Arches National Park, UT

Date: 6/24/12

Miles: 6.5 total, with driving in between

Location: Google Maps

Trip Report:

Arches National Park Map
Arches National Park Map

Arches NP is a unique park in that all of the points of interest are quite far apart and there aren't too many hiking trails. We decided to do a car tour with minor hiking, and it was nice to be a tourist and just get out of the car to take pictures, since it was so hot. Even though the park is a little out of the way, it is worth the trip to see some rock arches.

We camped at the Bureau of Land Management Deer Creek Campground (6 miles East of Boulder on the Burr Trail) right by the river, and it was a very secluded and small campground that we both enjoyed. There are only 7 campsites, and we chose it because it was cheap and still had a bathroom.

Deer Creek Campground
Deer Creek Campground
Our camp spot from a rock ledge we climbed up
Our camp spot from a rock ledge we climbed up

Even though we woke up early, the drive to Arches was almost 4 hours. We happened to pick up a brochure of the Scenic Byway 12, and we decided to take it. The views were one of a kind, and the part along the Hogsback was incredible and exhilarating! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it, it's a nice change of scenery driving through Utah. We also jumped out of the car to snap a picture of Capitol Reef NP when we drove through it.

At part of the Scenic Byway 12
At part of the Scenic Byway 12

so we got there around noon. The first view we got was the incredible Park Ave.

Park Ave
Park Ave

Along the main road of the park we saw The Organ, Tower of Babel, and some other rocks labeled on the map that we weren't sure which they were referring to. Balanced Rock was second:

Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock

We then turned right to head to Turret Arch, passing Ham Rock (pretty funny looking) and Parade of Elephants. We decided to get out and do the short 1 mile hike around the Windows and Turret Arch. It is an easy hike, and we did it in flip flops because it was so hot.

Turret Arch
Turret Arch
A view of Clark at Turret Arch with more arches in the background
A view of Clark at Turret Arch with more arches in the background
Blue Eyed Judy
Blue Eyed Judy
So you get an idea of how big some of these arches are!
So you get an idea of how big some of these arches are!

We got back in the car and headed to Landscape Arch, the one on the cover of the visitor guide and the one Clark most wanted to see. We parked at Devil's Garden TH parking area. The entire 7.2 mile RT hike would take you past 8 arches. We did the hike just to see Landscape Arch, and Clark was slightly disappointed we couldn't get closer to it.

Clark in front of Landscape Arch
Clark in front of Landscape Arch
Tunnel Arch
Tunnel Arch

After this hike the sun was starting to set, so we hurried to our last destination - the famous Delicate Arch.

Interesting looking rock formations
Interesting looking rock formations

We parked at the Wolfe Ranch parking lot and practically ran up the slickrock, hoping to catch the sunset from the Arch. The trail was 1.5 miles one way (480' change in elevation) following rock cairns the whole way. We caught the sunset on the way up and snapped a picture from the side of the mountain before continuing on.

Beautiful sunset from the hike up to Delicate Arch
Beautiful sunset from the hike up to Delicate Arch

The hike up is slightly confusing since it doesn't seem like an arch would be all the way up here, but after you come around a corner, you suddenly see it. There was a 200 yard section on a slight rock ledge towards the end as well. There were lots of people watching the sunset from the surrounding amphitheater, and there was even a small line to take a picture under the arch.

The famous delicate arch
The famous delicate arch
Clark and me under Delicate Arch
Clark and me under Delicate Arch

After the color faded from the sky, we hiked back down using our headlamps. Arches was a fun day excursion to be a tourist and snap pictures without doing any heavy hiking.

Other useful sites:

Les Barstow

Hikespeak - Landscape Arch

Summitpost  - Landscape Arch

Hikespeak - Delicate Arch

Everytrail - Delicate Arch

Scenic Byway 12