Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a park that we’ve actually been to twice. Mike & I visited Arches on our honeymoon in 1991. We returned there in 2006 along with Tom and Peter. Here is Peter next to Delicate Arch. It’s a decent hike up to the arch, and it’s not one you really want to do in the heat of the day – guess when we did it.
The hike is across bare sandstone. Any patches of shade are few and far between. There’s also not much breeze. Here are Peter and Tom enjoying the slight wind as we cross a sandstone rise. But you suddenly come around a corner and there’s the arch standing by itself in a small bowl.
While Delicate Arch is one of the most famous, there are lots of other spectacular arches like Double Arch. One day we had lunch sitting way up in a shady spot under the arch.
One thing we’ve learned when we visit the parks is that you miss a lot if you just drive around and see the roadside sites. The best thing to do is meet up with a park ranger and take a guided hike off the beaten path. Some of the hikes are short and over easy terrain. But some can be more challenging, like the hike through the Fiery Furnace in Arches.
You learn a lot on one of these hikes, and the rangers always make it fun for the kids too. On this hike, our guide challenged all the kids to not walk on any sand through a certain section. For that section of the hike, the sand was considered lava so they had to hop from rock to rock and crawl through narrow spots.
If you visit Arches, you’re going to want to look up Edward Abbey. He worked the park in the 50s before most of it was accessible, and before it was made a National Park. You might have been able to get to see this formation – the three gossips. While there is a campground in Arches, it doesn’t have a lodge like many of the larger parks. So if you’re not camping, you’ll probably end up staying in Moab. While you’re there, be sure to stop into Back of Beyond Books, where you can pick up one of Abbey’s books like Desert Solitaire or The Monkey Wrench Gang to read while you’re there.