Utah is home to America’s top national parks collectively called the Mighty 5. Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches make the Mighty 5. Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, the highest concentration of arches in the world.
Good to Know
- Closest city & airport – Moab
- Best time to visit – Avoid peak summer months June through August.
- Admission fee is $25 per vehicle and is good for seven days.
- Stay – Moab has plenty of lodging options. There are no hotels inside the park except a campsite at Devils Garden.
- Always carry water and wear sunscreen or a hat as the desert heat can cause dehydration and sunburn.
- Small rock piles called cairns mark the trails.
- Nearby – Canyonlands National Park & Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Park Avenue viewpoint is a collection of tall stone columns that closely resemble the popular street in New York, hence the name. There is a trail that descends steeply into the canyon giving you a closer look at the rock formations. The rock formations have interesting names like the Courthouse Towers, Sheep Rock, and Three Gossips.
Devils Garden Trail
This is one of the longest trails in the park (7.5 miles RT) leading to eight spectacular arches, including Landscape Arch one of the largest natural arch in the world. This is a primitive trail where you will have to scramble on slick rock and go through narrow ledges. It is easy to get lost here so keep an eye out for the stack of rocks (cairns) that mark the trail.
Inarguably the poster boy of Arches National Park, Delicate Arch is a MUST DO. There is a viewpoint to the arch a mile away but the view is disappointing. Go on the 3.2 miles RT hike which is strenuous but very rewarding. You don’t see the arch until the very last turn and nothing can prepare you for this sight. It is truly an exclamation of wonder seeing this 60 feet tall arch standing in front of you.
On the way back stop by Frame Arch which provides a beautiful window frame for the Delicate Arch.
This is a great vista point just off the main park road. It is quite a sight to take in.
This is a ranger guided strenuous hike through Fiery Furnace, a labyrinth of sandstone fins and other striking red rock formations. It is open from spring through fall and tickets must be purchased in advance.
Balanced Rock & Windows Section
These two sections are easily accessible by car and don’t require hiking. There is a 0.3-mile loop around the Balanced Rock offering a close-up view from all sides. The Windows section has three massive arches – the North & South Windows and Turret Arch.
The Windows section and delicate Arch are popular spots for sunset. There is another arch close by called the Double Arch, where the base of two giant arches is joined at one end.
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