Arches National Park is located 4 miles north of Moab, UT. It has an area of 76,600+ acres and has the highest concentration of sandstone arches in the world (more than 2,000). The park is extremely popular, receiving over 1.5 million visitors a year. I've been to Arches many times, and the photos presented here span a period from 1992 to 2019. I've included side by side photos of the same subject from different years at several points throughout the presentation (more for my own benefit). The presentation unfolds as if you were touring the park, starting at the visitors center and continuing to the end of the park road (check out the park map).
Courthouse Towers is your first stop after entering the park. This section consists of several gigantic sandstone monoliths. There is an easy 2 mile (out and back) trail through a part of Courthouse Towers known as Park Avenue. The hike takes you through a shallow valley lined on both sides by towering sandstone formations that sort of look like skyscrapers, hence the name. There are parking lots at both ends of the trail, so if you have two vehicles available you only have to hike one mile from one to the other.
The Windows Section
The next section of the park after Courthouse Towers is the Windows Section. This section has both Entrada sandstone formations and arches.
Wolfe Ranch / Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is the most famous arch in the park. So much so that it's featured on Utah license plates. The trail to Delicate Arch begins at Wolfe Ranch, a homestead started by John Wolfe and son Fred in 1898. The Delicate Arch trail is 3 miles round trip mostly across slickrock. This is my second most favorite hike in Arches. Since Delicate Arch is such an iconic monument I've included several iconic photos.
The Fiery Furnace is a natural maze of sandstone walls, fins, arches, and slot canyons. People absolutely rave about the 2 mile hike through the Fiery Furnace. It was on my bucket list, and I finally made it in 2019. I took the ranger-led hike and even then we had to backtrack a couple of times.
Devils Garden is located at the northern end of the main park road (aka Arches Scenic Drive). Devils Garden Campground (the only park campground) is located here. You need to make reservations well in advance (weeks to months) to get a campsite. Devils Garden contains most of the easily accessible and named arches in the park. I've arbitrarily divided the arches into two groups, north and south, with the campground included in the south group (refer to the park map).
Devils Garden South - Devils Garden Campground, Skyline Arch, Broken Arch, Sand Dune Arch, and Tapestry Arch. The last 3 arches can be accessed via the Broken Arch trail (easy, take the kids).
Devils Garden North - arches and monoliths along the Devils Garden trail.
Klondike Bluffs forms the northwest boundary of Arches National Park. It's the most remote section of the park and is accessed either from Salt Valley Road north of the park or by a sand and gravel road in the park that crosses Salt Valley (I suggest 4-wheel drive). The hike to Tower Arch starting at the trailhead in the park is my favorite hike in Arches. It's about 3 miles round trip.
Background content and park map courtesy of the National Park Service.
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