Snow covered mountains

Moab, Utah  [Trip Report]

by | Jan 2, 2021

Moab, Utah. I have always been drawn to the name but until this Christmas it was a place I had yet to visit.

After staying in Palisade, a place known for its peaches and wine vineyards, we traveled through a snow storm across the border to Utah. The roads were icy but improved once we turned off I-70. 

We intentionally arrived early so that we could hike in Arches National Park, but due to the inclement weather the park was closed. We went inside to the visitor center, looked around and I got my National Park stamp for the Passport book. Perhaps tomorrow the weather would be better and we would be able to visit the park. We went on to our hotel.

The next morning the weather app showed the snow would be stopping around noon. The snow was still falling and the Park Service’s Twitter account hadn’t been updated with any new information on opening. I searched my hiking app for other hikes in the Moab area and found one called Grandstaff Canyon Trail to Morning Glory bridge. The Morning Glory bridge is the sixth longest natural span in the United States. The hiking trip reports said the hike was between 5 and 6 miles, so I decided to hike it. 

Once we were in the canyon, my cell phone signal faded away. I told my partner to drop me off and come back in exactly two and a half hours to pick me up and if by chance I gained a signal along the way I would text her. I had planned for snow hiking, so I brought my waterproof boots, lots of layers, and my traction devices. Of course I forgot my trekking poles. I departed from the trailhead, excited about what new and unknown adventure lay before me. 

The snow was packed down and the traction devices were a great idea. I passed several parties returning and I asked them about the trail conditions. One of them told me that I would cross the stream 7 times! Wow, I was so happy I wore my waterproof boots. 

As I followed the trail deeper into the canyon, the views were amazing. Crossing the stream involved balancing my way across some rocks but sometimes it did involve getting my shoes wet. The clouds started to clear and the juxtaposition of the snow and rock made for many beautiful photographs. 

There is a left turn which leads to the trail climbing up some nice rocks, which I am sure looks amazing in the summer. The winter snow made the trail slippery for most people. As the trail continued on I could see it coming to a rock enclave. 

I had not done enough research before this hike so I expected to see some arch-like structure glistening in the fresh snow. However The Morning Glory bridge was not like that but was in its own right quite incredible. 

Walking underneath it, looking up and being awestruck by this natural marvel. I wondered who has walked across it, could you walk across it, and was anyone else afraid it might fall?

I also wondered what the first native Americans must have thought when they saw the span in front of them and what it mean to them?

The bridge is in the shade and just like in Colorado, when in the sun it is warm and when in the shade it is cold. I checked the time and decided to start my journey back to the trailhead. 

At the pace I was going I would be about 30 minutes early, and since I was a little cold I decided to stop in the sun and eat some cheese and crackers. Cheese and crackers are a favorite hiking treat of mine. The sun felt good but I decided it was time to continue on. 

I arrived at the trailhead 15 minutes early, people I had passed were now arriving to their cars, and new groups were just starting their journey. I put on my heavy gloves and my down coat and awaited my ride. 

But a trip to Moab would be remiss without a visit to Arches National Park. 


Notes: It seems Grandstaff Canyon has been called by other names over the years. Here is the link to the Wikipedia Article for more information.

Grandstaff Trailhead


  • 4,327 Feet
  • Round Trip Distance: 5.10 Miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2396 feet
  • Difficulty: Class 1
  • Route: Grandstaff Canyon
  • Time: 2 Hours
  • Date Hiked: Dec 29, 2020 

All Trails Map Link

Canyon Walls looking overheard

Canyon Walls looming overheard at the start of the hike.

Crossing the stream

One of the many stream crossings​.

Sun on the rocks

Sun on the rocks​.

Snow covered mountains

Snow covered mountains, near Morning Glory Span.

Morning Glory Span

Morning Glory Span, over 75 feet tall.

Standing underneath Morning Glory Span

Standing underneath Morning Glory Span.

A beautiful return to the trailhead

A beautiful return to the trailhead.

Sun on the rocks

Sun on the rocks.