Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The First Timer's Visit to Utah's 5 National Parks, Day 8: Finding the Magic in Arches National Park

Day 8: Finding the Magic in Arches National Park
Arches ParkVisitor Guide has up to date info on everything from hours, trails, map, and fees.

  • Get to Arches NP early.  Once the allotted number of cars have entered they close and ask you to return in the afternoon. If you miss your entry go to Day 9 and finish Day 8 with Dead Horse National Park (below). You have another chance to get into Arches on Day 9 - Don't miss it! 
Arrive early and go directly to Devil's Garden Trail at the very end of Main Park Road  Build your own hike anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.  We did 4 hours.  If you do less you can add other things to do.

There is a large parking lot here but it is said to fill up quickly.  We were among the first to arrive so there was not problem for us. 

Arches National Park*

Arches National Park*

Start with an easy hike to Landscape Arch.  If this is all you do it is a 1.6mi/30 min hike.
  • On your way back you can add the easy spur trail to Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches.  This adds .5mi/20min to your hike
After Landscape Arch there is a difficult climb to get to the spur trails for Partition and Navajo Arches.
This adds.8mi/30min to your hike. 

Continue on the main trail to Double O Arch. This adds a lot of time.
  • On your way back you can add the easy spur trail to Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches.  This adds .5mi/20min to your hike
If you hike the entire loop it is 7.8 mi and takes 3-4 hours.  We hiked in and out to Double O with all the spurs skipping the return via Primitive Trail because it turned cold, rainy/snowy and very windy. We probably saved about an hour of hiking that way. 

The trails in Devil's Garden have minimal markings.* 

Arches National Park*

From the parking are for Devil's Garden backtrack on Main Park Road....
Drive to Skyline Arch (allow 5 min)
Drive to Sand Dune Arch (allow 30 min)
We skipped Broken Arch (allow 1 hour) 
Turn into the Windows Section off of Main Park Road
Visit the Garden of Eden for a panorama of 3 arches (allow 15 min)
Continue to the end of the Windows Section to view and hike to multiple arches from the same lot (allow1 hr)
  • This is where the magic is in case you were wondering.
From inside Double Arch*

Double Arch, My Favorite*

Snap a photo of Balanced Rock as you return to the Main Park Road

HIKE 2 Park Ave Trailhead (2 mi/30 min)

Exit Arches National Park

Dead Horse State Park

Turn Right and make your way to Dead Horse State Park ($20) for Grand Canyon-like views. You can stop at pull offs or build your own hike. In the morning hike the west rim in the afternoon and early evening hike the east rim - this will provide you with glowing light on your view and you won't be fighting looking into the sun. 
  • A perfect short hike is from Dead Horse Point to Meander Overlook and back.  
  • If you want to hike the whole rim start at Dead Horse Point and go either way and this gives you a break at the visitor center about 1/2 way on your hike. 


Arches National Park $Fee

Dead Horse State Park $20

DINNER in Moab. There are a lot of options for Dinner in Moab compared to the previous locations.  We ate at Sultan Mediterranean Grill and thought the food was excellent. 

HOTEL There are a lot more options here for hotels as well.  We earn points at Holiday Inn Express so we stayed there.  It was average. I am not a fan of their breakfasts but oh well. 

Most of the locations on this trip are also International Dark Sky Parks: Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Dead Horse Point State Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, and Zion NP.  My trip also coincided with a full moon so I had to time photography before the moon came up. 

*I packed light.  My Canon 24-105L lens stopped communicating with my Canon 5D Mark IV so most of 
my photos were taken with a Sony Point and Shoot.  I was soooo disappointed. 
But lesson learned. 
Never pack light! 

Click any link to go directly to that day:

No comments: