Our Spring Break Trip Out West (Colorado, Utah, and Arizona)
We had a wonderful family trip spent in the great outdoors for Cam's spring break the first week of April. Back in December I had asked Brian's sister, Laura, if she would be interested in travelling with us for a week this spring, and she suggested a trip to the desert. We had a great time out in Utah and Wyoming in 2021, so we were due for another trip together.
The route for this trip took some extensive planning on my part. I knew we'd want to explore some national parks in the western states with deserts, so Utah and Arizona first came to mind. With that, I looked at closest airport options, prices, and driving distances between cities using Google. I landed on flying into Denver, driving through Utah, and ending the week in Phoenix, Arizona.
Some things I considered when planning our route and travel days:
1. What destination was highest priority? After looking at lots of places to visit, I landed on Arches National Park being the #1 place I wanted to explore. Once that was decided, I tailored the trip around that location.
2. No more than 4 hours driving per day.
3. Enough time for an activity or national park each day.
One thing I didn't consider was the weather. When I realized it was most cost effective to fly into Denver and spend the first two days in CO, I did not realize that March and April are heavy snow months. Honestly, with it being "Spring" break, my brain just was not factoring in winter weather at all, which was a huge mistake on my part. As we approached the trip, a winter storm was in the forecast for the area of CO we would be travelling through. While we did have snowy driving conditions one day, it worked out in the end, but overall this trip was entirely too cold for my liking!
Here's a recap of our trip....
Day 1 & 2 - Frisco, CO
Frisco was a cute ski town right off the highway between Breckenridge and Vail. We went snow tubing at Frisco Adventure Park, visited a local brewery, and then drove straight through to UT the next day due to weather. We didn't get to go to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which looked incredible and was on my to-do list, due to the winter storm.
Days 2-4 - Moab, UT
We drove to Moab on Day 2 and stayed for two nights. On our first full day in Moab we went to Arches National Park, which ended up being a highlight of the vacation. It really exceeded my expectations. We were able to do almost all of the short hikes in the park in one day. The hike to Delicate Arch was pretty exhausting by the end of the afternoon, but so glad we did it!
Another highlight of the trip was a Jeep off-roading excursion at Hell's Revenge. This was so neat and unlike anything I've ever done. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience. Cam loved it!
Days 4 & 5 - Monument Valley, Arizona and the Grand Canyon
For our last night, I booked an AirBnB with a Navajo family in Monument Valley. This was a more rustic experience as we stayed in a traditional Navajo hogan, which is a one-room octagon house with sand floors heated by a wood-burning fireplace. We ate traditional Navajo tacos, drove through Monument Valley, and learned a little about their Native American culture through this experience.
On our last day we drove to South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped at a roadside attraction to see dinosaur footprints and fossils, which was really neat! Honestly, after Arches National Park and all of the beautiful sights we had seen the previous few days, the Grand Canyon didn't seem too impressive. I think we were all pretty tired of looking at rocks, ha! We sort of all agreed we ready to get home after a long week of travelling, but it was a beautiful stop.