the Jurassic Period. The region includes Arches National Park and its 2,000 primordial and surreal sandstone red rock formations, the largest density on earth. Adjacent is Canyonlands National Park and its remote rugged canyons, towering red cliffs and mesas forged by the Colorado and Green rivers. Dinosaur tracks can still be found in the parks and bones of the giants are on exhibit at the Moab Museum.

Moab and its surrounding parks were the fourth leg of Armed Forces Reunions, Inc.’s America the Beautiful tour and blog. Founder and President Ted and Molly Dey went on an endurance run hiking, biking,  and four wheeling through the ancient and spectacular terrain.

“Arches is an enchanted outcropping of nature’s other worldly art, vibrant towers that bloom from the desert,” said Molly Dey, President of Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. “Canyonlands has a prehistoric look and feel. We often felt like we were on an archeological expedition.  Flowing deep below us was the mighty Colorado River, which carved this masterpiece just as it had the Grand Canyon.”

Arches National Monument was established in 1875, made a national park in 1971 and enlarged in 1998 to 76,519 acres. More than 1.5 people visit annually to marvel at the incredible formations and enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing, camping and more. Highlights include Courthouse Towers, Devil’s Garden, Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Colorado River and the 12,000-foot La Sal Mountains to the east.

Canyonlands was established in 1964 and enlarged to 337,958 acres in 1971. Nearly 800,000 visitors come each year for hiking, biking, four wheeling, white water rafting and horseback riding along trails through its four districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze and the Rivers, which offers views of lush growth and water wildlife that contrast from the desert landscape. The Maze is the most remote and challenging destination in the park, a dry labyrinth of canyons, high cliffs and sandstone terrain with very difficult roads and trails.

“It is hard to fathom the difficulties faced by European settlers in this forbidding, magically sculpted terrain.  At the same time, it is amazing to consider how ancient natives lived so harmoniously in the canyons and crevasses – as evidenced by petroglyphs throughout the parks.  Rock formations are so monumental and foreboding, it feels like riding through the land of Pharaohs, and that Khartoum could be just around the bend,” said Armed Forces Reunion, Inc.’s Founder Ted Dey.

The next stop on the Dey’s America the Beautiful tour is Mesa Verde and Kebler Pass, Colorado so stay tuned.

Photo credits: Ted Dey