On our second day of exploring National Parks in Moab, Utah we were off to Arches National Park. We knew this had to be an early day, because the park closes when it reaches capacity and lets a few cars in for every few that leave for the rest of the day.
After entering the park and a stop at the visitors center (I love visitors centers and gift shops) we were off to explore the park.
Our first stop was Balanced Rock. Like Canyonlands, you park and hike anywhere from a quarter of a mile to two miles or more to the arches and sights in the park. Balanced Rock can be seen as you approach it, and it is a very short walk from the parking lot. Somehow this rock is balanced on top of its pedestal. Amazing. We got to walk all around this, as you can see it is not blocked off or anything.
This area is also home to the North and South Windows, Turret Arch, and Double Arch. All of these are easy walks. Most of the places we visited fell in the “easy” category for hiking, and there we found paths, steps, and natural signs directing us in the correct direction (plus we just followed everyone else!).
Our next stop was to see Delicate Arch. This is probably the most famous Arch in the park and has the honor of being on the Utah state license plates. We knew we could not do the advanced hike to the actual arch, but there are two options for viewpoints. We took the more challenging mid-level hike, and were we rewarded. First off, we actually made it! Second off, the view is something else. As you can see from the photo we were a fair distance from the arch (we looked at it from across a canyon), but that didn’t change the view.
For some reason I was so excited to stop and hike to the next arch — Sand Dune Arch. We were feeling quite confident and proud of ourselves for all the hiking so far. Plus, Sand Dune Arch — Sand is in the name! We got to walk across a field of red sand to reach this arch and its neighbors Broken and Tapestry Arches. This was a lot of fun, and we go to get up close with some of the rocks that form these arches.
I love this arch, it looks like two eagle heads coming together!
It was a cool day, but warming up, and we had done a fair amount of hiking, so we were close to calling it a day. We buzzed around the Devil’s Head Trailhead parking lot that leads to several arches, and after seeing how crowded it was we decided to call it a day. We came back the following day bright and early and went straight to this area before the crowds arrived and were rewarded with a quiet hike to Landscape Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Tunnel Arch
You can’t walk up to Landscape Arch any longer after part of it fell down a few years ago. The viewpoint offers great views of this long and fragile arch though.
We absolutely loved our two days in Arches National Park. It is amazing to look at and wander around these arches. The views across the park are something else. We were lucky to be in the park on some cooler days. We can see and understand how the heat can hamper your enjoyment of the day — we were certain even on cool days to have plenty of water with us.
After we finished up in Arches we headed to Newspaper Rock. This is covered with hundreds of petroglyphs thought to be up to 2,000 years old!
Our last stop in Utah was the tourist trap Hole n’ the Rock. I’ve fallen in a few tourist traps in my wanderings, and this is as tacky as they come. If you ever travel here, stop for the necessary photo and quickly head on down the road!
This trip most definitely did not go according to plan — 2 days in Dallas, snow, cool weather, and more — but it was a blast! We can’t wait to head out west again! Maybe these beach bums and Disney passholders will turn into national parks geeks! Or maybe not — I got too excited when I saw this plane at the airport on the way home!
We can’t wait to see where our next adventures take us!