Arches National Park, and Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness

After our hike to False Kiva, we spent the night in Moab, so that we could top up on our supplies before heading into the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness. The morning of January 2, we decided to stop in Arches so that I could see it. Shannon worked for the company that built the museum in the visitor center and I was excited to get to see that too. Since he’d spent a good bit of time here working, he was well acquainted with the area.

The museum was closed due to Covid-19, but I found a volunteer and explained that “this is the museum builder”. They were nice enough to let us in and then they treated him like a VIP (side note – that happens with every museum of his we’ve visited)

Arches National Park, in the snow, was absolutely beautiful. We did a quick drive through, with a short 1 mile hike to see Landscape arch, which was the one arch Shannon had not gotten to see when he was here 20 years ago

Landscape Arch won’t be standing for much longer.

There’s lots to see in Arches and it’s very worth the time and effort to get there. It’s just that we had planned to get on to the Labyrinth Canyon, and we were not entirely sure about the road conditions and how the access would be to where we planned to camp. We were in arches for about 2 -3 hours, and barely scratched the surface.

The turn-off into Labyrinth Canyon is only about 50 miles /45-60 minutes from Moab on a 2 lane highway. Once you turn off of the blacktop main road towards the canyon, it slows down considerably. We were driving on snow and ice, but without these conditions, it’s covered in silty sand which can be hazardous in wet or dry conditions. The road is washed out in places and it’s slow going. It took us over an hour to go about 25 miles in.

The surrounding wilderness on the drive is beautiful in and of itself. But there were several places that we planned to explore from a base camp in a centrally located spot. We chose a place close to Keg Knoll, which we hoped would provide some shelter from the wind and cold. In addition, Shannon was hoping that having a solid rock backdrop would reflect back some of the heat from the campfire. As we started looking for good spots to set up base camp, Shannon found a place next to a rock overhang that had been protected from the snowfall. This was perfect so that our tent wouldn’t be right on top of heavy snow. Temperatures during the day were high 20’s and 30’s, and at night went down into single digits. As I’ve mentioned before, Shannon has the equipment and I’ll include the list of what we used here.

Keg Knoll

Once the sun went down, it was much too cold to enjoy the campfire. The sleeping bags were the only place to get comfortable once it got dark. We slept in long underwear, fleece, and wool hats and gloves, but inside those cold weather bags, you’d never know it was 9 degrees outside. There’s no better feeling in the world than being 25-50 miles from the nearest town. We did not see or hear anything but wilderness for the next 3 days, and it was absolutely fantastic.

The next morning we set out for Moonshine Wash and Colonnade Arch! That’s coming up next!

4 thoughts on “Arches National Park, and Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness

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