Monday, May 27, 2019

Arches National Park

Gopher Flats
May, 2019
Moab, UT

In 1929, when President Hoover signed the proclamation to establish Arches National Monument, the park only included the Windows and Devils Garden sections...4,520 acres.  

Since that time, the parks boundaries have expanded several times to a whopping 76,679 acres.  Although Arches has been under construction for millions of years Congress changed the status to a National Park in 1971.   

I will never forget our first drive through Arches back in May 2013...a jaw dropper for sure !  I still have the same excitement today. 

With Arches practically in our backyard and being here for the amount of time we are, visiting this red-rock wonderland is often on the list of things "to-do" from week to week.

Whether it's just a drive or enjoying a hike, it's a beautiful destination.  We have already spent several mornings taking in the colors, shapes, and forms that excite the "aesthetic" senses.      

With over 2,000 natural arches, soaring spires, and massive fins, Arches makes for a beautiful drive and fun hiking.  Did you know that Arches has "the world's largest concentration of natural arches in the world"? 

Double Arch is "close-set pair" of natural arches.  In fact, the arch in front has the tallest opening of any arch in the park...112 feet...and it's the second longest arch in the park. It is a short walk from the parking area to see Double Arch up close.

Delicate Arch is the most famous arch in the park (and maybe the world).  

It's a 3 mile round trip hike to see the arch...a hike Joe and I have enjoyed at least once (sometimes more) every year that we have been in Moab. Yep, we like it !  

I don't always walk down to the arch, but this day I felt very confident and brave.

The key to us enjoying our hike to Delicate Arch is getting an early start.  We are on trail by 7:00 am making this our all time favorite breakfast spot !

While Delicate Arch is the most famous arch, our favorite hiking in Arches is the Devils Garden section. 

The trail begins as an easy wide  gravel path with a side trail to Tunnel Arch and Pine Arch (which we have done several times, but not this day).  

At just under a mile, the path winds its way to Landscape Arch. Landscape Arch is the longest arch in the park...even the Western Hemisphere.  The Natural Arch and Bridge Society now considers it to be the fifth longest arch in the world having measured the span a 290.1 feet.

After admiring Landscape Arch, the fun begins !  The trail becomes difficult as it climbs steeply up and on the sandstone fins.

Shoes with good grip are a must as the footing is rocky with narrow ledges and steep drop-offs...a combination that really gets the heart pumping !  From this point to Double O Arch it is about 2.5 miles.

This time of year, the trail that winds its way to Double O Arch is very colorful.

 Double O Arch is the second largest arch in the NP.  The top arch has a span of 71 feet stacked on top of a smaller arch with a 21 foot span.  Both are part of the same sandstone fin. 

After our breakfast snack, we took two side trails as we made our way back to Landscape Arch.  First to Partition Arch.

Partition Arch is often overlooked as it is not as famous or big as other arches.   The views through this arch are spectacular and its low profile allows for an up close look.  

The second side trail we took was to Navajo Arch.  
Navajo Arch is one of our favorite little arches along the Devils Garden Trail.  It is more like a mini tunnel than an arch as the ground cuts right thru it.  

The entrance to the arch... 

opens up to a nice little retreat with lots of shade and much cooler air. 

Both these side trails add about a mile to the overall distance.  If time or energy isn't an issue, the side trek to see both these arches is worthwhile.  

This catches us up on our adventures in Arches.  We LOVE our backyard !  So until next time...



  1. Like most we've been to Arches a few times, but never to Partition nor Navajo Arch. We have to rectify that! The view thru is spectacular, a better version of Canyonlands Mesa Arch. Any secrets forthcoming for Canyonlands?

  2. Gorgeous photos! We do have beautiful backyards, don't we!

  3. Thanks for taking us back there for a another visit, we enjoyed a lot of the arches a few years ago and hope someday to maybe go back again, What an amazing place to explore.

  4. Wow! We have not yet made it to Arches, but it is high on our list and this post pushes it even higher. So many of these photos almost look like paintings. What a beautiful landscape! And while, whenever we get there, we will certainly go see the must-sees (Delicate Arch, etc), it's good to know about these lesser known trails too. Thanks for the great insider information!

  5. Arches never gets old even after tons of visits. We love Devil's Garden, as well. On our first visit to the Delicate Arch I wanted a photo of me under the arch. I had to ask a guy talking on his phone to move. I mean, seriously, you are in one of the most beautiful places and you are pacing back and forth right under the arch talking business. Our first trip through the park was about 15 years ago on a motorcycle trip. You can imagine our reaction with that open view and our first visit to Utah! Thanks for sharing this beautiful place.

  6. That's a trail? You lost me at steep dropoffs, but so glad you took wonderful pics so I could enjoy it. Navajo Arch is stunning!!

  7. Beautiful captures Gay, and thanks for taking me back. We too love Arches! If you have not done so, try to join a ranger guided hike at Fiery Furnace. It is not that difficult and its amazing to be within those humungous rock fins!
    This is MonaLiza, Im unable to comment as Lowes Travels :(

  8. Really nice pictures:) One of the places that we still need to visit.