SUMMER ROAD TRIP, DAYS 56 – 58
Change is good for the soul; whether it is a change within a relationship, career or life in general. Even a change in scenery can be refreshing and rejuvenating. We have been on the road for almost two months and have experienced the magnificence of nature within ten diverse national parks. There have been glistening rivers, jagged peaks, milky blue waters, snow-capped mountains and lush forests.
Is it time for a change? As we drive into Arches National Park, my eyes fixate on rugged arid land with glowing red rock and delicate natural formations and I realize, it was time for a new landscape.
Join us as we fall head over hiking boots in love with Utah!
Introduction to Arches National Park
In the southeastern part of Utah, Arches National Park contains the largest number of sandstone arches in the country. Combined, the park has over 2,000 formations. A 40-mile scenic drive delivers access to the various hiking trails and viewpoints along the route. One full day exploring the park could be enough time to get a feel for it, but we recommend two days. With temperatures at almost 100 degrees, it is nice having extra time to break up the hikes early in the day and later in the evening.
Home base for the week is Canyonlands RV Resort & Campground in the town of Moab, only 3.5 hours from Salt Lake City and 90 minutes from Grand Junction. The town is in an ideal location: 5.5 miles south of the entrance to Arches National Park, 30 miles northeast of Dead Horse Point State Park, 32 miles northeast of Island in the Sky Visitor Center in Canyonlands National Park, and 76 miles east of the entrance to Needles District, Canyonlands National Park.
Moab has various lodging options including hotels, motels, resorts, B&B’s and campgrounds. It is a gateway to a playground for the adventurous: hiking, four-wheel drive excursions, white-water rafting, canoeing, biking, and horseback riding.
Arches National Park Itinerary: Day 1
Start early, the middle of the day catches high temperatures and crowds. We head straight to the furthest point in the park to take one of the limited parking spaces at a popular trail.
Devil’s Garden Trail – Out and Back
Devil’s Garden Trail is one of the longest and most difficult trails in Arches. Only the last two and a half miles are moderate, the beginning section is easy and flat. Eventually the trail has a 1,000-foot elevation gain and also has stretches of rock climbing.
The trail can be taken as a 7.2 mile loop trail by eight arches, through a section that is considered primitive. We choose to walk to the more easily accessed six arches by hiking the out and back trail, roughly 6.5 miles.
The first two arches we come to are the Pine Tree Arch and the Tunnel Arch.
Next, the trail takes us to the third and most impressive arch. Depending on who you ask, some say the Landscape Arch is the longest natural arch on the planet. The Natural Arch and Bridge Society has deemed it the fifth longest in the world, measured at 290-feet long. Either way, it is an impressive sight to see.
If you do not want to climb up rocks or do not like heights this is the place where you may decide to turn around. Up to this point, it would be about 3 miles round trip.
After visiting Landscape Arch, the trail gets more adventurous. It begins to climb over rocks and splits off to two spur trails to the Partition Arch and Navajo Arch.
Following the spur trails, the trail opens up to magnificent views of Arches landscape on the way to Double O Arch.
After scrambling back up from Double O Arch, we turn around only to have the first injury of the trip. On the way down, I slip and fall in a very banana peel-esque manner. My feet come up and my elbow, hip and butt slam on the solid rock. I was not a happy camper, but if someone was behind me, they would have had a good laugh. Thankfully, nothing is broken. Tip: Wear sturdy shoes and walk slow on the way down!
After the Devil’s Garden hike, we hop back in the car for a short ride to Skyline Arch. Parking is alongside the road. The trail is only 1/2 a mile out and back.
Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch is another short drive. It is a quick, easy stroll in a sandy area. It’s a fun narrow path to the arch.
Fiery Furnace Viewpoint
You can hike the Fiery Furnace area, a 2-mile moderate hike, with a ranger or permit after watching an orientation video at the Visitor Center. We stop at the viewpoint to take in the labyrinth of sandstone walls.
Arches National Park Itinerary: Day 2
Start the day at the most well-known hike in the park, Delicate Arch. It is famous for a reason! The 80-foot arch towers over impressed onlookers. The 3-mile round trip trail to the freestanding arch is considered strenuous and is usually busy. It starts out with a steep climb along a well-defined wide path. Follow cairns along the next section on slickrock which eventually leads to a narrow rock ledge. Alas, the stunning Delicate Arch!
The Windows section includes a few different paths to various formations. On the south side of the parking lot, a loop trail winds around the North Window, South Window and the Turret Arch. From the north side, the Cove of Caves and Double Arch can be reached.
Arches National Park at Sunset
Try to make it a point to visit the park for either sunrise or sunset, the warm glow adds a whole other level of beauty to the landscape.
Know Before You Go
- $25 per car, $15 per motorcycle, $10 per person on foot/bike.
- Park is open year round.
- Visitor Center open 7:30 am – 6:00 pm (mid June – early September), 8:00 am – 4:30 pm (early September – Nov. 1st), 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (rest of the year).
- Potable Water available at Visitor Center and Devils Garden Campground Only.
- Leashed pets only in parking areas and campground, not on trails or backcountry areas.
- Stay hydrated, bring and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Stay on trails to protect fragile soil.
- Parking is permitted only in designated areas and is strictly enforced.
- Not many shaded areas in the park – Always wear or bring sunscreen and/or hat.
And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 12 U.S. states, 2 Canadian province and 13 national parks. For the upcoming months, I will be sharing with you our highlights, lowlights, adventures, favorite spots, best tips and our thoughts on three months of road tripping and living in a pop up. I’ll try to answer any and all of your questions too! You can also follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Miles Driven: 486
Total Road Trip Miles Driven to Date: 9,236
Be Part of the Adventure.
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