The Grand Circle - Arches National Park
Our next stop on the Grand Circle Road trip: Moab, Utah
The main attraction: Arches National Park
Arches National Park is situated on the Colorado River in Southeastern Utah. It is best known for it's 2000+ natural sandstone arches and provides ample opportunities for all who crave exploration.
It is best to spend 2-3 days in order to fully experience Arches National Park. However, one full day will give you enough time to explore the main points of interest around the park.
One of the highlights of our day was the 3 mile hike to Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is claimed to be one of the most beautiful Arches within the entire world and is the unofficial symbol of Utah. The hike is an easy, out and back trip, only gaining 500 ft in elevation. After 1.5 miles, hikers arrive at the 80 foot Arch and are to witness it's magnitude and awe-inspiring beauty.
To get to Delicate Arch, take the Wolf Ranch turn-off, about 10 miles after entering Arches National Park. After turning right, drive another 1.2 miles to the Delicate Arch parking lot. Since this hike is the most popular within the park, plan to hike early (around 9 a.m.) in order to find a spot in the lot. Overflow parking is unavailable. Check out http://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/traffic.htm for more information.
After Delicate Arch, head to Devil's Garden for the 7 mile primitive loop. For those with more limited time, this hike includes an easy 30-45 minute walk, out and back to Landscape Arch. After reaching Landscape Arch, the route becomes moderate and continues for about 6 additional miles.
Arches National Park provides a variety of hiking trails ranging in length and difficulty. This makes for a great experience for beginning hikers and families with small children. In addition to hiking, there are various outdoor activities such as horseback riding, Canyoneering, biking, and Rock climbing opportunities available.
Other must-see's within the park include the following:
- Balanced Rock: 0.3 mile walk from parking lot
- Double Arch: 0.5 mile loop from the parking lot
- Sand Dune Arch: 0.4 mile walk from the parking lot
- The Windows: 1 mile loop from the parking lot
- Park Avenue: 2 mile round trip hike
- Double O Arch: 4 mile round trip hike