October 6-13, 2018
The last of the Utah Mighty 5 national parks- Arches National Park. This was perhaps my favorite!
We parked the RV in Moab, which is only 10 minutes from the park entrance and the visitors center.
Arches National Park has the world’s highest concentration of natural stone arches (over 2,000) in the world. It is also full of fins, pinnacles and balancing rocks. Upon entering the park, we first stopped at the visitors center which as a giant poster of Delicate Arch, the most recognizable arch in the park and the one found on the state’s license plates. During the 2000 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics they ran the torch through Delicate arch.
After climbing to the top of the paved road with many switchbacks, we passed what we called the Three Wise Men, but are actually called the Three Gossips in the Courthouse Towers.
Then we passed what we called High Five, actually called Balance Rock next to unnamed rock. Balanced Rock is 128 feet tall and weighs 3600 tons. Balanced Rock is unbelievable to see, it seems as if it defies gravity but it will eventually come tumbling down as the erosional process continues to shape the landscape, proving that there is no better time than the present to see this awe-inspiring giant.
You can park and walk closer to Balanced rock (only 0.3 mile RT) but we just admired it the 8 times we drove past it.
The first hike we did was out to Turret Arch, which we affectionally named OK or Capisce Arch.
From Turret Arch you can easily walk over to North and South Window which we called the Mardi Gras Mask.
From North and South Windows parking lot you can also walk over to Double Arch and Elephant Butt– I mean Butte. Double Arch is the arch that was featured at the beginning of Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade.
The second stop we made on the first day was Sand Dune Arch because the sun was setting and we knew this was a short hike. This arch is hidden among a maze of giant red rocks. It opens up to a soft sand path. From here you can also walk over to Broken Arch but we did not because the sun was setting. This was Abby and Mackenzie’s favorite trail. It was so quiet and empty. They ran around climbing and sliding. Check out the video at the end with Abby not realizing it was so slippery and sliding down under the arch.
We drove out to Delicate Arch after work/school on Wednesday. This is a 3 miles RT trial so we had just enough time to hike there and back (with time to take a 1000 pictures) before sunset. If you only have time for one hike in this park, this is the one!
The road to the lower and upper trails was closed the first day we had driven through the park but today it was so we parked there first and walked those only to realize that they only give you a very distinct glimpse of the arch so we needed to go to the other parking lot and walk the long trial that takes you right under the arch.
Looking out to see the La Sal Mountains in the background makes this a picture perfect landscape.
It’s worth it to walk over to the arch to stand under it. Or do a ‘bridge’ under it like Mackenzie did. The arch is 64 feet tall and 45 feet wide.
I hiked around to get different views and angles for my pictures. One such path we took was difficult and we may have been scaling the rock and pulling each other up.
On the way out to Delicate Arch or on the way back, be sure to take the detour to the old Wolfe Ranch and see the Petroglyphs.
Landscape Arch is a cool super long and thin arch at the first part of Devil Garden. This trail an easy 1.6 miles RT. If you have time you should walk all the way to Double Arch which is a difficult 4.5 round trip but you get to see so many more arches.
It’s hard to believe Landscape arch has not fallen yet.
We decided to hike to Double O arch… not to be confused with Double 0 Seven. On this trail you have to walk up several slippery fins. They are slippery because the sand from people’s hiking boots is deposited on the rocks which makes it hard to climb up the fins.
I love long hikes that are primitive, without a lot of traffic and has beautiful scenery. This hike met all this desires so it was my favorite hike in all the park. We even walked further than Double O and may have gotten a little lost but that made it exciting. Another reason I love hikes in this park is because when you are in a canyon or between fins it is pure silence and you can hear your footsteps echo against the walls.
The memorable views and priceless family time made a permeant stamp on my heart.
Here is the recap video on our youtube channel.