Arches National Park, Utah

A Day in Arches National Park, Utah | Road Trips and Skymiles Blog

A Day Exploring Arches National Park

Did you know that Utah has five National Parks?

After visiting Zion National Park in Utah last spring, Ben and I decided to return and explore the other four parks. The National Parks in Utah are fairly close together, so it’s easy to plan a classic road trip to visit the parks. Road-tripping out west in the US has become one of my favorite adventures, and it’s easy to do on a budget. Continue reading

Zion National Park

Zion National Park, Utah

I’m a big believer in the planning/expectation part of a trip being part of the fun, but I was really busy leading up to our Grand Canyon and Zion trip and didn’t have time to do much research.  I think I had photos from some of Utah’s other national parks in my head when I pictured Zion, so I expected it to be more of a desert and was surprised to find a river running through it and some fairly lush greenery.
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Hiking at Mount Rainier

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On Saturday Ben and I went hiking at Mount Rainier with some friends. The scenery was like a postcard: wildflowers in bloom, the snow melting but ever present; the sky a clear, intense blue.

I learned a lot from my hiking buddies about the wildflowers, and the Paradise Visitor’s Center has a nice flyer to help identify them. I think it gave me a little taste of what John Muir meant when he referred to Mount Rainier’s meadows as “the most luxurious and the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens [he] ever beheld in all [his] mountain-top ramblings.”

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IMG_6648^This color of paintbrush wildflower only grows at Mount Rainier^

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IMG_6680^Our group looking ahead to Camp Muir, which Ben and I really hope to hike to sometime soon! Camp Muir is the “base camp” for summitting Mount Rainier.^

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You know it’s a good weather day in Seattle when “the mountain is out,” meaning Mount Rainier is visible in the skyline. The fact that you can only see the mountain from the city a handful of days in the year adds to the enchantment of being at the base of this hide-and-seek giant landmark; when you can see the mountain from Seattle it’s large and looming in the sky, dominating the skyline.

The beauty of the mountain and the surrounding scenery kind of wraps itself around your heart—it’s impossible to visit and not be in awe.

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P.S. Last time we had a chance to drive up to Mount Rainier it looked like this. We were at the same spot as the photos in this summertime post, if you can believe the change in the weather 🙂

Snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier

We went snowshoeing at Mt. Rainier two weekends ago and it was amazing; they call that visitor’s center Paradise for a reason. (It’s just as breathtaking on a clear day in the summer.)

There was no snow on the roads when we drove up but it was snowing pretty hard once we got there. We tromped around the mountain for about an hour, stopping a LOT to take pictures. I couldn’t help myself with the camera…I was like a kid in a candy store with all that snow!

^We didn’t expect the jumping photo to turn out but it is pretty good^

^I even made a video of the snow for your enjoyment! ^

The roads can get dicey in the mountains so I’m glad we made this trip when we did. I would 100% recommend this if you’re in the Seattle area in early-mid November with a day to spare. Mount Rainier tweets the current road conditions: @MountRainierNPS, and REI in downtown Seattle rents snowshoes too if you don’t have your own.

I should mention, as a sort of disclaimer, that we couldn’t see Mount Rainier at all even though it was hovering right above us. The heavy snow and fog hid it completely. I’ve learned not the expect to see THE mountain so I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m already looking forward to when Ben and I can return for more snowshoeing at Mount Rainier National Park!