Arches National Park, Moab
Spend a full day exploring National Park. Start off at information center located near the entrance of the park. Take a good 30 minutes to learn about the geology and topography of the area. It's a great information center with insightful exhibits.
Then take your car or car rental around the park. Stop at as many monuments as possible. It is a wonderful experience. And make sure you bring your camera - if you don't you will regret it. Here are some Arches you must visit:
- Delicate Arch (furthermost arch)
- Double Arch
- Sand Dune Arch
Other rock formations worth seeing:
- Balanced rock
- Devil's Garden (you'll find the Sand Dune Arch there)
But there is a lot I didn't get to see because I only had a few hours there. So I recommend taking a whole day to visit the park.
- Hat (hot/sunny)
- Sunglasses (windy/dusty)
- Water (not many places to refill)
- Snacks (not many, if any, places to buy food)
- A car (you'll need a car to explore the whole park)
Do you want to see rock arches? Then this is the place to come. Within the National park there are 2000 documented arches. That doesn't include many others in the surrounding area. My favorite is Delicate arch, but I have also enjoyed among others Corona and Bowtie arches, Tower arch, Double arch, Wilson arch.
Gemini Bridges trail is a rocky, dirt, bouncy, slickrock, sandy 4 wheel drive road. There are signs for "Gemini Bridges" on US-191 north of Arches National Park entrance.
You will be treated with beautiful drive on BLM land just outside Canyonlands National Park-Island in the Sky district. You will have opportunity to view Arches and Natural Bridges - Gemini Bridge. The trail is rated easy or moderate - although we opted to driving a rental Jeep Wrangler from Moab Adventure Center instead of our own Jeep Grand Cherokee - the rental Jeep Wrangler had greater ground clearance.
Follow BLM trail signs on fencepost-like material. You will need a detailed trail map/description.
Arches National Park of course has beautiful rocks in a dry desert setting. Of course the famous "arches" are here. It is very hard to take pictures of the various arches because the tourists (including myself) gaulk around and stand in the way so it's hard to take a photo of rocks without people in the way. I did get a couple of shots off without any interference. It was so hot when we went here, and mind you we were on a motorcycle so we were exposed to the elements, we didn't get to sit in a car with air conditioning like everyone else! I hate hiking in the heat and the walk up to the arches was total torture for me! Bring lots of water and sunblock, and make sure you have a car with air conditioning if you are going to this part of the country in the summer!
The website has lots of information including rules on bringing pets, more photo's and descriptions of the plant life and animal life in this area.
Don't think that going in the evening (like we did) was going to do us any good by being "cooler". The rocks hold their heat in and expunge the heat all evening long, so it's always hot!
One should really take the time to go see Arches National Park. It's located just outside Moab and is easy to get to. It's car friendly and one can drive a good ways into it. There are also plenty of places to park and get out and hike to see some of the sights. Arches also has many campsites for those who wish to camp. Just an amazing array of rock formations you won't see anywhere else.
I have to say that the staff at this Tourist Information was the most helpful and enthusiastic bunch of people that I have encountered in a long time.
We mentioned that we were headed to Arches NP the next morning and planned to be there from sunrise to sunset. The woman behind the counter pulled out a map of the park and advised us where the best viewing spot for sunrise would be and then charted out what hikes we should do and when, filling our entire day and then ending with a recommended viewing spot for sunset. She had been to the park countless times and knew all of the trails firsthand.
Her advice was priceless and we promptly asked her to help us plan our visit to Canyonlands NP for the following day!
Arches National Park is known for its dramatic rock formations. Here, you will find massive sandstone buttes, petrified dunes, balancing rocks and of course, the greatest concentration of natural arches found anywhere in the world.
There is an 18 mile scenic road that traverses the park and dozens of hikes ranging from a few minutes to a few hours.
See my Arches NP pages for more photos and info.
The Needles district of Canyonlands National Park is 75 miles from Moab. This section of Canyonlands has a landscape of sculptured rock spires, arches, canyons, and potholes. The needles, for which this section was named, are rock pinnacles banded in red and white. Most of the arches in the Needles district are hidden in the backcountry canyons and must be reached by four-wheel-drive trips or long hikes. If you are interested in history you will enjoy the hike to the old cowboy camp. You can get information about the hike and many others from the visitor center. In an alcove near the old cowboy camp you can see soot-blackened ceilings with handprints painted on the walls as well as other figures from the ancestral Puebloen Indians. Like the Island In the Sky district, the Needles district also gives you the opportunity to see some ancestral Puebloen granaries.
For more information on Canyonlands National Park check out my Kimberlyann's Canyonlands National Park, Utah pages.
Arches National Park is only 5 miles northwest of Moab on US 191. This national park, which preserves over two thousand natural sandstone arches, contains the largest number of natural arches in the country. Some of the other wonderful features in the park include canyons, balanced rocks, fins, and pinnacles, all accented with beautiful colors. Besides these natural wonders you may wish to take a walk to the historic Wolf Ranch. Just beyond the old Wolf Ranch cabin are some excellent historic Ute rock art carvings in the side of a flat rock face. While visiting Arches National Park, you will be able to see many of the highlights from the road, or short foot trails. But if you love hiking, there are many opportunities for reaching formations farther into the park. For more detailed information on Arches visit my Arches National Park in Beautiful Utah pages.
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
Wilson Arch is not actually part of the Arches National Park. This arch is approximately 15 miles to the south of Moab on US Highway 191 going towards Monticello or Monument Valley. Just as spectacular as some of the Arches in the National Park.
Utah Route 128 is a very scenic road that goes from Moab to I-70 near the Colorado line. Route 128 follows the Colorado River for the most part. With an abundance of mesas and monoliths along the river, there is no bad view here. There are many places to camp along this road as well, which is also convient to the Arches NP. Pictured here is the Colorado River with a relection of a monolith. The scenery here is just so unique.
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.
Utah's largest national park is not for the sightseer out for a Sunday afternoon drive. It rewards those willing to spend time and energy-lots of energy-exploring the rugged backcountry. Sliced into districts by the Colorado and Green rivers, the park's primary architects, this is a land of extremes: vast panoramas, dizzyingly deep canyons, dramatically steep cliffs, broad mesas, and towering red spires.
The most accessible part of Canyonlands is the Island in the Sky District, in the northern section of the park, where a paved road leads to sites such as Grand View Point, overlooking some 10,000 square miles of rugged wilderness. Island in the Sky also has several easy-to-moderate trails offering sweeping vistas. A short walk provides views of Upheaval Dome, which resembles a large volcanic crater but may actually have been created by the crash of a meteorite. For the more adventurous, the 100-mile White Rim Road takes experienced mountain bikers and those with high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles on a winding loop tour through a vast array of scenery.
The Needles District, in the southeast corner, offers only a few viewpoints along the paved road, but numerous possibilities for hikers, backpackers, and those with high-clearance 4x4s. Named for its tall, red-and-white-striped rock pinnacles, this diverse district is home to impressive arches, including the 150-foot-tall Angel Arch, as well as grassy meadows and the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. Backcountry visitors will also find ruins and rock art left by the ancestral Puebloans (also known as Anasazi) some 800 years ago.
Most park visitors don't get a close-up view of the Maze District, but instead see it off in the distance from Grand View Point at Island in the Sky or Confluence Overlook in the Needles District. That's because it's inhospitable and practically inaccessible.