Fun things to do in Arches National Park

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    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn

Most Viewed Things to Do in Arches National Park

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    Parade of Elephants (car stop)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Just off Balanced Rock, a side trip can be made to the Parade of Elephants and the Windows Section. However, I catched a glimpse on the Parade of Elephants from my hike around Balanced Rock.

    In the back of the picture – the La Sal Mountain range. Maybe, some of the pinnacles have been arches in the past – some of them look at least as if they once have been connected with a “bridge”.

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    ENJOY ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

    by LoriPori Written Oct 20, 2009

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    Featuring the greatest concentration of natural stone arches in the world, ARCHES NATIONAL PARK boasts over 2,000 stone arches and numerous stone formations, in the 119 square miles (76,518 acres) Park. Many of the formations in the Park have distinctive names like Delicate Arch, Fiery Furnace, The Three Gossips, Courthouse Towers, Devils Garden, Garden of Eden, Parade of Elephants and Balanced Rock. Many are easily viewed from the road or from the many Viewpoints throughout the Park.
    Arches National Park offers a number of Hiking/Walking trails to suit any experience level - Easy - Moderate - Strenuous. I highlight these in my Sports Tips section. For those who wish to tour by car, there is a paved scenic drive. The Main Sections are: The Garden of Eden, The Windows Section, Wolfe Ranch/Delicate ARech, Fiery Furnace and Devils Garden, where the park's Campground is located.
    Arches is 5 miles north of Moab on Highway #191

    Hours of Operation:
    Arches is open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. The Visitor Center is open daily (exept December 25) during the following hours.
    Spring - October 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    November - Spring 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Restrooms are located throughout the Park including the Visitor Center and Devils Garden.
    Entrance Fees at Arches National Park are $10.00 per vehicle for a seven day pass. $5.00 per person for motorcycles, bicycles and walk-ins.

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    Hike in the Windows Section

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Sep 19, 2004

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    In the Windows Section which is at the end of a spur road off of the main Park road you can hike to a variety of arches. We took a loop trail that led us to Double Arch, Turret Arch, North Window, and South Window Arch. Of these arches Double Arch was my favorite (see photo).

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    Park Avenue Hike

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Sep 19, 2004

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    Drive about 2 miles into the park from the Visitor Center and walk the two-mile hike along Park Avenue. This trail has an elevation change of 320 feet and descends into a canyon where you walk along a sand and sandstone wash with towering rock formations and sheer walls around you. The trail itself is rated as moderately easy, which I would agree with.

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    Strenuous hikes: Delicate Arch

    by goodfish Updated Oct 2, 2012

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    This is the most popular of the strenuous trails as it's to the one arch everyone wants to see. Three miles round-trip, the trail climbs a dirt path, continues up a large, cairn-marked expanse of slickrock, over a level wash and then up again on 200 yards of ledge to top. Delicate Arch, at 46 feet high, is the most-photographed icon of the state of Utah, and it sits on the edge of a bowl of slickrock next to a (very) sheer dropoff. From your vantage point around the rim, you can see the La Sal Mountians and the Colorado River canyon.

    We had done this hike on a late, hot morning in 2004, and made it up again for sunset - the best time for photos - in 2011. It wasn't cloudless but there was enough sunshine to make the sandstone glow, and we stayed until dark to make the return trip all alone under a full moon: one awesome, awesome hike.

    If you're in reasonable shape and don't mind long drop-offs, you can absolutely do this one. The worst time is in the heat of the afternoon as slickrock gets hot, and there's no shade. The best is before sunset on a clear day. You'll be joining a large cast of shutterbugs but the light will be amazing and you'll most likely get snaps without (thank heavens) any people in them: do see the note about that in my warnings-and-dangers tips. Nope, definitely NOT a time to get near the thing.

    After the sunset fades, you'll have plenty of time to make the hike down before completely losing daylight but take a strong flashlight for locating cairns in case you linger too long: there are spots you do not want to stumble into - or off of - in the dark.

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    Devils Garden Hiking Trail

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Sep 19, 2004

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    This trailhead, located near the Devils Garden Campground, will take you to seven major arches. It took us about 3 hours to hike this trail. This trail begins as an easy walk, which takes you to Landscape Arch and then continued on along the primitive trail, which is graded difficult which led us to Wall Arch, Navajo Arch, and Partition Arch. To follow this primitive path the park has stacked small rocks to form cairns which lead you along the way. Although you are led over sandstone slabs, rocky footing in areas, and contains many short elevation changes, it seemed more moderate than difficult to us. Landscape Arch is very large and quite thin. The sign stated that due to erosion on the delicate structure it could come down at anytime. The primitive path was fun to hike, and the arches along it were all wonderful and quite different.

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    Walk around Balanced Rock

    by KiKitC Written Oct 26, 2008

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    Arches National Park isn't just known for the natural arches, but also the interesting balanced rocks. Balanced Rock is one of the park's iconic balanced rock sculptures, and has laid out a small trail for vantage points all around.

