Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on Less Than One Tank

Ford C-Max Energi near Courthouse Towers

Ford C-Max Energi near Courthouse Towers in Arches National Park

My first road trip was a four-day Labor Day Weekend trip to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  I’ve been putting a lot of “hybrid” miles on our new Ford C-Max Energi.  I haven’t been driving fast (almost always 65 MPH or slower).  I try to travel as far as possible on EV when the electric motor is efficient.  When ascending elevation, I use the ICE (internal combustion engine) and then let off the accelerator as soon as possible near the crest of the hill and run in EV.  I’ve also used the pulse and glide technique, using the ICE to gain speed somewhat faster than necessary, let off the accelerator a couple MPH and then let the Energi glide in EV.  Probably more than anything, I just sit back, relax, enjoy music and try not to be in a rush.

I filled the tank at a gas station close to my house on departure and return.  I started with a full charge with the C-Max Energi in EV Later mode.  I used the excess electricity when I thought the electric engine would be most efficient.  The trip was 564.2 miles according to the odometer.  The gas pump display stated I used 12.666 gallons at $44.95.  According to the C-Max Energi’s display, I used 4.1 kWh and 11.73 gallons.  The C-Max displayed my MPGe for the trip as 47.5.

I visited the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park stopping for short hikes.  My first stop was False Kiva at sunset.  It’s a classic photo location and it wasn’t a disappointment.  The sunset was spectacular.

False Kiva in Canyonlands National Park

False Kiva in Canyonlands National Park

I then spent the night taking nightscape photos at Mesa Arch.  I spent the entire night at the Arch (I slept for a hour or so without pad or bag on the slickrock, no food, camping gear, etc. – just water).  It was quite warm.  The classic photo op of Mesa Arch at sunrise was worth it too.

Mesa Arch at Sunrise

Mesa Arch at Sunrise

I spent the next three days with family in Arches National Park and the Moab area.  Every night I drove to the Windows section of Arches at night for photography.  There were a lot of other tourists and photographer’s there every night, but not as many as during the day.

North Window Arch and Milky Way

North Window Arch and The Milky Way


I love the many spectacular locations nearby on the Colorado Plateau.  Arches was quite crowded though.  One location near the Devil’s Garden Campground turned out to be a favorite without the crowds.  Broken Arch at sunrise is spectacular.

Broken Arch at Sunrise

Broken Arch at Sunrise

I’m getting to know the Energi better.  I really enjoy driving it.

3 thoughts on “Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on Less Than One Tank

  1. wow, really nice pictures, especially the Milky Way shot. Did you have to bring your own light to light up the lower area of the arch way?
    I use ICE when climbing hills and use the push button on the stick shift to get the max regen when going down hill (sorry, don’t know what that is called).

    • Thanks for the compliment. The arch was lit up with an electronic flash during a long exposure. I agree. Use ICE when climbing hills and use the button on the side of the stick to regen more going down hill.

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