Day 10: Arches National Park

We had an incredible afternoon exploring Arches National Park in Moab, UT. It’s hard to think that we almost skipped this beauty all together. We would’ve driven right by, never realizing what treasure lied in the midst of all the Utah red rock. When we initially planned our trip we were going to go to Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen in Colorado, but so many people told us that we should skip one of the three in favor of hitting Moab on our way through to north Utah to Powder Mountain. We are so glad we listened! It ended up raining the days we had scheduled to do Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen, so this planned worked in our favor. Get this OC girl out of the rain!

Since we knew we were going to be driving into the park in the later afternoon, I had to get specific on my planning to ensure we made the most of our time. I used the nps.gov website and alltrails.com to help me pick the right hikes for our family. Keeping in mind it was 98 degrees and I wanted to see as many arches as possible, I tried to pick ones that we could reach by foot within 1-2 miles of the parking area. Our planning worked out perfectly, we saw several arches and managed to enjoy an incredible sunset in the park! The only thing we didn’t do, which we now regret, is hiking Landscape Arch after dark. Its said that it’s so dark you can often see the milky way!

I included a map above so that you can see how we did the park. We arrived at 3:45pm and the sunset was at 8:26pm.

We drove into the park, hit the Visitor’s Center for a map, I prefer to hold it when we’re in the car,  and grabbed junior ranger books for the kids to work on. Then we drove all the way into the park and started at Skyline Arch (above). We then drove a short ways and hiked to Sand Dune Arch (below) and Broken Arch.

From there we drove out to Delicate Arch viewpoint. We’ve heard that being up close to Delicate Arch is breath taking, but in 100 degree heat, a 3 hour moderate hike wasn’t in the cards for us. Maybe if the weather was closer to being in the 70’s. It’s still phenomenal to look at from the viewpoint, even though you are far away.

Next on the list was Balanced Rock. How incredible is this?!! It’s crazy to think that the earth is constantly shifting and erosion is happening and it could fall at any minute.

Next up was Double Arch, then the North and South Windows. This was probably one of our favorite stops of the day. The arches are so huge and you can stand up under them.

We finished our day off at Turret Arch, which is just a quarter of a mile from the North and South Windows. You don’t even have to get back in your car. This is where we enjoyed an incredible sunset over the park.

If you’re going to visit Arches National Park, this is the way to do it and make the most of your day. There is only one way in and out of the park and so many visitor tend to stop as they see things. We found that being there in the later afternoon and driving all the way in to the park and working our way back allowed us to see the arches without large crowds around us.