November 25 – 26, 2014: From Moab, we made our way into Arches National Park after dark and found a campsite in Devils Garden Campground which is at the end of the scenic drive through the park.
We figured we would do the scenic drive in reverse (north to south) to exit the park tomorrow. The night skies were almost as beautiful as they were in Bryce Canyon National Park and were we looking forward to seeing the rest of the park and landscapes in daylight.
When we woke, I felt that the park looked like a mix between Joshua Tree National Park (because of the big boulders) and Bryce Canyon National Park (because of the rock coloring). Our exploration began with the Devils Garden trailhead where we hiked to see Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. This was our first taste of the arches and we agreed they were impressive! On the same hike we saw Landscape Arch – stated by some to be the largest arch in the world (wiki claims it to be the second largest). In 1991 some of the arch collapsed and it is apparent where the collapse occurred. It’s sad to think that additional collapses are likely to occur as the years go by. We continued our tour of the park with:
- Sand Dune Arch – a very cool hike because the majority of the hike was walking on sand and through a narrow passage between two rock formations
- Fiery Furnace area and viewpoint
- Lower Delicate Arch viewpoint – we hiked up a hill to the Upper Viewpoint where we could see people doing the Delicate Arch hike which takes you right out to the arch itself. This is a hike we’ll have to return to do when we have more time!
- The Windows section – here we walked in the Garden of Eden, hiked to see Turret Arch, North Window, South Window, and the Double Arch. The Double Arch was very impressive – two arches meet and there are essentially skylights as a result.
- Balanced Rock – a cool towering formation with a large rock ‘ball’ on top
- Courthouse Towers and Park Avenue viewpoints – both of these viewpoints were of unique rock formations, opposed to arches, so the last arch we viewed was the Double Arch. Not such a bad one to finish with!
After not even a full day in Arches National Park, it was time for us to move on. We had a long drive ahead of us to near Boulder, Colorado if we wanted to spend Thanksgiving with friends.