Spotlight: Arches National Park
Discover Arches National Park, truly a landscape like no other
Ancient and giant rock formations that—to the naked eye—seem to defy the simplest laws of gravity just never do get old. “Impressive” barely describes what’s in store for those embarking on a visit to the red rock wonderland known as Arches National Park.
Arches National Park is located in southeast Utah, just 5 miles north of Moab. Fly into Grand Junction, Moab or Salt Lake City, or take a southwest road trip through the deserts and canyons of the Grand Circle.
What You’ll Find
More than 2,000 natural sandstone arches (the highest concentration of natural stone arches in the world), dramatic views of contrasting colors, textures and formations, and nearly 20 miles of trails that wind through beautiful red rock landscape.
Devil’s Garden Campground is located within the heart of the park at an elevation of 5,200 feet. It's situated among arches, ‘fins’ (thin rock walls between canyons that look like fish fins), and juniper and pine forests.
Moab is only 5 miles away and you’ll find tons of opportunities for dining, culture, recreation and lodging.
Make Sure You
Get out of the car and take a walk or hike. You can tour the park by car in about a day, but you’re better off taking your time over a couple days to see everything. Remember that parking lots at trailheads and viewpoints fill up fast. Find alternative transportation when you can.
Leg stretchers include the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint or try a short walk to Delicate Arch Viewpoint.
Easy Hikes include The Windows Loop, where you’ll see the highest concentration of large arches in the park, while longer hikes include the three-mile trail to Delicate Arch or the ranger-guided Fiery Furnace hike, a moderately strenuous three-hour hike that requires the use of hands and feet to scramble up and through narrow cracks and along steep ledges above drop offs. This popular hike books up fast, but there are many other ranger-led activities from which to choose.
Look for the remnants of the Ancient Puebloans while you’re here. Although no dwellings have been found in Arches, specifically, Ancient Puebloans left lithic scatters and rock inscription panels in the area. You can see a small panel near Wolfe Ranch, not far from the parking area along the trail to Delicate Arch, and at the Courthouse Wash Panel near the Courthouse Wash Trailhead, among some others.
Take a day outside of the park and find yourself in Moab. If you're a biking enthusiast, strap on your shoes, clip into those pedals and enjoy mountain biking in canyon country. Less than 10 miles outside of the park, riders will find slick rocks, backcountry roads, technical downhills, single track and so much more—the variety of trails and scenery is spectacular. Be prepared as many trails are in remote areas—carry water, food, clothing and tools adn be ready for changing weather.
Pack your hiking shoes, a hat, lots of sun block and layers—the high desert experiences wide temperature fluctuations. Visit noaa.gov for local weather conditions.
Your Fees at Work
Eighty percent of camping and entrance fees collected at Arches fund projects that improve your visit. Check out the new wheelchair accessible sidewalks paid for with fee dollars at La Sal Mountains Viewpoint and Skyline Arch Trailhead.