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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We drove through the park until we hit the Devil’s Garden before we headed back. We saw interesting flat rocks with canyons between.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When we got to the end we looked out over a vast valley of variegated colours. Large rocks stood on the horizon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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