A Utah Vacation to Remember
Located just outside of Moab, Utah, Arch National Park preserves over 2000 natural sandstone arches formed over thousands of years. In 1929, Arches was originally named a national monument, and in 1972, President Nixon gave Arches the national park designation that it carries today. All of the named arches within the park vary in size and scale, ranging from the size of a human to almost the length of a football field. Visitors can walk right under most of these arches, but it is illegal to climb to the top of these amazing natural forms.
The most popular time to visit Arches is in the late spring to early summer. During these months, the weather in Moab is strikingly mild with average high temperatures ranging between the 70s and 80s. In the heat of the summer, temperatures can reach well above 100 degrees.
The Most Popular Destinations In Arches
By far the most popular and famous destination in Arches National Park is Delicate Arch. This famous arch one the most well-known natural landforms in Utah and probably the entire western United States. It is pictured on Utah’s license plates and is on almost every postcard you can buy in Moab. To get to Delicate Arch, tourists will have to hike over a strenuous 1.5-mile trail over rocky and rough terrain. The total hike takes about 45 minutes each way, and the arch is not viewable until the end of the trail. Once you get to the end though, it is certainly worth the trip as Delicate Arch somehow rises up out of the solid red sandstone and beautifully frames the snow capped peaks beyond. Beware though, the trail to Delicate Arch is packed full of tourists in prime season. To get away from the crowds, you should start your hike very early in the day.
A number of other astounding arches are more easily accessible and viewable from the roads in the National Park, among them being Double Arch and the Windows. Visitors can walk right through each of these arches after a hike of only a few hundred feet from the nearest parking lot. Visitors with the time for a longer hike should definitely walk the Devil’s Garden Trail. This trail winds through many rock formations and passes by eight named arches, the most notable of which is Landscape Arch. This arch is spans almost three hundred feet across, making it the second longest natural arch in the world. Since 1991, rocks have fallen from the mass that is Landscape Arch possibly making it an endangered arch. There is a chance that this arch may cease to exist within the next century simply because of the natural forces acting against it.
Where to Get Away from the Crowds
Arches National Park is a relatively small park, making it rather difficult to truly get away from the crowds. There are, however, a few choice spots that guests with a little extra time should visit to get away from it all. As mentioned above, any visitor with the means and ability to walk should hike the Devil’s Garden trail. On the national park map, the backside of this loop trail is noted as “primative,” and therefore, does not get nearly the amount of foot traffic that the rest of the trail gets.
Although Devil’s Garden is a great way to spend your day, visitors can just not get the seclusion that the Klondike Bluffs has to offer. Located at the end of a rustic dirt road, the Klondike Bluffs has a number a good trail that brings visitors next to the massive Tower Arch. As noted, the Klondike Bluffs can be visited via a dirt road that is only open during periods of good weather.
If you cannot visit the Klondike Bluffs or do not have the time to walk the entire Devil’s Garden trail, a good way to get away from crowds is by simply visiting Arches early in the morning. Most tourists have barely eaten their breakfast, while you can be treated to wide open trails and some brilliant morning sunlight.
Where to Stay
Arches National Park is located just outside the town of Moab, which has a population of about 5,000 and has an economy very much centered on local tourism. Moab has a number of very affordable hotel options but only a select few premium accommodations.
Campgrounds are very abundant and popular in and around Moab for those who want a more rustic stay. By far the most popular campground is the Devil’s Garden Campground located in Arches National Park itself. This campground has 50 campsites that fill up every single weekend in the late spring and early summer while the weather is still very mild. If you want to book a campsite here, you will definitely need reservations. Visitors can walk through a number of nature trails right from Devil’s Garden that lead to two small arches. This campground is a great starting point for visitors who want to immerse themselves right in the middle of the beauty that is Arches National Park.
If you are unable to obtain a site within Arches, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owns and operates many other campgrounds that are tucked into the red mountains still very close to the national park. These campsites are a little more rustic than Arches’ campground and feature only pit toilets. Reservations cannot be made at most of the BLM campgrounds, but there are usually enough campsites available to tourists that this is not an issue.
Other Attractions Around Arches National Park
For tourists that visit Moab, there is much more to see than just Arches. In fact, most visits to Moab are coupled with a trip to both Arches and Canyonlands National Park, which is located just a few miles to the west of this small Utah town. Moab is also an extremely popular destination for mountain bikers who ride on the famous Slickrock Trail. Visitors who wish to ride the Slickrock trails can rent mountain bikes in town. There are also many well-traveled jeep trails that snake through the cliffs surrounding Moab.