Arches National Park is iconic, with all of the insane natural sights in Utah – Delicate Arch takes the license plate. Leaving the streets of Moab behind and climbing into the mountains, it won’t be long until alien monuments and the lovely La Sal mountains creep into view.
Drive slow by balanced rock, guess how long that weight will stay poised on its thin column.
Stop at Windows Arches to take a warm up hike. In just a short one mile trail there is so much wonder to see. The hike is really more of a walk, very little elevation gain here. You may spot Turret Arch first, be sure to take a detour to view this uniquely sculpted arch.
Continue on to view Windows, quite a spectacle.
Get up close and marvel at the shape which looks much like an eye, the window to a soul.
Look beyond the arch for a slew of plateaus in all shades of blue.
Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, we saw both predator and prey on this short trail.
At the same trailhead across the street you should take the time to check out Double Arch as well. From the distance across the street what I thought was Double Arch didn’t seem too different from Windows. I almost passed up walking the short .5 route down to check it out.
That would have been a blunder, because my take on Double Arch was incorrect. Upon closer scrutiny I realized it wasn’t the two arches next to one another that was the draw here, but just the single arch on the left which was so peculiarly divided.
Don’t pass this signature arch up, it also happens to be the tallest arch in the park! Next hike down the road, driving slow taking in the views,
was the quintessential Arches hike, the road to Delicate Arch. Those who wanted to view the arch from the look out were out of luck this day as recent flooding made the road impassable. The only way to see the arch on the day we visited was by hiking. The trail is three miles round trip and moderately strenuous. We crossed over some murky water, passed some grassy hills, and made it to the strangely smooth pink rocks we would be climbing over.
Follow the rock cairns (piles of rocks) to find your way. Keep chugging uphill, on narrow passage ways, over rocky valleys, and when you pass this thick little arch you’re almost there.
We burst out onto the amphitheater breathing heavy from exertion or maybe excitement and got our first glimpse of Delicate Arch.
We were so lucky to have come on a gorgeous November day, quiet, early, and had a lot of time with the arch on our own. I can imagine the crowds to get a good picture during peak season, oof! There are so many different ideas and angles to shoot this arch: have someone grab one of your under the arch, get a close up of you and the arch from the rim of the amphitheater, make the arch as narrow or wide as you can, or lay on your back and get a picture of how delicate and thin the arch really is against the huge sky.
The possibilities are fun and endless, take your time enjoying this icon – you’ve earned it. Head back out the way you came, exploring every nook and cranny on the trail.
Feeling inspired we continued on, ready for more arches, could they really be any different? Devils Garden is where the road ends and you must take to the trails to see what’s ahead.
It’s an easy and lovely hike to get to Landscape Arch, 1.6 miles roundtrip on a well maintained trail. When you get there you can understand why you aren’t allowed to stand under the arch, it is so thin!
This is one of the longest natural stone spans in the world. Guarding the arch was a funny little raven who we stopped to observe.
This particular one was worth noting, it made the most peculiar noises click clacking as if mimicking like horse hooves, and completely comfortable with our presence. What an interesting behavior. You could turn back down and have had a wonderful hike, but we decided to continue on to Double O Arch. The trail becomes less obvious here and more strenuous. Start by scaling up a smooth slender slab of rock.
Hopefully you have good boots on, this day after heavy rains ours kept getting coated with wet sand killing any semblance traction. The going was a bit slower due to this. The views are incredible when you get above it all.
Keep trekking and Double O will appear to you.
What an awesome, weird, amazing arch. The funky striations, the varying sizes, admire it – but beware! Quite recently a huge hunk of this arch fell, so stand under it at your own risk. On the way back maybe you’ll be a bit more observant, noticing strange features you somehow missed on the way to the arch.
When you hit the road,
stop off at any spot which pulls you as you leave.
Everything looks new and different when you change directions, this is certainly a majestic road to travel. Arches is a one of a kind land you could spend a lifetime exploring. These are just a few of the must see sights in the park, if you only have one day to spend.
The town of Moab has no shortage of tasty food options while visiting Arches and Canyonlands:
Grab an early breakfast at Love Muffin Café
Take a picnic lunch from Sweet Cravings Bakery + Bistro
Have dinner at Milt’s Stop & Eat