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USATourist News Magazine

February 2007

In this issue:

Southeast Utah

Welcome to the February issue of USA News Magazine. This month we are visiting a fascinating section of Utah where there are endless exploration possibilities. For those of you who are planning a trip to the Orlando area, some of our sponsors have some great specials that can't be passed up, including Disney ticket upgrades with every reservation.

Moab

Moab is a small resort town located in Canyon Country about 234 miles (376 km) southeast of Salt Lake City. Moab and its surrounding area is the perfect location for outdoor adventures such as 4 Wheeling, ATV riding, fishing, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, motorcycle touring, mountain biking, scenic flights, skydiving, and winter activities. Moab has 30 hotels/motels, several bed and breakfasts, condo rentals, 15 privately owned campgrounds, and 28 public campgrounds in the national parks and on public lands. There are two grocery stores and several banks and ATM's. It is a great location to start your adventures and learn of the surrounding parks. www.discovermoab.com

How do you get to Moab?

So, how do you get there? There are several options of getting to Moab. Many visitors fly into Utah's main airport, Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and take a commuter plane to Canyonlands Field, in Moab Utah. Otherwise the drive from Salt Lake City is 198 miles (320 km). Another choice is to fly into Grand Junction's Walker Field airport in Colorado (via Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, or Salt Lake City) and drive the 46 miles (75 km) to Moab. Search for flights www.usatourist.com/english/reservations/Reservations-Flights.html and car rentals www.usatourist.com/english/reservations/Reservations-Cars.html. You also have the option of taking the Greyhound bus (www.greyhound.com) which stops at Grand Junction, Colorado and Green River, Utah.

Arches National Park

Located 5 miles (8 km) north of Moab, along Highway 191 is Arches National Park, home to 2,000 natural sandstone arches. This area has the greatest density of natural arches on Earth. Landscape Arch is one of the most famous arches with its 290-foot span. You will also find many small arches. An arches' opening must measure at least three feet to be listed as an Official Arch. Arches National Park is also full of other amazing formations including colossal sandstone fins, and massive balanced rocks.

In 2005 a new 18,000 square foot visitor's center opened in Arches National Park. The 140-seat theater features the film, “Secrets of Red Rock” (produced by Discovery Communications). The large outdoor plaza is available to visitors for after-hours information. The center offers interactive exhibits, educational kiosks, a 150-seat auditorium, and a bookstore. www.usatourist.com/english/destinations/utah/nationalparks/arches/arches-main.html and www.nps.gov/arch

Canyon Country Utah

The state of Utah is located in the southwestern United States bordered by Nevada to the west, Colorado to the east, Idaho and Wyoming to the north, and Arizona to the south. Utah is full of beautiful scenery and breathtaking geology. The entire state is an outdoorsman's paradise, but a little section in the southeast corner of Utah, Canyon Country, is one of Utah's most magnificent areas as well as a photographer's dreamland. Canyonlands is separated into three land districts by the Green and Colorado rivers: Island in the Sky District, Needles District, and the Maze District. www.usatourist.com/english/destinations/utah/utah-main.html and www.nps.gov/cany

The Island in the Sky District

The most convenient and most visited area in the Canyonlands is The Island in the Sky mesa. It is located only 40 miles (64 km) from Moab. The mesa sits on 1500-foot sandstone cliffs and offers stunning views of the Canyonlands area. The Island in the Sky isn't limited to short day trips. If you have a four-wheel-drive vehicle you can head into the backcountry for camping or a day of hiking. www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/islandinthesky.htm

The Needles District

Cedar Mesa Sandstone fills the landscape in the Needles District. The area has a wonderful trails system that is ideal for long day hikes or camping. If you would like to explore even further in to Needles you may take a four-wheel-drive vehicle to other parts of the park which include Chesler Park, Confluence Overlook, Elephant Hill, Joint Trail, and Tower Ruin. Needles is 15 miles south of the Island in the Sky, but the drive is 137 miles (220 km). www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/needles.htm

The Maze District

The most secluded section of Canyonlands National Park is The Maze District. The initial drive is 50 miles (80 km) on unpaved roads that eventually lead to canyons. The actual "Maze" is a cluster of six steep desolate canyons. Some of the famous formations here are The Chocolate Drops, Chimney Rock Trailhead, Maze Overlook, and the Archaic Indian rock art known as the Harvest Scene Pictographs. Planned trips to The Maze normally take several days and a four-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to explore the area. www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/maze.htm

Canyonlands Climate

Summers in Canyonlands often surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit during daytime hours and dip into the 60's at night. Winter temperatures may go below freezing but may reach up to the 50's. Spring and fall are a great time to visit with the highs only reaching the 70's and 80's. No matter what time of year you visit you will notice the climate is very dry. Having lots of water on hand is extremely important.

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That's it for February's News Magazine. See you next month!

Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair


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