Arches National Park has been on my bucket list for a LONG time and I finally checked it off! I took Thursday and Friday off the week my mom visited (my first official day(s) off!) and we drove the 6 hours to Moab, Utah.
Arches National Park simply doesn’t seem real. The whole time I was convinced it was green screen and some type of elaborate prank on mankind. Breathtaking.
In this post, I will be sharing what we accomplished in the 1 and 1/2 days we spent there and what I think you should prioritize if you get to go.
We arrived in Moab early afternoon on Thursday and dove right in. Well, actually there was a slight speed bump. Upon arriving in Moab you will see signs advertising a radio station that you can tune into for park information. I flipped it over to that station and the first thing that was said was “Dogs are permitted in the park in parking lots and picnic areas. Dogs are not allowed on any trailheads in the Arches National Park.” Boy, did that put a damper on my mood. I did NOT drive 6 hours and take two days off work to board her in some strange kennel I knew nothing about. …So, we just hiked with her anyways🤷 I understand that I could have done a quick google search and learned this information, I also understand that the park is probably concerned with dog poop being left behind and dogs chewing on rare plants and things. However, we picked up any ‘deposits’ Zuzu made and actually she was so exhausted after the first day she spent the rest of her time riding in style in my macgyvered bookbag. (Quick life hack: if you have a tired dog that is backpack size you can use zip ties to keep the zippers from unzipping so your dog doesn’t fall out!) I believe in following the rules…to an extent. So, I was pretty anxious every hike. However, we never had any complaints and we didn’t run into any park rangers. We only had one person say anything about the ‘no dog rule’ and they were just warning us to watch out for rangers. In the future, I will definitely do more research on dogs and national parks because I certainly don’t enjoy blatantly ignoring rules.
Garden of Eden
Anyways, to continue, on day one we first went to the Garden of Eden. This site was honestly one of my favorites of the trip. I don’t think this is a popular opinion because it in no way measures up to the beauty of the Delicate Arch or the whimsy of the Landscape Arch but it was such a fun place to spend time exploring. I climbed all over that place (often carrying Zuzu). I love to climb and if you do too or if you have kids that love to climb this is a great place to begin. It’s closer to the beginning of the park and you can see some other cool sites that are close by too. Like Balanced Rock, the Double Arch, the Window Arches, and the Turret Arches. These were all very cool to go see and the walks out to them were very short.
Devils Garden (Landscape Arch)
I am still heartbroken I didn’t get to hike the full length of the Devil’s Garden trail. I only got to go to the Landscape Arch. That, however, was absolutely amazing. This is the arch I had been wanting to see since I was about 12. Not sure why, but this arch always amazed me. It did not disappoint and I highly recommend you go see it while it is still intact. A large chunk of the arch collapsed in 1991 and there was continued rockfall throughout the ’90s. Since then it has been relatively stable. However, you never know when it could be gone. In my humble opinion, this arch and the Delicate Arch should exchange names, but no one asked me.
If you were to continue on the trail after the Landscape arch the trail basically goes straight up a rock on what the park describes as “winding along the narrow tops of exposed sandstone fins, then up and down short, steep crevices”…I was ALL IN. However, we were short on time and to do the entire hike was around 7 miles. So we missed out on several arches like the Double O, Dark Angel, and Private Arch. But, before you get to the Landscape you can stop and see the Tunnel and Pine Tree Arch. The Pine Tree Arch was another favorite.
This hike will take you some time. Unless you are some super athlete. While it is a shortish hike in length, you are hiking straight up a solid rock mountain. We felt near dead by the end but this hike was one of the most beautiful and unique hikes I have ever been on. We wound up getting to the top right at sunset and it was INCREDIBLE. WOW. Part of our hike down was in the dark which I don’t recommend but luckily we had company and headlamps. This arch is an absolute must. It will be crowded and you may have to stop and catch your breath every 5 minutes but keep pushing to the top. The landscape and views were surreal and nothing like I had ever seen before. I hope I get to go back someday.
An additional note is that there are no railings or fences or anything to keep you from falling off the side of this cliff, mountain, rock thing. So be careful if you choose to go on this hike!
Those are my top three things to see/do in Arches national park. Please know that we, of course, wanted to do more and knew that there are thousands of other things to do at this park. We just ran out of time! If you have the opportunity to spend more time in the park, utilize the park’s website to plan your trip so you can make the most out of it! It is truly an awe-inspiring place.
Here are some more pictures from my trip:
Also, if you are looking for a unique and less expensive place to stay in Moab check out Moab Under Canvas! It was a little ‘glamping’ community pretty close to the park that was cheaper than most of the hotels in the area. If you understand what you are signing up for (sleeping in a tent, shared bathrooms, etc) it was an amazing experience! I slept really good too.
That’s all for this post; thanks for reading!