PeaceJoyAustin

Cheap, free, and local-endorsed things to do in beautiful places

Arches National Park

  • 12718020_10153536106206546_3305562045310440610_nOver 2,000 sandstone arches
  • Highest density of arches in the world
  • Delicate Arch featured on the Utah license plate

When To Visit: September-May to avoid the extreme heat of summer

Climate: Dry. Very hot in summer, warm in spring & fall, cool in winter.

Location: Eastern Utah near Moab

One of the most stunning and underrated parks in the country, Arches National Park is an incredible land filled with beautiful red rocks, mountain views, and over 2,000 of its namesake sandstone arches. Take a driving tour through the park, stopping to take as many short walks and hikes as your time and stamina allow.

Photo: Window Arch

What To See & Do in Arches

13392004_10153651590296546_1988442440264903510_o
The Windows

While a drive through the park roads is a must, Arches is best experienced by getting out of the car to take walks and hikes. Unlike most national parks, most of Arches’ most beautiful spots only require a quick, easy walk. Bring plenty of water and be careful to avoid exhaustion or dehydration if you attempt a hike on a hot day. Here are the most scenic trails to follow, ranked in order of beauty:

Short Walks in Arches

13411770_10153651590576546_8989396705171080506_o
Double Arch
  1. Double Arch & Windows
    • 1.5 mile loop, 30 mins-1 hour, easy
    • These two walks are accessed from the same parking area and both provide views of stunning & unique arches with very little effort
  2. Skyline Arch
    • 0.4 miles round trip, out & back, 10-20 mins, easy
    • This arch is known for losing some of its rock & doubling its opening in 1940
  3. Sand Dune Arch
    • 0.3 miles round trip, out & back, 10-20 mins, easy
    • A typical-looking arch in a sandy setting
  4. Balanced Rock
    • 0.3 mile loop, 10-20 mins, easy
    • It’s a very cool rock formation but the trail doesn’t show you too much you can’t see from the parking lot
13403120_10153651590796546_3953468841147799819_o
Balanced Rock

Arches Hikes

13403793_10153651589761546_4522841101038155741_o
Delicate Arch
  1. Delicate Arch
    • 3 miles round trip, out & back, 1.5-2.5 hours, moderately strenuous
    • An absolute must-do – this hike takes you to what is truly one of the most epic places on Earth, a huge natural amphitheater surrounding the park’s most famous arch and providing panoramic views of the La Sal Mountains.
    • While the park bills this hike as “strenuous” and portions of the trail are steep, the short 1.5 mile distance to the end makes it totally doable.
  2. Landscape Arch
    • 2 miles round trip, out & back, 45-90 mins, easy
    • Don’t miss this incredible long and thin arch that is as wide as a football field
    • Take the very short and easy side trails to Tunnel Arch & Pine Tree Arch to get a couple more nice ones under your belt
13403791_10153651590406546_3761322475969044231_o
Landscape Arch

Where To Stay & Eat in Arches

There are no food services or lodging in the park, but the city of Moab, with dozens of hotels and restaurants, is a mere 5 mile, 10 minute drive from the park entrance. Click here for more information.

The park has five picnic areas if you would like to bring food into the park.

There is one 50-site campground at Devils Garden which takes reservations between March and October but is first-come, first-served the rest of the year. Click here for details.

Nearby Side Trips from Arches

13412110_10153651588581546_6155465701373122706_o
Angels Landing in Zion National Park

Canyonlands National Park: A short 30 minute drive from Arches will take you to its sister park, with dramatically carved canyons & its own cool rock formations.

Highway 128 Scenic Byway: This incredible drive begins just 3 miles south of Arches and snakes along the Colorado River, offering gorgeous views of the river gorge. Read more.

Bryce Canyon National Park: 4 hours west, Bryce Canyon hosts the largest number of hoodoo rock formations in the world and they create a stunning canyon view you’ll never forget. Read more.

Zion National Park: Centered around incredible Zion Canyon 5 hours west of Arches, this popular national park lies at the junction of three ecological regions, allowing for a unique array of animal and plant life.

Four Corners Monument: 2.5 hours south, this is the only place in the country where you can stand in four states at once. Read more.

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: