Arches National Park

UTAH, USA

This iconic park showcases the pure power of mother nature. Due to the nature of these landmarks, I would rush out to Arches National Park before the landscape changes for good. The fragile rock formations that make this park so special are truly a sight to see.  

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Double Arch, Arches National Park 

ACCOMMODATIONS.

There is one campground in Arches National Park, Devil’s Garden Campground, near the end of Park Road. Many people choose to stay in the nearby city of Moab and make the very short commute into the park from there. There are many accommodation options available in this adventure town, however, my party opted for the Lazy Lizard Hostel. This cheap option provided us with the opportunity to utilize a kitchen, cutting down on our food costs, laundry, showers, and air-conditioned sleeping arrangements. Since there were three of us we chose the private cabin option which can sleep 4-6 comfortably for an incredibly reasonable price ($46 a night); the cabins have an air conditioner, outlets, desk space and a personal parking space with a bench and picnic table. In that hot Moab heat, we were grateful for the opportunity to shower and sleep in a cool room each night.  

I found the visitors center to be an exceptionally beautiful (and busy) one.  You can fill up your water bottles at both the Visitor’s Center and Devil’s Garden. Take a look at the exhibits to learn more about the park’s history, geology, plants, and animals. You may also watch a park film that plays every 30 minutes in the visitor center.

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Partition Arch, Arches National Park

TRAILS and SIGHTS.

Double Arch
Double Arch, Arches National Park

TRAIL: Double Arch

DIFFICULTY: Easy

DESCRIPTION: This .5 mile, heavily trafficked out and back is great for the whole family. You may stop at the base of the arch and gaze up in wonder or do some light rock scrambling and get right up under double arch’s two, huge, intertwined arches.


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Arches National Park

TRAIL: The Windows (North and South Window) & Turret Arch 

DIFFICULTY: Easy

DESCRIPTION: A 1-mile round trip gentle climb up a gravel trail leads to the massive North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch. You can return to the parking lot via the same trail, or take the slightly longer primitive trail around the Windows by starting at South Window viewpoint. As a fairly easy trail, it is often a very busy viewpoint!


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Balanced Rock, Arched National Park

TRAIL: Balanced Rock

DIFFICULTY: Very Easy

DESCRIPTION: You can’t miss this iconic landform from the road but if you want to get more up close and personal take the loop trail at the base of this fragile, picturesque rock formation. Part of the trail is paved and accessible to wheelchairs!
(Disclaimer: this photo is from a picnic table down the road)


TRAIL: Delicate Arch viewpoints

DIFFICULTY: Easy-Moderate

DESCRIPTION: Although I would not recommend either, if this is your ONLY opportunity to view Delicate Arch then please don’t miss out. There is one very easy viewpoint with a wheelchair-accessible view of the arch at a distance. Another mildly strenuous hiking trail climbs 0.5 mile (0.8 km) toward Delicate Arch, ending at a viewpoint separated from the arch by a steep canyon. You can’t reach Delicate Arch on this trail; to hike all the way to the arch, start from Wolfe Ranch.


TRAIL: Delicate Arch

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

DESCRIPTION: This free-standing arch has become widely accepted as the symbol of Utah. Begin this Hike at Wolfe Ranch which can be found off of the main park road on Wolfe Ranch Road.


TRAIL: Devil’s Garden (and Landscape Arch)

DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult

DESCRIPTION: At the very end of Park Road, 18 miles from the visitors center, you will find the trailhead for Devil’s Garden.  You can hike this as an out and back or with a bit of a primitive loop thrown in there; either way, this trail will take you past 6-7 arches that you can only see along the trail.

The hike to Landscape Arch is fairly easy, however, the terrain becomes much more difficult beyond this point. If you choose the direct path from the parking lot out to Double O arch, you will come across two small spur trails that I highly suggest. If you choose to take the primitive trail you will still come across these spur trails, but know that you will be walking through soft sand, need basic trail navigation and rock scrambling skills with steep inclines and drop-offs. Round-trip, including all spur trails, this route will run you 7.2 miles; I suggest an early start in the heat of summer!

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Landscape Arch, Arches National Park 

TRAIL: Fiery Furnace

DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult

DESCRIPTION: This is a guided tour that you should sign up for AS SOON AS you know you will be exploring Arches National Park. This natural labyrinth requires a Ranger Guided Tour or a permit from the visitor center. A permit for the Fiery Furnace is $6 per adult and you must watch an orientation video before exploring.

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If you begin your day early enough, you can fit in pretty much all of the above-mentioned sights in one day; this would mean starting your day at sunrise and ending it close to or after sunset (don’t forget your headlamp!). Hiking Devil’s garden in the cool of the early morning hours is definitely a good plan; I’ve also heard that Delicate Arch at sunset is the real deal. Show up prepared and you should have a great day!  

 

14 thoughts on “Arches National Park

  1. Places where I love to lose myself. Finding a contact with nature in such a direct way through the natural history of the place … I hope one day to visit this place too because I have dreamed it for some time!

  2. What a beautiful park. I need to get here one day. I just love your photos. This would be such a neat area to explore.

  3. Arches National Park was so much more beautiful and amazing than I had imagined. We arrived rather late in the day, and only had 3-4 hours to spend here. There was no line to wait in when we arrived; we went straight through. We had to rush around between the different stops, and although we got to see much of it, you could really spend a lot more time here rather than just a few hours.
    The Visitor Center was very nice with great information about how the arches formed. Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we rushed through it, but you could easily spend an hour inside.
    The arches were interesting, but I was in awe of the area they call “Park Avenue.” I felt like I was standing among ancient ruins in Egypt. Another area I recommend visiting is Sand Dune Arch. You walk a little bit through a lot of sand (like a beach, and you will get sand in your shoes) and you arrive in this little-secluded hidey hole area with the arch. You have to experience it to understand how cool it is.

  4. Arches national park is really beautiful, when I stayed in Utah I got chance to visit there. Your pictures are really beautiful.

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