Arches National Park, Camping, Hiking, National Parks & Monuments, State Parks, United States, Utah

A BeaUTAHful Bucket List: Day 10 – Chicken Corners & Arches National Park

Day 10 – April 4, 2022

The take aways…

  • If you get an inkling the food tote broke in half on the road to Chicken Corners, that’s probably because it really did
  • Arches Thai has amazing pho
  • The dinosaur tracks are always worth a stop
  • We didn’t know anything about where we were after dark

Crystal Geyser stopped its eruption after we fell asleep, so we didn’t awake to the glorious sounds of a geyser, but either way, it was another day of waking up in strange places! After checking out the geyser in the daylight, we headed towards Moab for some coffee and breakfast.

Ten days in, waking up with a geyser, and an increasingly bad hair situation
Crystal Geyser in the daylight
Leaving our crazy campsite

This would be our last full day of adventure before heading back towards Cheyenne. After grabbing coffee at Moab Coffee Roasters, we fueled up the truck, grabbed food at McDonalds, and headed down Kane Creek Road. Finally I was in Moab with a “proper” vehicle (no offense to my wonderful Subaru Forester that has successfully tackled Gemini Bridges, Hurrah Pass, and Pucker Pass!), and knew Eric liked doing “truck stuff,” so I planned a morning adventure out to Chicken Corners. After hours of bouncing around in a truck, we’d head towards Arches National Park, where I secured a 3-4pm entrance ticket to see a few things I hadn’t seen yet, before we’d begin driving a few hours north towards Vernal.

A decently deep water crossing on Kane Creek Road

I’ve been out to Hurrah Pass a few times, most recently in May 2021 where erosion thwarted Fozzy’s third trip up the pass about halfway through. I was super eager to show Eric around some Moab terrain, and explore beyond Hurrah Pass (Chicken Corners is a bit too challenging for Fozzy).

Hurrah, we made it to Hurrah Pass!

Our first big stop was a rock formation dubbed the Moab Wind Cave. Erosion created endless paths, tunnels, and caves to explore in the formation. It is quite a popular area, with tour groups stopping here.

The crazy Wind Cave
Endless passages to explore in the wind cave
I didn’t get stuck this time!
The Colorado River

Eventually we came upon Chicken Corners, a series of tight turns high above the Colorado River that supposedly got their name from people who would get so scared on tours they’d get out of the vehicle and walk. We checked to make sure there was no head on traffic, and then took to them. I must admit, it was a bit eery to look out of the window and see the Colorado River straight below me (I do have an issue with heights and water). But was it as scary as everyone makes it out to be? Heck no!

Nearing Chicken Corners there’s a sign covered in… chickens!
High above the Colorado River
The Chicken Corners
Looking back at the Chicken Corners

The trail dead ends at a point directly across from Dead Horse Point State Park. There is a trail where you can continue walking, but the exposure is super sketchy (says the girl that like ran up Angels Landing the day before…). We opted to turn around after a few photos and make our bouncy, rough way back to Moab.

The La Sals were looking pretty!

“Wouldn’t it be funny if the food tote exploded open?” I said somewhere along the road. Well, upon opening the back up to make some sandwiches, indeed we found a cracked open tote. “You need a sturdier one!” announced Eric when I expressed my displeasure that my camp food tote was broken. “Fozzy doesn’t drive like you on rough roads!” I argued back.

Final tailgate sandwiches of the trip 😦

We timed our off road adventure perfectly, and we cruised into Arches National Park in our entry window, where we only had a five minute wait at the gate (contrasted to the 45+ minutes Sarah and I spent a year before). Many don’t like the timed entry systems the national parks are going to, but I didn’t mind on this trip as it meant less time waiting in line. First we stopped at the visitor center, and then headed up the winding road.

Arches is one of the parks I have visited the most due to many trips to Moab, but I do feel like I haven’t seen a lot of things that the park has to offer. So we headed towards the Windows section, where I hadn’t been before. Initially we had considered hiking to Delicate Arch because Eric had not been to that part yet, but we scratched it so we could get a start on our evening drive.

Balanced Rock on the right, one of the more popular attractions at Arches National Park
Turret Arch
Double Arch

We first headed up to Turret Arch, and then opted for the primitive trail around the backside of South and North Window arches (aside from a couple ahead of us, we were alone on the trail even though the parking lot was full!).

Heading up towards Turret Arch
Turret Arch, tiny people for scale
The Windows
Around the “backside” of the Windows on the Primitive Trail
A gentle reminder to stay on the trail! The soil in the desert is very much alive with microorganisms, and walking on it hurts these organisms and also contributes to erosion!
Getting a Windows view without the crowds
The scenes on the Primitive Trail are well worth the sand on the toes (or in the shoes)

Double Arch shares the parking lots, so we wandered over to that arch to complete our small hike.

Distant view of Double Arch
Double Arch is hard to capture as it is HUGE!
Double Arch needs people in the photo for scale!

Our arch adventure wrapped up, we headed out of the park and I started uncontrollably hiccuping. I have an irrational fear that I’ll become one of those people that start hiccuping on day, and they never stop and I end up in the Guiness Book of World Records. Eric looked me dead in the face and stated, “If you don’t stop hiccuping, you can’t come to the restaurant for dinner.” I think he was trying to scare me (to be fair, threatening me with no dinner is a good threat), and luckily after about ten minutes of torture, the hiccups stopped and I was allowed to join Eric at Arches Thai for dinner.

We stopped at the Arches entrance sign on the way out of town. I’m sad a lot of parks have started to remove their “camera stands,” as they’re perfect for holding dinosaurs!

I can’t leave the Moab area without a quick visit to my favorite dinosaur tracks, so in the fading evening light we made a quick stop at the Copper Ridge track site in the Klondike Bluffs area. I was surprised to see the camping in the area was no longer dispersed, and infrastructure for camping was put into place!

Allosaurus track at Copper Ridge
Copper Ridge Dinosaur Track site

Now it was time to drive in the dark towards Vernal. After turning off in Fruita, we begun the drive north, and it became clear we really had no idea where we were or what it looked like outside. Neither of us had explored this part of Colorado before. We began the steep ascent up Douglas Pass, and I wished I could’ve seen the scenery. It took us awhile to locate a good place to camp for the night, and I laughed at the fact that most of the time when I’ve camped with Eric, it has involved rolling into a campsite after dark with no idea in the world where I was. Tonight was no different.

Here’s the final night of the adventure!

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