Today, we visited Arches. Arches National Park uses a timed entry system and you have to reserve your time slot in advance. Because we waited too late to reserve an early time, we ended up with noon on the date that we wanted to visit. You can circumvent that by showing up before seven AM, and in fact, they actually recommend that you show up even earlier to avoid the timed entry requirement.

We got up very early and arrived at the park at 6:15. AM. These first few pictures were taking around 6:30 AM, just after sunrise.

We decided to do the Delicate Arch trail early to get the most popular trail done before it got hot or busy. It actually turned out that many people had the same idea, with many people out on the trail at 7 AM.

Delicate Arch is the most well known of the parks arches (it’s on the license plate) and the only way to see it close up is to complete the 3.2 mile hike. There is also an overlook to view the Arch but you can’t get close and you still have to hike almost a mile

All together, we probably hiked 8 or 9 miles today. This is definitely a park where hiking is essential if you want to see as many arches as possible. It is certainly possible to see a few arches from the viewpoints but most require at least some walking.

Other hikes we did:

Sand Dune Arch – 0.3 miles

Sand Dune Arch at Arches National Park

Skyline Arch – 0.4 miles

Skyline Arch at Arches National Park

Landscape Arch – 1.9 miles

Landscape Arch at Arches National Park

Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch Trail – 1.0 miles, less as an offshoot of the Landscape Arch Trail

Windows Loop and Turret Arch Trail – 1.2 miles (a window and an arch are the same thing… I asked!)

Double Arch Trail – 0.6 miles

We stopped at a viewpoint for the Fiery Furnace hike. The only way to go into the Fiery Furnace is with a ranger-guided tour or with an individual hiking permit that you must buy several days in advance. We chose not to do this because it looks like a lot of rock scrambling and tight spaces.

Fiery Furnace from overlook

While we were able to see Arches in one day, if we had wanted to do Fiery Furnace or the Devil’s Garden hike (8 miles, rock scrambling, narrow ledges and other challenging terrain), you would need at least a second day. In addition to all the arches, there are also many fantastic views along the park roads.

We were not sure what to expect with Arches and were getting tired of rocks, but this was so much more than just rocks. Here I am, wiped out at the end of our day. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Arches and feel inspired to come here too!

About Author

Karen is a retired software developer, now exploring our beautiful country with her husband, Steve.

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