Aaahhh, the Arches National Park. This place is just amazing. The Arches National Park covers approximately 120 square miles and is located in Moab Utah. Not only are there over 2000 arches in the park there are many different monolith rock formations, petrified sand dunes, and sedimentary rock formations. We have visited the park 5 times, exploring different areas each time. Every time is awe inspiring. This post is a compilation of all our trips to the park so is by far our largest post to date.
If you visit the park try to get there either early in the morning or late in the day. The lines at the entrance booth can get very long. The fee for a single vehicle is $30, but since Bruce has the senior pass we don’t have to pay. First stop is the visitor center. Here you can learn about the park and how it was formed as well as a souvenir shop. The park sits atop an underground salt bed that is responsible for the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins and eroded monoliths.
When you leave the visitor center you climb steeply on a paved switchback road to the top of the mesa where the park is located. First stop is the Park Avenue viewpoint. There is a 1.8 mile easy in-out trail called Park Avenue that is an easy walk between towering monolith towers.
Next along the road is the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint area. There is a lot to see here.
This is called “The Three Gossips” but we like to call it the sentinels. It looks like they are standing guard over the park.
This looks like a medieval castle to me.
This is called ‘balanced rock’ of course.
Spooky little tree.
Just past balanced rock is the turn off for the double arch, turret arch and north and south window arches. The double arch is one of our favorites and the picture we use on our home page.
Bruce’s brother Jack climbed up into the second part of the double arch….there he is with his hands in the air.
The parking area for the Double, North Window, South Window and Turret arches is on two levels with a walkway in between. When we were there on September 22nd 2019 they were working on enlarging the parking area. Every time we have been here the parking here is very crowded, you can drive the circle around until something opens up, you may just have to be patient but it is well worth the wait as there is a lot to see here.
Now we come to the Delicate Arch. This is the arch most often seen in pictures and is even on the Utah license plate. This is the information at the trailhead: “3 Mile round trip. Difficult trail. Elevation gain of 480 Ft. Exposure to heights. No shade. Take at least one quart of water per person.” Along this trail are gravel paths with I’d say 3-5% grade, steps built into rock and the final third is over slickrock. This trail is best taken early morning, late in the day or on a cool cloudy day as there is no shade at all and the sun just bakes you on the slickrock.
On to the Sand Dune Arch. This is a nice short walk but on loose sand which makes it a bit of a trudge, well worth it though. The arch is a short walk into a slot canyon which of itself is neat to see.
From the Sand Dune Arch you have the option to continue on a hike to the Broken Arch and the Tapestry Arch. We decided to hike on because the information said it is a 1.7 mile moderate loop hike. When you arrive at the Broken arch you continue on through to follow the trail to the Tapestry Arch……easy peasy…..
We continued on through the Broken Arch and soon lost the trail. We really thought we would find it again so kept soldiering on. We turned a 1.7 mile loop into a 4 mile wandering in the desert. We decided it best to go to high ground to see if we could figure out where we were or even find the trail. We could see Devils Garden Campground so headed that way which in retrospect wasn’t the way back to our vehicle upon looking at the map but it was the way to ‘civilization’. Eventually we were able to see the road so headed that way and walked the road back to the truck.
Eureka!! The Road!! We’re Saved!!
We saw some people with climbing gear at the base of this rock formation but it’s rare for anyone to successfully scale the formidable pecker rock!
We made it back to the truck and drove to a lookout to see the Skyline Arch. In 1940 a large boulder fell out and enlarged the arch to what it looks like today.
Finally we got to the trailhead for the Landscape Arch. This is a moderately easy 1.6 mile round trip hike with some elevation gain.
Bruce found a nice spot to rest out of the sun, unfortunately tore a hole in his shorts on a branch….after close inspection of the rip saw that his boxers blended in with his shorts so it wasn’t so noticeable. Good thing our trip to the Arches has nearly come to an end.
Thank you for taking the time to work your way through our post, The Arches National Park is one of our favorites. We highly recommend making the trip to Moab Utah to enjoy the majestic scenery.