Arches National Park is one of America’s scenic wonders, sitting on over 76,000 acres of high desert landscape in a wonderland of prehistoric sandstone formations and arches. The story of arches begins around 65 million years ago when Southeastern Utah was a dry seabed spanning many miles. As the Earth’s natural forces shaped the landscape, wind, water, and erosion created the majestic rock formations that stand tall in the park today.
Located just north of Moab, Utah, Arches is bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast and is known for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. In addition to the arches, the park also has hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive rock fins, and giant balanced rocks. When you step into the red-rock wonderland, it is like taking a journey back in time to a prehistoric land filled with Jurassic-era creations. With towering rock formations, a canvas of orange and red rocks, and awe-inspiring sites set against the backdrop of Utah’s blue skies, a visit to Arches National Park is an experience like no other.
While there are many things to love about Utah, Arches National Park always ranks high on the list of favorite places. If you are interested in visiting this one-of-a-kind national park, you will not lack things to see and do. From hiking and sightseeing to camping or taking in a sunset, there are plenty of things to do and enjoy at Arches. Let’s take a closer look at some things you should consider doing on your visit to Arches National Park.
1. Hiking and Backpacking
If you are planning a trip to Arches National Park, hiking needs to be at the top of your list of things to do. No matter if you want to take a 15-minute stroll or set out on a day hike, Arches is a great place to explore. Many of the park’s trails lead to a viewpoint overlooking one of the famous red rock landmarks and vistas. The Delicate Arch trail and Fiery Furnace trail are two of the most popular; however, there are numerous paths to discover. If you want an unforgettable experience, you can arrive at the park before sunrise or sunset and take a hike to see the rays of a light cascade overdramatic horizons to illuminate the high desert on the Colorado Plateau.
There is no other experience like sleeping under the Utah sky covered in a blanket of stars. The park has a dedicated camping area at Devils Garden Campground. The campground is located 18 miles into the park and offers an intimate connection with the geography of Arches, as well as close proximity to hiking, sightseeing, rock climbing, and amazing photo opportunities. The park can accommodate a few RVs; however, many people prefer to set up a tent and immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring landscape. There aren’t any showers or RV dump stations at the campground, so you will want to be prepared for that.
3. Scenic Drive
Unlike some other national parks, Arches offers you more bang for your sightseeing buck from the comforts of your own vehicle. You can spend a couple of hours or the better part of your day traversing the 18-mile road running through Arches National Park. Along the way, you can find more than 1,500 recognized natural arches ranging in all shapes and sizes. With several spots to stop and take pictures or get out for a short walk, you can enjoy a good portion of the park from this scenic drive.
If you are planning a trip to Arches National Park, you are in for an experience of a lifetime. Aside from the activities mentioned, you might also look into booking an adventure with a company like Moab Adventure Center, where you can go horseback riding, rafting, rock climbing, or even explore the park from a hot air balloon.