Three Best Hikes At Arches National Park
Arches National Park is one of our favorite parks in the west. The landscape is unreal and the hiking is some of the best, if you know the trails and how to beat the crowds. Read below to learn about THREE MUST HIKE spots at this epic park!
One of the best things about Arches National Park is that most of the arches and landscape features are highly accessible by car. Which also means, lots of crowds. To escape the tourist aspect of this awesome park, it's a great idea to get out on the trails and hike to some of these amazing spots! You will not only have a more peaceful experience, and you can capture some epic photos without any people in them!
Here are our three favorites hikes at Arches National Park:
1. Devil's Garden Primitive Loop Trail
The Devil’s Garden trail at the north end of the park is an excellent option for some peace and quiet. We saw a total of 6 people on the 7.2 mile hike and most were in the first mile to the popular Landscape Arch. If you continue on past the crowd, you will find yourself delightfully deserted and for good reason!
The trail is a bit of a challenge with steep slickrock and a bit of scrambling with greater height exposure, but well worth the effort! This part of the park has the highest concentration of arches including the the Double O, Navajo, Private and Partition arches.
As you loop back to your starting point, there is a great view of the Fiery Furnace section of the park. This unique landscape has no trails and is comprised of many tall, narrow fins of sandstone closely grouped together, making it very difficult to navigate. It is restricted to leave any trail markers or cairns to find your way, so its best accessed with a ranger guide who knows the maze-like trails. We really wanted to see the Fiery Furnace, but the tours book up months in advance, even in the off-season, so we couldn’t get a spot.
It is a long but incredible hike in the hot sun, so make sure you bring enough snacks, water and sun protection to get you through! I recommend doing this hike early in the morning or later in the afternoon, but give yourself at least 4 hours to complete the hike.
2. Delicate Arch
You probably recognize this arch from National Geographic. Delicate Arch is the park’s most iconic and photographed feature, making it a crowded hike. However, if you go first thing in the morning to watch the sun rise over the landscape, you will beat the crowds and capture the best lighting!
The hike starts off at Wolfe Ranch, an historical homestead of the Wolfe family during the turn of the 20th century. Its a cool feature that showcases how rough life must have been in this part of the country, so don't pass it up on your way to the arch. Just a bit past the ranch are some pretty cool 6000 year old petroglyphs from the Fremont natives.
This trail to Delicate Arch is about 1.5 miles (3 miles there and back) across steep slickrock with some heights exposure.
FUN FACT: In the early days of mapping the park, Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch names were reversed and mislabeled. No one ever changed them back. It definitely makes sense when you look at the two: Landscape Arch looks much more delicate and Delicate Arch commands the Landscape.
3. The Windows Primitive Trail
This is a very popular feature in the park, but you can beat the crowds by taking the narrow 1 mile trail on the backside of the South Window Arch early in the morning. Its a cool perspective because you can see the 'Spectacles'- a view where the two windows look like eyes cut out in the mountain. Its a great way to start off your day or add a little hiking to your scenic drive.
Have you seen Arches National Park? What are your favorite hikes?