    After entering the park off Highway 191, north of the Pertified Sand Dunes view point, across from the intersection of Willow Flats Road, and just south of the turnoff for the windows section of the park, Balanced rock has it's own turn-off parking area.

    The park has developed a trail, just .2 miles around this amazing rock formation for vantage points all around. This 55 foot, 3,500 ton Slick Rock boulder sits 128 feet up on a pedestal of mudstone.

    It is just a matter of time before this rock falls. A companion rock, the "Chip off the Old Block" formation toppled during the winter of 1975-1976.

    There is also a picnic area and pit toilets at this stop.

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  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    Take the Drive, Stopping at the Viewpoints

    by KimberlyAnn Updated May 23, 2008

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    My intro photo shows the view from the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint. This area is located a short distance from the Visitor center. Further on you will find Courthouse Towers where you can view the rock formations and read signs about the birth and death of an arch. We found every lookout point along the way worth the stop. Some of these stops do involve a short walk to view the arch, so to really get the most out of the drive plan to get out and do some short hiking trails. One of these takes you to Sand Dune Arch, which is tucked between two fins.

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    Delicate Arch

    by windsorgirl Updated Dec 14, 2004

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    This really is a beautiful arch, but it is not easy to get to. It is a 3 mile round trip with an elevation gain of 480 feet. There is no shade, so I can imagine on a hot summer day, it would be quite challenging.

    We made the hike in late afternoon in October, so it was a bit cool and windy. There are fabulous views all the way up and should take you about 45 minutes to reach Delicate Arch. It is well worth the effort.

    The arch sits high atop a stone mesa, perfectly framing the snow capped La Sal Mountains in the distance. See my travelogue for more views from the hike.

    Delicate Arch is best photographed in late afternoon. Many people (hundreds) make the hike up for sunset and hike down in the dark. Be sure to bring a flashlight.

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    Skyline and Broken Arch

    by KimberlyAnn Written May 2, 2004

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    Walk a short quarter of a mile distance from the campground amphitheatre to the Skyline Arch. Then take a 1 and a third mile hike to Broken Arch. This trail is marked with rock cairns, and will lead you through grassland, fin canyons with sand dunes, and slickrock. This trail was marked as an “easy trail” but to me it was more moderate as there were a couple of moderately tricky areas where you needed to climb over slickrock and through one of the arches. The photo was taken by my husband and shows me standing in Broken Arch to give you an idea of the size of this wonderful arch.

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  • Park Avenue

    by CoAir13 Written Mar 7, 2004

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    The first viewpoint in the park also offers a fairly easy one way hike through Park Avenue. A small hill leads into a smooth rock canyon bottom with high walls and interesting rock formations including balanced rocks! This hike is about a mile long......not a loop trail!

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    Cove of Caves

    by sim1 Updated Feb 26, 2005

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    Directly next to the "Parade of Elephants" you can see another fascinating place called "Cove of the Caves". I just couldn't believe my eyes seeing so many weird rock formations, caves and arches. The red rocks just added to the beauty of this place.

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    Arches is Accessible

    by richiecdisc Written Jul 12, 2009

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    Part of what makes Arches National Park such a people favorite is its accessibility. Many arches are viewable from the park's scenic 18-mile one way drive that starts at the visitor center and continues to the Devil's Garden Trailhead. The road is paved and fairly level but allow ample time for the many stops you are likely to make. Everywhere you look is another beautiful vista or amazing arch. There are two paved roads that branch off the main one, one to Wolfe Ranch and Delicate Arch Viewpoint and another to The Windows. Don't miss either. But you will find many incredible views that are not labeled per say, often taking in snowy peaks against some unnamed but spectacular-just-the same red rock fins.

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    Park Avenue

    by richiecdisc Updated Jul 13, 2009

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    Park Avenue is the first stop on the park's scenic road. This viewpoint also acts as a trail head for the Park Avenue trail which is one mile and ends on the scenic road further into the park. It's great if one person does not want to walk and will bring the car to your eventual destination. Or you can walk back on the road but probably safer and more scenic, not to mention quicker to return the way you came.

    Though the view from the platform is beautiful it is well worth the short hike to walk between these steep red rock walls aptly named. Though the short walk is mostly flat you do have to drop a bit down on a steep trail to get there. Again, this is fine if you have someone to pick you up on the opposite side but otherwise remember you will have to climb back out if you have to return on foot. The Three Gossips are perhaps the most interesting feature on the hike.

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    The Devil's Garden Trail

    by richiecdisc Written Jul 12, 2009

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    The Devil's Garden is the top hike at Arches National Park. It's the only walk of appreciable distance and is quite an interesting walk if you do all the side trails and return via the Primitive Loop. This 7.2 mile round trip hike will take you up close to quite a few impressive arches and have you walking not only amongst the fins but right over them. Allow 3-5 hours depending on how many photo stops you'll be making. This walk is best done early morning not only for photographic reasons but also to avoid the crowds that descend on the park's premier trail. Start no later than 7:00 AM but 6:00 would be better. Nothing beats walking off the trail at 9:30 in the morning just as the “early bird” hikers are arriving.

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