Arches National Park
I have been wanting to go to Arches NP for a long time. It isn't convenient to get to, so it just hadn't made the list......until now.
Arches was the first Utah park we visited after starting our vacation in Wyoming (Yellowstone and Grand Tetons), spending the night in Salt Lake City, and then driving to Arches. We didn't arrive until about noon, but we got started sight seeing and hiking right away.
While we were waiting to get into the park, we were taking in all the sights and watching some interesting tourists across the street. We didn't have a camera handy (no idea how that happened), so there is no video. A fairly large group of people had climbed to the top of a large sand dune at the side of the road. Starting at the top, they began running down and quickly picked up speed until they were out of control and rolling down the hill - sometimes end over end aka head over feet. YIKES! It looked pretty painful, but everyone got up and continued running down the hill. No one went back to the top for a second run - unfortunately.
There are huge rock formations right inside the park. They are fantastic!
Our first stop was in the Big City? No, the tall sheer rocks that line the trail only remind us of tall buildings lining busy big city streets. It pretty impressive, just from the road. Can't wait to get inside.
Since this sign already has a great description, I won't try to rewrite it. I'll just share.
Many stopped to take a peek, but few actually ventured onto the trail.
Not surprising. It was extremely warm with lots of sunshine, and the initial descent into the valley was pretty steep. What goes down, must come up.
Here we go. Even though it was pretty dry, we blew through our water quickly.
We made it to the bottom. The trail was fairly well marked. We felt so small being all the way at the bottom and looking up at these enormous rocks.
We were hoping this wouldn't be the only arch we would see, but we took a picture just in case.
It seemed that with every few steps, the scenery changed.
I know it looks like we're all alone, but we did find someone to take a picture of us.
Nice water bottle holder.
We did manage to find a few blooming flowers.
Here's what she was shooting.
Lots of interesting sandstone designs.
I hope someone is leaving bread crumbs. This is no place to get lost!
I can't even imagine how that happened.
Let's zoom in.
Even though there are no arches here, this is a magnificent area.
Plenty of lizards - a little larger than in Florida - well, at least on our lanai.
A broken sandstone rock.
Hey! That looks pretty cool. Looks like Balanced Rock off in the distance.
Let's get closer.
Maybe just with the camera.
It's a long hike back, uphill, and we're out of water. Plus we have so much more to see today.
He had to add just one more rock to the stack before we headed back. This was probably a trail marker but we didn't realize it at the time. Hopefully we didn't mix anyone up. The trails were pretty obvious. Even we found our way out and back.
Our next stop was a panoramic overlook.
Moab, where we will spend the next 2 nights, and the Colorado River are just a few miles south of the park and La Sal Mountains, to the southeast, are about 20 miles from this lookout and are over 12,000 feet high. The park is already at an elevation of between 4000 and 5000 feet.
La Sal Mountains.
Looking north. I don't think this formation has a name, but it's big - staring right back at you as you gaze past in search of other more famous rocks.
Hopefully your eyes are better than mine. The print is tiny.
Slightly northwest are the Organ and Tower of Babel.
A little more to the northwest are the Three Gossips.
A closer look.
Watch where you step. You won't want to take out the few splashes of color that exist in the desert.
Almost due north about 5 miles is Balanced Rock. We definitely have to check that out.
It's Huge! Gorgeous with La Sal in the background.
It's quite larger than we expected, especially after seeing it from miles away.
I always like how people manage to do such fun and creative things with what would be ordinary pictures. Unfortunately, we are not those people. It doesn't stop us from trying.
The mountains seem closer even though we've driven north......hummmmmm
And taller, with the long lens.
It was so interesting to me that the land was so flat for quite a distance and then all of a sudden, there's a rock formation. I didn't really think about it when we were there, but I believe the valley behind the rocks and in front of the mountains is the Colorado River.
She's going up!
It's amazing how different this structure looks depending on your angle.
Now with the phone. Just to make sure we have every perspective.
I sure hope today isn't the day it rolls off its perch.
Now zoom in! What will we ever do with all these pictures??? Oh! I remember now........my husband has told our girls that they have to look at every picture we've ever taken for at least 1.5 seconds each before they can ever get their inheritance. They should start NOW!
