Arches National Park, Moab
What a stunningly beautiful park! One of the most spectacular I have seen so far in the US. It features arches and pinnacles and all sorts of weird formations sculpted by the wind in the red Endrada sandstone.
The only downside is that it is very crowded. Nicely paved roads lead to the main attractions which are than a short walk from the parking lot, and therefore you can never be away from people! Anyway, just drive all the roads, ignore the RVs and enjoy the landscape!
I definitely enjoyed the following trails:
Devil's Garden: past "landscape arch", it is less crowded as the hike becomes slightly difficult and the views are absolutely to die for! 7.2 miles (11.5 km) round trip
Delicate Arch (photo): definitely worth it despite the crowds (it is the most famous arch and symbol of Utah) because of its amazing setting. 3 miles (4.8 km) round trip
Tower Arch: this hike is beautiful and away from the crowds as you have to drive on a wash-boarded dirt road for 10 miles before reaching the parking lot. 3.4 mile (5.6 km)
$10 per vehicle, a pass good for a week
This will be the only mention on Arches National Park on this page. It is located about 5 miles north of Moab off US Route 191. Please go to my Arches National Park page for more information Easty's Arches National Park Page
Arches National Park
Arches National Park preserves over two thousand natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations. In some areas, faulting has exposed millions of years of geologic history.The extraordinary features of the park, including balanced rocks, fins and pinnacles, are highlighted by a striking environment of contrasting colors, landforms and textures.
Natural stone arches and fantastic rock formations, sculpted as if by an artist's hand, are the defining features of this park, and they exist in remarkable numbers and variety. Just as soon as you've seen the most beautiful, most colorful, most gigantic stone arch you can imagine, walk around the next bend and there's another-bigger, better, and more brilliant than the last. It would take forever to see them all, with more than 1,700 officially listed and more being discovered or "born" every day.
Just down the road from Canyonlands National Park, Arches is much more visitor-friendly, with relatively short, well-maintained trails leading to most of the park's major attractions. It's also a place to let your imagination run wild.
Exploring the park is a great family adventure. The arches seem more accessible and less forbidding than the spires and pinnacles at Canyonlands and other southern Utah parks. Some think of arches as bridges, but to geologists there's a big difference. Bridges are formed when a river slowly bores through solid rock, while the often bizarre and beautiful contours of arches result from the erosive force of rain and snow, freezing and thawing, dissolving the "glue" that holds sand grains together and chips away at the stone, until gravity finally pulls a chunk off.
Spend a day or a week here, exploring the terrain, watching the rainbow of colors deepen and explode with the long rays of the setting sun, or the moonlight glistening on tall sandstone cliffs. Watch for mule deer, cottontail rabbits, and the bright green collared lizard as they go about the difficult task of desert living. And let your own imagination run wild among the Three Gossips, the Spectacles, the Eye of the Whale, the Penguins, the Tower of Babel, and the thousands of other statues, towers, arches, and bridges that await your discovery in this magical playground.
Visit/Hike Arches National Park
Probably one of the most incredible rock formations in the world. Many formations can be seen from your car, most require an easy short hike and a few require a longer more difficult hike. Great for people of all ages. Just make sure your car has air conditioning. Was the location of the young Indy scene at the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
There are many ways to explore Arches National Park. The scenic drive, which takes a few hours to complete, passes within sight of many of the park's famous features. Hiking trails lead to hundreds of spectacular natural arches and other interesting formations.
Arches National Park
Photo: Landscape Arch
You can easily spend an entire day here. It takes 45 minutes to an hour to drive from Moab to the very end of the park (Devils Garden) and that's if you're not making any stops. If its your first time in the park, you'll be making stops quite often. It's an amazing place.
Don't miss Delicate Arch at sunset. The Devils Garden hike is well worth doing. The Windows section is also worthwhile and everywhere there are short walks to the arches. The Fiery Furnace is also something you should see if you have time. You need to go on a ranger led hike here though which needs to be booked at least the day before. There are limited spaces and it is popular.
Devil's Garden hiking. Photo: Devil's Garden trailhead. February 1996.
This is a great hike with 9 arches if you do the entire loop which is 7.2 miles / 11.5 kilometers. The terrain gets a bit more difficult after Landscape Arch and involves some scrambling. Most people turn around at Landscape Arch. This is one of the best hikes in the park.
Visit the Arches national park. That's maybe the reason why you are traveling to Moab.
The Arches national park offers many nice walks. Take some time to explore this park with some walks. I would recommend to spend at least 1 day in this park.
This is along the hike in the Devil's Garden. Many people end their hike here, as it gets more difficult with lots of rock scrambling. There used to be a trail up to this arch, but it was closed when we were there.
Edward Abbey tells you to stay away, but his descriptions of Arches and the surrounding area in the book Desert Solitaire are so compelling that it was impossible for us to comply. The landscapes at Arches are breathtaking, but it is a fairly popular park and some areas can get pretty crowded. The best time to enter the park for a day of hiking is before dawn.
Stop at Balanced Rock and think about for how many years we still will be able to enjoy this upper rock balancing on it's base. Walk around this fantastic formation. The views are always different.
If only we had much more time to walk through this awesome National Park. Yes, next time we will stay there much longer ....
Start early in the morning to be back before noon as it gets really hot. Take enough water with you! The views from this arche into the mountains are just fantastic.
Hike to the windows section, it's only about 1 mile!
Enlarge the pic to see the proportion between people and this arch.