Visit Arches National Park In Moab Utah

Visit Arches National Park.jpg

A Day Trip To Visit Arches National Park

On our tour of the Utah National Parks, we used Moab as a base for a few days. From here we did our first day trip to visit Arches National Park.

We visited the park looking for arches. But we found so much more. We only did a drive through the park. But along the way we found many trailheads to hike the park and see so much more.

Heading Up Into Arches National Park

We arrived at the main gate of Arches National Park for 8am. We were told to start our visit early to avoid the mid-day crowds. This became our approach for visiting all the National Parks.

We arrived prepared to buy our annual National Parks Pass. We knew that on this visit, an annual pass would more than pay for itself. But we visited on one of the days when the parks were free for all.

Even though the park admission was free, it was still very quiet on the roads. It was mid-week in late September. And we found parking without a problem during our day in the park. But we imagined that on peak days that would not be true.

We drove along the road and made our first stop looking back down towards the highway. The sign talked about the Moab Fault. And it was clearly visible.

Moab Fault.jpg

On the way in, we passed right by the rock formations at Park Avenue and the Courthouse. But stopped for a better view later in the day when the sun was high. On our day trip to visit Arches National Park, we tried to time our stops for the best lighting.

Courthouse Towers - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

The Windows In The Early Light

We were excited for our visit stop to see the Windows. We approached the turnoff and saw the Balanced Rock almost acting as a sign-post.

Balanced Rock - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

At the parking for the Windows, we stopped to take in the view of the site. There were three different arches to visit. The path climbed to the North Window. Through the eye of the North Window, we caught view of the sky and clouds behind. Then we followed the path in behind the North Window to the South Window. Much of this area was still in shadow. When we walked back away, we clearly saw both windows looking at us.

North Window - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

South Window.jpg

North and South Window - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

From here we followed the path to the Turret Arch. This was the first of several key-shaped arches that we saw on our visit to Arches National Park.

Turret Arch Window - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

As we headed back to the car we saw the interesting rock formations in the distance. The rock formation was called the Elephant Parade. And when we got closer, we saw the Double Arches clearly.

Double Arch and Elephant Parade.jpg

Double Arch - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

The first stop at the Windows on our day in Arches National Park got us excited to see more.

Driving Through Arches National Park

There were driving paths that wound their way all through the park. While there are many feature areas to stop, we found the sights on the entire drive to be fascinating. We shot pictures when we pulled over of the fascinating rock formations.

Drive The Park.jpg

Drive The Park.jpg

There was a walking path through the Garden of Eden. We pulled in to take pictures from afar. But did not walk through this site.

Garden of Eden.jpg

We saw amazing vistas surrounding us. We pulled over to look over the Salt Valley. Off in the distance we saw a range of what looked like hoodoos. As we kept driving, we got a much closer look at these fascinating thin spires of rock. It got us so excited for our coming visit to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Vista Views - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Vista Views.jpg

Salt Valley Vista Views - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Salt Valley Vista Views - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

We drove through the park until we hit the Devil’s Garden before we headed back. We saw interesting flat rocks with canyons between.

Devils Garden - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Devils Garden - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Our visit to Arches National Park was still in our Utah National Park Tour. So we were fascinated with every rock formation we saw.

A View Of The Delicate Arch

There were many ways to see the Delicate Arch. If we wanted to walk all the way to the arch, the trailhead was behind the Wolfe Lodge. We kept going to the viewpoint parking lot.

We got out and walked along the path at the Lower Viewpoint. Far on the hills in the distance, we saw our first view of the Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch Lower Viewpoint.jpg

We headed off for the climb to the Upper Viewpoint. But we were not certain how long the climb was. Along the flatter portion of the walkway, we looked at the variety of rock. The pathway changed to uneven rock and continued steadily upwards. As we walked, we lost sight of the Arch. But knew we walked in the right direction.

Delicate Arch Lower Viewpoint.jpg

Delicate Arch Upper Viewpoint.jpg

We saw a group of people at the top of a large set of rock stairs. And were happy to find the Upper Viewpoint. In the distance we saw people under the arch. They had walked from Wolfe Lodge. This was the end of the trail for us.

Delicate Arch Upper Viewpoint - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Delicate Arch Upper Viewpoint - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

On our visit to Arches National Park, we loved the chance to see yet another interesting arch feature.

Stop At The Fiery Furnace

Our next stop was at the Fiery Furnace. When we saw the sign, we were not sure what to expect. But later read that it got its name from the warm glow that the red rocks threw at sunset.

The trailhead left from the parking lot. This would be a great way to explore this vast rock feature. Signs reminded people that hiking permits were required beyond the viewpoint fence. There were also guided hikes available.

Fiery Furnace.jpg

As we got closer, we saw the towering sandstone canyons with deep canyons, fins and spires. What we saw from the viewpoint is only a very small part of the Fiery Furnace.