We were baffled when we were there and I'm still baffled now looking at the pictures. How can it look so different? We only walked a few feet. Well, maybe a few hundred feet, but still, that's a very different look.
You can probably see the confusion on my face.
What? Can this be a completely different perspective of the same rock?
Better zoom in.
I believe off in the distance to our southeast are the North and South Windows and Double Arch, where we're headed next.
Better get to the next stop! There are still so many arches to see. We've taken about 2000 pictures inside Arches National Park and we haven't even seen an arch yet. OMG! I think that's only a slight exaggeration. Better get more film!!!! It's cheap these days, right?
Could it be? Could it really be?? An Arch?????
NORTH WINDOW ARCH
Wait! Wait! Wait! We're not ready for the zoom yet. Let's have a dramatic walk to the arch from the trail.
Can you tell that I do a lot my writing during the night, instead of sleeping? I would like to sleep. I just don't.
It looks so cool. I couldn't wait to get there! We did hesitate for a quick family shot.
Plus we had to pose for our newspaper contest photo.
We are headed to the North Window Arch, not to be confused with the South Window Arch. Did you know that Arches NP has over 2000 documented arches? YES! That's 2 0 0 0 with three zeros!
It may be hard to believe, but there were actually a lot of people there. We got lucky with no one on the sidewalk for a brief moment.
Abby played with some different angles.
A quick look behind, to the west, gave us a sneak peek at Turret Arch.
For the longest time, we could only see the North Window but I know there is a South Window here somewhere. The North is definitely more popular, maybe because it's a shorter walk.
Abby and I made it to the top and were waiting for a clearing of the masses for a more pleasing photograph.
We waited and waited and waited.
Well, maybe only a few minutes, and then it happened. Just like that!
It was worth the wait! There are a few people still, but I feel they enhance the image rather than take anything away from the beauty of this scene and the serenity of this location.
SOUTH WINDOW ARCH
On to find the South Window....... Hope we're not squeezing through there!
Found It! Abby likes us to be Bond Girls sometimes. I was totally oblivious to the request.
This was such a tranquil place. LOVE IT!
Abby offered to take a picture of us but we are not very photogenic so we usually just look goofy:)
Awe (deep breathe, sigh, smile) Unfortunately it's time to move on. Turrent Arch was next on the agenda.
I'm glad they placed all these arches and landmarks so close together and close to the road also:) It makes seeing more a lot easier.
It was just a short walk. Unlike the Windows, which are long and wide, Turret is tall and narrow.
That's a big rock, but this is no time for hide n seek.
Good thing for pockets. It's too hot for backpacks.
From nearly Turret Arch, you can finally see both Window Arches.
It's a climb, but a great lookout from the top.
You can really tell how large this arch is with Abby in the middle.
From inside the Turret Arch rock formation.
You can see both Windows from within inside the Arch.
This looks like a very cool book - heavy too - right along the sandy path, but we have no time to read. There's so much more to see.
About a half mile from these incredible arches, is out next adventure......
We had no idea what we were in store for, and from a distance, it sure didn't look like much.
As we got closer, it was so much more impressive! I would even say it was W O W !!!!
This is now my new favorite Arches location.
This formation is so huge!
This picture doesn't show just how steep this slope is, but Abby was slipping backwards trying to get this shot.
Taking a rest before we climb to the arch.
The Double Arch is definitely a WOW! Maybe I mentioned that earlier. It's True! I never want to leave here. Well, for now.
Since there were people in the arch, we killed time taking fun pictures.
We had such a great time here. We loved exploring this arch.
Finally, it was our turn to climb up. It was a bit challenging, mostly because we had our camera gear, phones, and water bottles to haul up with us.
They climbed up first so that I could get a picture.
It was so incredible sitting in the arch.
This is the second largest arch in the park, approximately 150 feet wide by 100 feet tall.
The view from inside the arch.
We could have stayed here all afternoon. Unfortunately others wanted an opportunity to sit in the arch too, so we carefully climbed down with the help of a few people we had met while we all hung out at this fabulous place. We passed all our gear down to them and then slid down ourselves. Thank goodness for honest, kind travelers and teamwork!
