Are you headed to Arches National Park Utah? Are you interested in info on the best things to do there? Then read on, as we present 11 amazing things to do in Arches National Park.
1. The Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is one of the most famous arches in the world (that isn’t golden). It certainly is the most popular arch when it comes to hiking destinations in this park. This is a three-mile return hike.
The hike is difficult enough to require at least two and a half hours. Visit Wolfe Ranch at the start of the hike. You can also stop to rest at the drop off prior to reaching Delicate Arch.
If you visit in April you will also be able to take in a contrasting view of the Utah desert and the snow-capped majestic La Sal Mountains in the background. Sunset and sunrise are the best time of the day to see it. Additionally, you reportedly have a better chance of avoiding crowds at sunrise.
2. The Delicate Arch Viewpoint
If you would rather not do the hiking, this is a great option. Around the corner from the official trailhead, there is a great viewpoint. In fact, there’s an upper and lower viewpoint.
The lower viewpoint is unique but if you choose to hike to the Delicate Arch don’t bother going there as it is comparatively speaking not all that exciting. The upper viewpoint is only half a mile away but it’s a climb up a rocky route. Veteran visitors insist if you can do the actual hike to the Delicate Arch then that should be your priority.
3. The Landscape Arch
The Landscape Arch is actually the start of a more challenging nearly eight-mile hike known as the Devil’s Garden Trail. Those in the know suggest not attempting it with children. The Landscape Arch hike is a 1.6-mile return hike.
It’s an easy hike. You can do it in an hour. While there is some uphill hiking it is not difficult.
Plus, you get the chance to look at more arches on the way. There are also short side trails here. They lead to Pine Tree Arch, Tunnel Arch, and Double O Arch. Additionally, there are other nearby side trails that lead to the Partition and Navajo Arches.
4. The Windows and Turret Arch
You will be able to see three arches in one hike. Better yet, this hike is an easy one-mile round trip hike. It should only take you roughly 45 minutes.
You can see both the North and South Window and then continue on to see the Turret Arch. Be sure to stop, turn and look behind you at the North and South Window
Too. It is then that you will be able to get a good look at the Mask.
5. The Sand Dune Arch
If you are visiting the park and looking for a hike that would be good with kids then look no further. Veteran visitors say this is one of the best hikes to take. This is an easy 0.3-mile return hike.
Within 20 minutes you will reach the Sand Dune Arch. Furthermore, this particular trail takes you between some narrow walls of sedimentary rock. It also has a huge sandy floor also known as “the sandpit” for your kids.
The kids can leap from the small edges of the pit and play in the sand. Not too far from this sandpit, you will be able to spot the sand dunes ensconced in the fins. It actually sheds a lot of light on exactly how the arches here are created in the center of the fins.
(While your more energetic kids play, you can catch your breath there.) On the other hand, if you are more energetic, there is another option. There is another trail that breaks off from the Sand Dune Arch.
This 1.3-mile return trail will lead you to Broken Arch. It is reported to be an easy hike that will take you across flat, open grassland. In fact, these two arches are so close you can actually see Broken Arch from the entrance to the Sand Dune Arch.
6. The Double Arch
The Double Arch is the park’s tallest arch. It is located across from the Windows and Turret Arch. This half-mile return hike is an easy one.
If you have kids this is another especially family-friendly hike. It should take you about 20 minutes to complete the hike. This is also a great trek because you get the opportunity to see four different arches within a short period of time.
In fact, those who have been, confirm that you can even see one from the parking lot itself. This is especially good for families with younger children because they can actually have a visual goal. (In fact, a visual goal is nice for adults too!) The kids can even climb on the rocks under the arch when you get there.
7. The Skyline Arch
The impressive Skyline Arch is situated between Landscape Arch and Sand Dune Arch on the well-known Devils’ Garden Drive. You can easily see it from the road if you’re driving and have a tight schedule. However, if you don’t have a tight schedule you should stop and check it out.
This is an easy 0.4-mile return hike. Hiking over the rocks will only take 20 minutes of your time. More importantly, you’ll be able to get a significantly closer view of this arch.
8. Balanced Rock
The trail around the Balanced Rock perimeter is one of the shortest in the entire park. Thus, it is an easy 0.3-mile return hike that you should be able to complete in 20 minutes or less. It will also provide you with a beautiful view of the previously-mentioned Windows Arch.
9. The Fiery Furnace Hike
Are you tired of easy trails? Arches National Park offers adventure as well. There are some trail markings here but it is still listed as a strenuous, difficult two-mile hike. Indeed, those who have been, say it is still quite possible to get lost and solo hikers are strongly discouraged.
Nevertheless, for more adventurous, experienced hikers this is one of the top ten activities offered here in Moab . You will need agility to explore the narrow, labyrinthine sandstone canyons of Fiery Furnace. You also must get a day-use permit at the park’s visitor center or sign on to a ranger-led hike to go into the famous Fiery Furnace.
The hike is thus named because of the unique sunset scarlet glow. You can see this glow from the overlook viewpoint if you are unable to go on a guided hike. If you do plan on attempting it then be sure to register early as the hike does get booked well in advance.
10. Scenic Drive Viewpoints
Some of this park is also easy to see via the popular 19-mile Arches Scenic Drive. This drive begins at the park’s entrance at Highway 191 and continues to the official Devils Garden trailhead. If you choose this option, be sure to schedule some time to stop at the numerous trailheads and viewpoints you find on the way.
Keep in mind that parking is limited at every stop. Such popular trailheads as Devils Garden and Delicate Arch can be filled for hours, especially on holidays and weekends. Veteran visitors suggest you plan on stopping at such places as Courthouse Towers Viewpoint, Panorama Point and Petrified Dunes Viewpoint.
Photographers should also pull over somewhere safe and get a good shot of the impressive snow-capped La Sal Mountains. There is a popular place named LA Sal Mountains Viewpoint that will provide shutterbugs with a 360-degree view of the mountain and the park. If it’s busy though don’t stress because there are several other spots during the initial portion of the drive where the careful observer will discover similar views.
11. The Junior Ranger Program
If you are visiting any national park and have kids, this is simply a must-do activity. Upon arrival, stop in at the Arches National Park Visitor Center. Request a Junior Ranger Program book for your child.
This is said to be one of the best activities you can do with your kids here. This activity engages your children during the visit but they learn from experience. The Arches National Park Junior Ranger program book includes activities specific to this park.
Simply complete the various age-appropriate required activities during your visit. (For example, children are instructed to form specific arch shapes using their bodies while others guess which arch they are portraying.) Before you leave, return to the visitor center. Your kids recite the pro-environment pledge and are presented with an official Junior Ranger badge. As a former educator, your roving writer can confirm that this program is especially engaging to kinesthetic learners.
12. Extra Activity
If you’re looking for yet another activity, take the Park Avenue trek. It will take you to such large rock formations as Courthouse Towers and the Three Gossips.