Fiery Furnace - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Fiery Furnace.jpg

Fiery Furnace - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

When we got to the end we looked out over a vast valley of variegated colours. Large rocks stood on the horizon.

Fiery Furnace View - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Fiery Furnace View.jpg

Our stop at the Fiery Furnace, was a good reminder that there was so much more than just arches to see when you visit Arches National Park.

Hike To The Skyline Arch

From the Fiery Furnace we visited one more large arch formation. We parked and set off for yet another short hike up the stairs and down through the valley. We were rewarded with our first view of the Skyline Arch in the distance.

Skyline Arch.jpg

Skyline Arch - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Following the path, we got up close and under the arch. Unlike the arches that were formed by erosion over many years, you could see the rocks that had slid down into the valley forming this arch. At this point, we were not up to scaling the rocks to see what might be on the other side of the path.

Skyline Arch.jpg

It was great to wander to different angles to catch the Skyline Arch. And the clouds moving quickly through the window opening. Another great arch to see you tour around Arches National Park.

Final Stops At The Courthouse And Park Avenue

As we approached the Courthouse Towers, we got a great view of the long rock wall. When we looked close, we got a great view of the work that Mother Nature has done to round and carve the rock. The walls reminded us etched walls we saw when we went boating in the Navajo Canyon in Page, Arizona.

Courthouse Towers - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Courthouse Towers.jpg

On our way in, we quickly went through the rocks in the Courthouse Towers. But on the return trip, the rocks were bathed in light. We got closer views of The Organ, the Tower of Babel and the Sheep Rock.

The Organ - Courthouse Towers - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

Tower of Babel - Courthouse Towers - Visit Arches National Park.jgp

Sheep Rock - Courthouse Towers - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

We saw a lot of rocks that looked like people. At the Courthouse Towers, we were amused to find a group of three spired that were named the Three Gossips.

Three Gossips - Courthouse Towers.jpg

Three Gossips - Courthouse Towers - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

The final stop on our day in Arches National Park was at Park Avenue. The towering canyon walls in this area looked a bit light the buildings in a big city. Erosion has continued to carve out vertical fins that separated the buildings. There was a trailhead here to explore this fascinating valley some more.

Park Avenue.jpg

Park Avenue - Visit Arches National Park.jpg

The tower rocks we found on our visit to Arches National Park were fascinating to see.

A Great Day To Visit Arches National Park

We started our visit to Arches National Park expecting to see arches. And boy did we see some striking examples. But there is so much more to see. Stunning vistas were everywhere we looked. Amazing rock structures created whimsical views.

One day was enough to drive to the viewpoints around Arches National Park. It gave us a great introduction. But an extra few days are required if you want to hike in the park and see the different areas close up. Remember that a hiking permit is required.

A day in Arches National Park was one of the great things to do on our visit to Moab, Utah. But we had lots more excitement planned. We explored Canyonlands and Dead Horse State Park during our stay in Moab. And had so much fun with an off-road jeep adventure at sunset. Moab was certainly a great spot to use as a base!

Did you visit Arches National Park? Did you hike in the park as well as explore from the viewpoints?

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About TravelAtWill 574 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

40 Comments

  1. Arches National Park is so amazing. You have some great places to see there, unfortunately too far for me coming from Europe. But I must admit that I am so thrilled to discover that secret Devil’s Garden. The rock formations look amazing and I’d love to explore the place. Thank you so much for the tips.

  2. Yes! I believe that we need to keep pushing positive content out there, so yay! I love all of these formations – I’d stop and take photos of all of them, too. I didn’t really realize you could drive through so much of it. It’s a perfect place to practice social distancing, too! I have loved your Utah and Arizona photos – such a lovely journey.

    • Jennifer, We really loved our visit to the National Parks. Arches was the first on this trip, so it really made an impression on us. A great place to have to yourself. Linda

  3. It is so nice that there is so much to see right on the road. I prefer to visit the parks a bit out of season to avoid the crowds and the heat. My mom has the senior national park pass and it has been such a good investment.

    • Jamie, If we lived closer, we would definitely visit more regularly. Once quick trip to any of the National Parks was not enough. We were happy we did not have big crowds. Linda

  4. What luck to arrive on a day when everything is free! It’s nice that there were no crowds. I’m sure being able to visit on a weekday in September is one of the many benefits of being retired! It is funny how so many of the natural formations actually look at though they may have been carved by ancient people. The elephant parade looks like a work of art. Incredible!

    • Stephanie, Being able to travel and avoid crowds is definitely an advantage of being retired. It lets us get more than a glimpse of some amazing beauty. But even with that, we need to go back to really see more. Some stunning pieces of natural art on our visit to Arches National Park. Linda

  5. Amazing natural rock formations there. I would love to see these some day. It’s impressive how geometric some of them are, and how nature can create something like that.

