Dinosaur Tracks, Unbelievable Rock Formations and Arches National Park: A Moab One Day Trip

Author: Todd Taylor
Date: October 3, 2019

A Moab Off-Road Day Trip

Fuel the rig up, pack some food, take those hiking boots and get ready for an intriguing one-day excursion very close to Moab.  Driving across slickrock, sand; viewing dinosaur tracks, plus walking through natural stone arches – this off-road route will leave you with a lifetime of memories.

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Trail 1 – Klondike Bluffs: Fun wheeling, dinosaur tracks, amazing rock formations.

Time Required: 1.5 to 3 Hours

Klondike Bluffs is one of our most favorite trails close to Moab. Being so close to town, Klondike Bluffs is easy to get to and is traffic is most often light. It borders the 300-million years old formations of Arches National Park and is truly an enjoyable and interesting 4WD trail. Klondike Bluffs traverses the visible evidence of the Jurassic time period where you can literally drive next to dinosaur tracks. It ends at some mysterious looking rock formations and Arches National Park.

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Leave yourself an hour or two in order to go hike the Bluffs. When hiking, you actually enter onto National Park property and are rewarded with amazing views looking over two valleys.  This vantage point gives a unique perspective to Arches National Park.

Route Directions: Take Klondike Bluffs to its end.  Then backtrack slightly to trail 2: Klondike Escape via Baby Steps

Trail 2 – Klondike Escape via Baby Steps:  Fun wheeling with some challenging little obstacles.

Time Required: 45 Minutes

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The road is steep and rocky in spots with an overview into Salt Valley in the foreground and Arches National Park in the distance.  Baby Steps is a short drive that packs a lot of view.

If you are a timid driver, don’t be afraid to get out and look at the obstacles before you drive them.

Route Directions: Take Klondike Escape via Baby Steps to its end, then turn right onto Salt Valley Road

Trail 3 – Salt Valley Road: Quick shortcut with open valley views.

Time Required: 15 Minutes

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On this road, you drive through the wide open Salt Valley floor.  The views of Arches National Park and the La Sal Mountains are in front of you as you make your way to the Tower Arch Road.

Route Directions (Option 1): Take Salt Valley Road to Tower Arch Road where you turn right.

Route Directions (Option 2): If you wish to make this a short trip to Arches National Park, stay straight on Salt Valley Road and bypass Tower Arch. This will bring you to the main paved road of Arches National Park, turn right on the pavement to return to Highway 191.

Trail 4 – Tower Arch 4WD Road: Interesting rock formations, arches, and moderate obstacles.

Time Required: 1.5 to 3 Hours

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This is one fun 4WD road.  It offers plenty of mild to moderately rated obstacles with unparalleled views of the terrain inside Arches National Park without the crowds. Tower Arch Road takes you to just below Klondike Bluffs and a small parking area where you can hike to Tower Arch. On the way, you pass the Marching Men, a series of rock thin formations that looks like soldiers standing at attention.  The parking area is also a great spot for lunch.

Route Directions: Take Tower Arch to its end. Then backtrack to Eye of Whale.

Trail 5 – Eye of Whale: Incredible desert scenery, wash driving, sand, and an arch.

Time Required: 1-2 Hours

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This road offers a long stretch of Utah desert travel. It sometimes can have some sand to plow through and deceivingly easy obstacles. It offers a great backcountry view of the colorful and flora-filled desert, which surrounds the amazing rock formations of the Park. The closer you get to the main area of Arches the views increase in their intensity.

If you got off to a late start, it is either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.  If your start was late, the sun will be close to setting by the time you reach the end of this trail.   If that’s the case take option 1 on the route directions below.

Route Directions (Option 1): Turn left on Willow Springs Road.  Stop at the picnic area .7 miles down and take in the views of Balanced Rock and the La Sal Mountains.  This is a great place to watch the sunset and you are almost guaranteed to have this picnic area to yourself. From here you are .1 miles to the pavement of the main Arches National Park road where you will turn right and head back to Highway 191.

Route Directions (Option 2): For the full off-road experience, turn right on Willow Springs Road and follow it back to Highway 191.

(Optional) Trail 6 – Willow Springs Road: Willow Springs Road: Dinosaur tracks, desert scenery and a view of the valley.

Time Required: 1 – 1.5 Hours

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This 4wd road is a great way to experience the Arches backcountry without the crowds. Desert washes, dinosaur tracks, and unique rock formations make this a great way to cap off the day.  The dinosaur tracks on this portion of the trip are more pronounced than on Klondike Bluffs.  Additionally, the view you get on this trail is much different than the previous five trails, featuring views of the rock formation on the west side of Highway 191.


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