Labor Day is Almost Here
Labor Day Weekend is fast approaching. And that means it’s time for one last, outdoor, summer adventure! September means that kids – and university students – are heading back to school. So Labor Day is typically the last chance to get outside and play. Here in Southern Utah, it’s also the perfect timing for adventure, the monsoon season is wrapping up, and the temperature is starting to drop. All of which is to say, if you have the chance to come to Southern Utah this Labor Day Weekend (which is September 2nd–5th this year) then you should take it.
And since we at the Lodge at located in Southern Utah, we thought we’d suggest some ideas to help you get the most out of your Labor Day Weekend adventure. Here are some inside tips:
A Quick Public Service Announcement
Labor Day is a very busy time in Southern Utah. So book things as soon as you can. If you’re looking for campsites, or reservations within the national park, then go to the Federal Government’s site that handles reservations. It’s recreation.gov. And just remember, in our post-COVID world, some things need reservations that didn’t a couple of years ago, like the shuttle and Angel’s Landing hike in Zion National Park. Ok, back to the travel ideas!
White Rim Road in Canyonlands National Park
This is probably the single greatest road you can drive in Canyonlands, and probably the second-best road in all of Southern Utah. (We’ll get to that.) It’s 100-miles of primitive, gravel road that unlocks the best scenery in the national park. You’ll need a 4-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle. And you’ll also need to be comfortable driving unnervingly close to cliff edges, but we promise, it’s a ride you’ll never forget. Just look at that picture up above! It’s got lots of excitement, loads of good hiking spots, and plenty of memories-to-be-made. We’ve talked about the White Rim Road before, in greater detail, so please check that post out if you’re considering visiting.
Goblin Valley State Park
Goblin Valley really is one of Utah’s best desert playgrounds. It’s a sheltered basin that is filled with towering hoodoos – very similar to those found in Bryce Canyon. Goblin Valley is quite a bit smaller, which means you can explore everything in the basin in day. Also, you have a lot more freedom to play in the hoodoos. You can climb on the rocks, play hide-and-seek, capture the flag, or tag among the hoodoos.
In addition to all those hoodoos in Goblin Valley, the park also includes a bunch of little canyon hikes. We recommend the Goblin’s Lair hike, but they’re all pretty fun. See the list of hikes and their descriptions here on the official site. Just remember, this is desert hiking, so be sure to bring plenty of water.
Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef
Ok, you knew this was going to make it on our list, because, hey, we live right next door. And also because Capitol Reef is fantastic! And while it is true that Labor Day brings larger crowds to Capitol Reef, it is still far less crowded than some of the more well-known neighbors. Zion National Park practically becomes Disneyland. So, from our point-of-view, Capitol Reef is the better choice for a more relaxing atmosphere, especially if you go to the Waterpocket Fold, the southern section of the park.
There is a lot to to down there, including the best canyon hiking in the park and the Burr Trail. And we never miss a chance to plug the Burr Trail! It’s a sixty(ish) mile road that takes you up Boulder Mountain, though the seemingly unending desert mesas of the Grand Staircase, into Long Canyon, across the geographic folds of the Waterpocket Fold, and down an heart-stopping series of switchbacks. And it then leads you back to the red rock sheer cliffs of the main section of Capitol Reef. And yes, this is THE greatest scenic road in Southern Utah!
Take the Time
It’s rare to get a long weekend vacation, take the time to go out and explore, have some fun and add some memories to the memory-bank! And have a great time!