    • Rhonda, It was truly stunning to see the art created by nature. And wind and movement continue to change and shape so many of these. Every visit would be different. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  6. I’d love to return to Utah soon and visit Arches National Park. I really enjoy this type of landscape and it’s great that it’s fairly easy to access the different points by car. I think I would do one of just driving and taking photos to get an idea of which areas I would want to explore further and possible do a hike. I’m guessing I’d have to go when the temperatures are mild if I want to attempt some hiking.

    • Candy, We enjoyed the opportunity to do the route by car to see all of the different spots. We now have a better idea where we might want to explore more on a return trip. So many great hiking spots. And you would want to hike when the temperatures were reasonable since there are no facilities at all in the park. Linda

  7. I’ve only been able to visit Arches National Park on a trip back to California, but I loved it! My favorite part(of course it is) would have to be Delicate Arch! I love the all the different rock formations and I cannot wait to get back to Utah to see more!

    • Joe, We were so glad we had Arches National Park on our Utah park plan. It was interesting to find some many great rock formations in addition to the arches. We would love to go back with more time and explore a few of the formations in more detail one day. Linda

  8. Wow! Arches National Park is just so beautiful. I have not heard of this place before. After all there are so many wonderful places in the world that are yet to be known to me. The natural rock structures are truly beautiful and I am sure it was a great experience to explore them. And yes, these arches have interesting names! I loved the name ‘fiery arch’! Hope to visit this part of the world some day.

  9. I came across the Arches park a few years back through another website. I was quite mesmerized by the colors and the various formations here. The double arch and the delicate arch are the two that I remember the most. Thanks to your post, I now found a few more interesting ones – like the skyview arch, the Fiery furnace. I love the way they have named all of these arches. 😀

    • Ami, We were interested to see all the different arches and other formations as we visited Arches National Park. And I am sure there is so much more to still discover. Linda

  10. Arches National Park is high on my list. This a photographer’s paradise. Your post has just reminded me to plan it soon. Driving Through Arches National Park must have been a great experience. I really like detailed post and your post is absolutely awesome in proving details. The photos of Arches National Park are simply breathtaking. Thanks for this great read.

    • Parnashree, I am glad this was a great tease to get Arches National Park on your travel planning board. Every spot we stopped was so great to view. And we want to go back and hike some more. Hope you get to visit. Linda

  11. I came SO CLOSE to visiting Arches. I had gone to Bryce one day and planned on going to Arches the next, but when I woke up, and expected snowstorm had blown into the area and we had to skip it. But I will make it there eventually!!! Your pictures make me want to go even more! It’s such a stunning and mysterious part of the country. Interesting that the viewpoint of Delicate Arch is from such a different angle than all the pictures you always see.

  12. We’d love to take a road trip to Arches National Park – you’ve captured the landscape so well through the amazing photographs and detailed information. I’d love to catch that view of the Fiery Furnace at sunset. Thanks for the tip regarding the hiking permit – will keep in mind to get that before we visit the Arches.

    • Aditi, I am glad that my view of the Arches National Park provided you with a good show. We only did the drive path. But want to go back and see more. Hope you get to visit. Linda

  13. I really felt I was traveling with you on this trip to Archis National Park. The rugged terrain looks beautiful. The walk up to Skyline Arch must be really a nice journey till you got your first view. The rocks that look like people are so amusing to look at.

  14. The formations look so incredible. I love the details you have given in this post and your photos are gorgeous. Makes me want to go right away.

  15. Oh we regret not going to Arches National Park when we roadtripped through Utah! We went to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park though, and loved both of them. The scenery of Arches NP looks like the one we saw in the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, so we thought we could leave Arches for another time. Hopefully soon!

    • Mei and Kerstin, We loved all the Utah parks. And were so happy we visited some of the state one too. We will have to try Valley of Fire next time we are in Nevada. Linda

  16. I’d love to explore this National Park and photograph the amazing rock formations. We’re in the UK but try and do a US road trip every couple of years. This is going on the ‘to do’ list!

    • Suzanne, The National Parks on the west coast are all so stunning. We have done two National Park tours. And we still need to go back for more. I hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  17. Amazing suitable names for the arches – the double arch, delicate arch, skyview arch, the Fiery furnace! Makes the travel through these more interesting and memorable. Good to know there is a free for all day. I must plan accordingly.

    • Indrani, We were so glad we started at Arches. But it did set high expectations for the other National Parks we would explore on that trip. Hope you get to visit one day. Linda

  18. this is so breathtaking and the rock formations are so unique .I loved all your Photos .You have detailed everything about the Hikes.I am glad to know the hikes are free.Hope I can visit here later this year.

  19. Your post brought back memories from our visits to Arches. The giant rock formations in this park still amazed me, even on our second visit. We still want to go back for the Fiery Furnace. The guided hikes tickets for this one is hard to get as a lot of people trying to obtain it. Also because we visited during high season.

    • Umiko, I am glad this brought back good memories of Arches. I am sure with restrictions right now, tickets for guided hikes are even harder to get. But there were so many reasons to go back and explore more. Linda

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