Oct 20, 2013

Road Trips- Through Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona

Well, I was so very disappointed with the US government shutdown. I landed here on October 3rd hoping that it will end soon. Due to many setbacks I had to cancel my tickets to Salt Lake City and I stayed at Los Angeles. I took shelter in my very kind cousin who was so feeling very bad that my trip had some obstacles! As soon as the Utah State declared to open their most gorgeous five National Parks I started off. You know? California might be golden state to comfortably live in but, Utah is an amazingly beautiful state :) Well, now the shutdown has ended so will visit all four states as I had initially thought!

I am starting off a series with my current road-trip through Utah-Colorado-New Mexico-Arizona in a week! Well, I drove from California and passed through Nevada too if you want to count :) I will be updating this page with links to each destination I post. I have a big plan and let me see how much I can do and what will be left! 

Look forward to interesting posts on amazing locations with gorgeous photos!

Update: I did visit half the places in the list. I had to skip few because it was late in fall, snow and icy conditions in the high elevations of Colorado. Also I had lost 10 days in the beginning. The route was a bit haphazard because of the late opening of few of the parks. Overcoming so many obstacles and disappointments I started off from the glamorous Los Angeles towards the wilderness of Utah. I had twenty days in hand and many destinations in the list. I was so very excited to be back in the red canyons of Utah again! I will go there any number of times :)

The first and best part of the trip was hiking the Zion- Narrows. A stroll on the Coral Pink Sand Dunes left me amazing! I saw what does it mean- shifting sands! Really very fast. The wild Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument was a thrilling experience. At the high elevation it was snowing as I drove on those winding roads. The white flakes falling from heavens were swept by the wind before falling on my windshield to turn into water. The scenic drive in the less popular Capitol Reef National park was something to remember. A stroll in the Goblin Valley was fun and fantastic. Canyonlands National Park was much more wilder and rugged than I had imagined. Dead Horse Point is beautiful with a sad story behind its name. Arches National Park does have beautiful arches and the hike up to the base of Delicate Arch is very nice. The Natural Bridges National Monument didn't seem much remote after visiting Canyonlands National Park- Needles. Goosenecks on San Juan river in Utah made me feel the existence of supreme power! 

The cliff dwellings from Mesa Verde National Park made me feel- we are much fortunate. White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is one wonderland that transforms into magic after sunset! Most of the places that were trimmed were from Colorado due to the reported icy road conditions and from New Mexico due to lack of time and some scary incidents. 

Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona demonstrates what nature can do- turn dead trees into gemstones! Meter Crater is worth a visit if you are around. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is beautiful and full of history though attracts less visitors. Monument Valley Tribal Park is abode of peace if you go past the usual jeep-tour track! Boat ride over Lake Powell to the Rainbow Bridge National Monument is  lovely and the Rainbow Bridge itself is nothing less than the Gates of Paradise. Sedona red rocks are beautiful and hikes to the vortices were nice. A train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad through the red rock canyons was memorable. A visit to Montezuma's Castle and a short hike to the Montezuma's Well were surprisingly pleasant. A long drive to Sonoran Desert was fun to see those huge cacti. 

A short break at the accidental lake- Salton Sea was cool on the way back from Phoenix to Los Angeles, California. I drove on average 200 miles and hiked around 6-8 miles per day. Out of 22 days of road trip I took one complete day of rest when I started feeling sleepy while driving. That was the indication my body was tired. The cute little Toyota Yaris did a great job without any problems. It just shivered beyond the speed of 75mph. One way of controlling the speed. But, I pushed it to go on 80mph everywhere otherwise I wouldn't be able to drive 4,800 miles in 22 days.

I do really have a spiritual connection with deserts! It is not the destination that attracts me to the long lonely roads of Utah, it is the journey- the constant movement forward in the anticipation of hope and excitement to see something unexpected. 

Enjoyed the Instant Lunch California Vegetables- cup noodles! I will not eat hummus and instant oats for another 10 years! Good thing is that Subway is everywhere and they have veggie sandwiches. The two samosas I ate at the Cafe Coffee Day at Bangalore airport when I waited it to be morning were delightful, though they costed 5 times their real cost!

Travel gets us into unexpected situations, brings unexpected opportunities and also unexpected expenses which really hurts. In spite of everything I enjoyed the trip. Now, I am back home and going to rest my tired body on that familiar bed- it is heaven!

The Route- Los Angeles (CA)- St George (UT)- Zion NP- Coral Pink Sand Dunes SP- Grand Staircase Escalante NM- Capitol Reef NP- Goblin Valley SP- Canyonlands NP- Dead Horse Point SP- Arches National Park- Canyonlands NP Needles- Natural Bridges NM- Goosenecks SP- Mesa Verde NP (CO)- White Sands NM (NM)- Petrified Forest NP (AZ)- Meteor Crater- Canyon De Chelly NM- Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park- Rainbow Bridge NM (UT)- Sedona (AZ)- Clarkdale- Montezuma's Castle NM- Sonoran Desert NM- Salton Sea SRA (CA)- Los Angeles.

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Backpacking India
State Parks of Utah
National Parks of USA
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Very nice information. Thank you for sharing..

  2. As you know, I lived in Colorado and my favorite places in NM were Santa Fe and Taos. If you need a safe and clean accommodation at Taos, please contact http://www.nkbashram.org/. I highly recommend a visit to this place.

    Keen on knowing the places you visit in AZ and Utah. I hope Sedona, AZ is on your list!

    Enjoy your Travels Ms. Marco Polo (-:

    1. I had to cut short length of my journey in NM. Thanks for info on accommodation! Yeah, Sedona was in my list. Thanks!

  3. Have fun!! :)
    Looking forward to the pics and travel stories.


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