Arches is pretty insane.
When I picked Utah as a possible destination for post-undergrad living, I pictured all of Utah as the lovely red rock seen in Southern Utah. That is not the case, at all. But, I finally got down south to Moab and had a lovely time camping in Arches!
There’s only one campground inside the park, and in peak season, it’s by reservation only. I was lucky enough to be looking at the right time and found a campsite open for one night! I figured this was a great opportunity to get down there and see Arches, and, if able, find another camp site and hopefully see lots of the park and maybe even Canyonlands National Park, too!
The red rock is seriously stunning, and I figured I couldn’t take a bad picture, so I took TONS!! I did a little bit of star photography the first night we were there and it seriously is stunning down there. My camera catches more than the eye can see, but it’s still extremely impressive with what you can see with the naked eye.
We did a little hike that is conveniently in the campground, and even more conveniently, 60 feet from our campsite! We did this the following morning, and it was a very beautiful hike – more of a walk than anything! There’s virtually no elevation change, so it’s a pretty easy one to take the whole family on! I captured perhaps one of the best landscape photos of my career, if not, the best!
It’s a beautiful hike, covered nearly entirely in sand! There are some rocky portions, so make sure you’ve got some good shoes to navigate that part of the hike. Also, be prepared to follow cairn markers – they’re sometimes hard to spot, and we definitely saw people get lost on the trail! Also, keep your eyes peeled for rabbits – we saw one!
Here’s a tip if you end up visiting Arches in July or August: don’t under any circumstances…ever…go on a long hike in the middle of the day unless your pray for rain the entire time. We decided to do the Devil’s Garden trail, which is near the campground bearing the same name, and we started it at perhaps 1 or 2pm in the afternoon – long story short, we needed to pack up camp after the first hike, claim a new campsite, which we found along the Colorado River on Utah Route 128, and then head back into the park.
Luckily, we were greeted with some pretty views, some clouds in the sky bringing the heat down a bit, and a pretty easy hike…for the first half! If you take the primitive trail, be mindful that it is very difficult. There is a significant amount of rock scrambling and some pretty perilous drops along the roughly 7 mile hike. It’s a fun one to do, but is definitely for more experienced hikers!
Unfortunately, contrary to the sign above, we did this in wet conditions….Mercedes was praying for rain the whole time, and we got sprinkled on here and there, but pretty soon, we got caught in a full on rainstorm. It was pretty hectic out there, but we managed to get through it and come out without a scratch! I didn’t take any pictures during the rain, for obvious reasons…
After this, we did a couple short little walks (under 300 meters) and some get-in, get-out view points. There’s a lot you can do without going too far from your car! Arches is full of views, and one of the best views is this one, pictures below.
Another trip to Arches is indeed warranted – perhaps in a cooler time of the year in either fall or spring. It’s a pretty stunning landscape and the red rock and red sand is out of this world if you’ve never seen anything like that in person!
See you on the next one!
Next blog: A hiking review!