Our next stop on the agenda. We only viewed it from afar. Abby's feet and hips were not up for the long hike.
Bummer! Because it looks so cool and is a very famous arch, especially for photographers. Maybe next time......
Looking south from the Delicate Arch viewpoint.
We were hot and tired so we decided to call it a day and headed out of the park and into town.
We spent the night in a Moab Marriott, which was nice with a nice pool too. We actually spent 2 nights at this hotel. This was the only place on this entire 2 week journey that we slept over twice. I had a feeling I would love Arches, so I wanted to make sure we had enough time to take in all the sights. You could really stay for 3 or 4 days if you want to hike to every famous arch.
The town was small, but actually larger than we expected. We visited several rock stores and purchased some rocks of course. We ate at Moab Brewery, twice, because it was yummy!
She's trying to pick out which rock to take home!
GOODNIGHT MOAB......so far, we LOVE it here!
The next morning, we got up early and headed back to Arches. We scheduled a guided tour through the infamous, dangerous, exhilaratingly adventurous.......
Click the image below to check out our adventure.
After the Fiery Furnace, we headed north, deeper into Arches for some more hiking. We hadn't planned to stop here, but it looked cool from the road.
Like many of the other arches we've seen, it's magnificent!
We climbed on a lot of rocks, but couldn't reach anywhere near the arch. It was just too tall.
We had a great time anyways!
Love this one!
DEVIL'S GARDEN TRAIL
After leaving Skyline Arch, we drove to Devil's Garden. The parking lot was pretty crowded. This was definitely the busiest place we've been so far, even though you can't tell from this picture.
There are many arches along this trail but today we hoped to hike to Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. It was a very hot and sunny day, even for Floridians and we had already hiked two other areas of the park today, so we were not trying to see everything, just a few things. Where's a 4-wheeler when you need one?
It was long but very scenic. It is documented at just a mile hike to Landscape, but it certainly felt much longer - maybe the heat played a factor and the earlier hiking and minimal food. Not 2 minutes after wishing for a 4-wheeler or some faster mode of transportation, we rounded a corner to find the maintenance crew driving 4-wheelers. No chance for a ride though:(
Landscape Arch is the longest natural arch in the country spanning 290 feet or 306 feet, depending on who is measuring and where they are standing. Either way, it's quite impressive. Only Kolob Arch in Zion National Park, also in Utah, comes close at 287 feet.
Some rather large chunks of rock have fallen off of this great arch, a 60 foot piece as recently as 1991, leaving its center very slender and delicate which lead to the closing of the trail under the arch.
I think this fence is to keep us on the right trail and discourage us from walking under the delicate Landscape Arch.
It worked. We did not see anyone close to the arch.
Some speculate whether the arch will crumble and soon be nothing more than a pile of rocks or if shedding the extra weight will keep it around for many years to come. I hope it will be the latter, but either way, I'm so glad we saw it when we did.
This entire area is quite impressive to see.
We noticed a few different views walking back that we hadn't noticed while we were looking for arches.
This section of the park has more plant life than other areas we visited.
This was a very neat tucked away 'ramp'. It reminded me of a runaway truck ramp that you see along mountainous sections of the highway. We noticed it on the way out, but it had lots of people in it, so Abby said she would run up into the narrow part on our way back so that we could take a picture.
The first image is taken at ground level with a wide angle and the second image is taken with a zoom lens from a ways back on the trail and from up above. This ramp is steeper than our images show. Notice that there is no Abby.
Where is she? Well, her feet, legs, hips, back......were hurting and she was hot, so she thought it would be a good idea to run back to the meeting point and sit on the bench in the sun and wait for us. So off she went while we paced ourselves.
I've been a mother for 24 years and I still don't understand kids!
It's a Wrap. Evening was approaching and we were all tired and hot. Better head back to Moab.
This would be cool to see up close, but........as stated above.
A roadside photo will have to do for this trip.
Goodbye Amazing Arches National Park. Until Next Time........
One final image.