Skip to main content

RUTH BULLOCK from Travel Associates was part of a group from Australia and Canada who went on a famil through the Colorado Rockies and Utah recently. As she reports, it was quite the adventure.

DEPARTING DENVER on the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer train, we sat back and watched the rugged, untamed landscapes of the Rocky Mountains pass us by while enjoying delicious food and beverages. 

The autumn leaves were just starting to appear and turn the mountains into a rainbow of colour. Our Rocky Mountaineer hosts were amazing storytellers and brought the journey to life with tales of the locals, facts about the area and general knowledge of the train.

Arriving in to Moab, we started our adventure through Southern Utah with South West Adventure Tours.

Moab is a fantastic town with so much to offer from boutique shops, cute cafes, a food truck park and scenic views in every direction.  

The Arches National Park is a must do – as you drive through it, incredible formations appear everywhere, including tower arches, rock windows and balancing rocks.

It makes you feel insignificant in the world when standing under each unique formation, watching the mesmerising hues change in time with the light and shadow of the setting sun.

Throughout the week, we covered The Big 5 National Parks (Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion) along with many National Monuments and State Parks. 

Highlights for me were the deep winding topography of Canyonlands, the towering rock formations of Monument Valley, the waterfall at Lower Calf Creek and the geological formations of Goosenecks State Park.

I also loved learning about the Indigenous history and culture of the area, and driving along the Moki Dugway (a steep, winding and unpaved switchback road carved into the side of Cedar Mesa).

There is just so much to see, do and experience in this unique and special part of the world.

Sunrise at Bryce Canyon was another highlight of the trip – arriving in total darkness, we watched the canyon “wake up”, change colours and give off an ethereal glow. It felt like we were watching the whole world wake up! 

The opportunity to then hike over to Sunset Point through the crisp, high-altitude air and surreal terrain of the hoodoos and spiralling towers created an unforgettable experience. As we traversed the trails, we were captivated by the impressive vistas that revealed themselves at every turn.

A hidden one-of-a-kind gem we uncovered was Willis Canyon, where sunlight filters through narrow openings and creates a mesmerising display of light and shadow. With less crowds it provided solitude and an immersive experience that I hadn’t encountered before. 

Hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park was another unique, one-of-a-kind experience.

Renting shoes, waders and a wooden pole in Springdale, we were unsure of what to expect, but what an adventure it was, hiking into the heart of the Virgin River’s narrow slot canyons, navigating the rocks and rapids, and even swimming through some sections, all the while admiring the towering sandstone walls and sculpted passages.

Utah is an incredible destination that I would recommend to all travellers, with an array of activities catering to all interests – from hiking and rock climbing to river rafting and stargazing. 

It’s unique geology, rich Indigenous history and vibrant cultural scene promises a memorable and visually captivating adventure.