During our epic Utah road trip, we only ended up having one full day in Moab to explore both Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. Whenever you only have a short amount of time to see a place, I always suggest booking a guided tour.
We booked the Full Day Canyonlands and Arches National Park Tour with NAVTEC Expeditions, and I would highly recommend them. It was a great Canyonlands and Arches off-roading tour. They also offer tours for camping in Canyonlands, as well as Rafting too.
So is it worth it to book a guided tour of Canyonlands and Arches National Park? Or should you just do it yourself? After seeing how rugged the terrain is and how easily it would be to get lost, I’d recommend a guided tour 100%. The off-roading part was so rough and steep, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get stuck. Our guide had us literally driving over boulders.
Canyonlands National Park
We started off the tour in Canyonlands National Park. NAVTEC took us to see ancient petroglyphs done by Ancestral Puebloeans which were pretty cool.
Side Note: I gotta ask… do these not look like a child’s drawing? All I can picture is some Ancestral Puebloean cave kid doodling and his mom getting mad at him for drawing on the walls 😂
We also saw petrified dino tracks!
Once we got really into the park, that’s when the terrain gets bumpy. Plus the roads are very narrow and have steep dropoffs. I would not feel comfortable driving that myself one bit, which would be a bummer because Canyonlands is absolutely beautiful:
We also got the rare sighting of some momma mountain goats with their babies!
The Island of the Sky Mesa is amazing, and again, not something you can really do yourself without a lot of effort and skill. Using the Shafer Trail switchbacks to get to the top was nerve-racking, but wow it’s worth it, just look at that view in the last photo…
And the views didn’t stop there…
Arches National Park
After Canyonlands, we drove on to Arches National Park. They took us in a back way, only accessible by serious 4X4 vehicles (there was actually a small SUV stuck when we got there).
Then more dino tracks!!
After lunch, we explored more of Arches National Park.
Not gonna lie, SO many of the rock formations in Arches National Park look, erm, phallic…
When offroading in Arches, you get to see way more arches than you normally would just driving through the park.
I wouldn’t be doing the tour justice if I didn’t say how absolutely wonderful our tour guide, John, was. He was so knowledgeable and had some amazing stories from living in Moab for so long.
Again, I cannot stress how much I recommend having a guided tour for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, especially if you want to off-road (PS – this was in no way sponsored, Shelly and I paid for our tour fully). Along with NAVTEC Expeditions, Adrift Adventures and Oars both offer NPS Authorized off-road 4X4 Canyonlands and Arches National Parks tours as well.
Questions? Leave a comment below and I’d be happy to answer them! Or you can message me on Instagram as well!
PS – Looking for where to stay near Canyonlands National Park in Moab? For a classic Route 66 style motel, check out Expedition Lodge. For a more upscale, modern feel, check out Homewood Suites by Hilton. Both are good hotels in Moab!