Tuesday, October 18, 2016

12 hours in arches national park

There is so much to do and see in Arches National Park that it can be disheartening to know that you only have one day to spend here. When it comes down to it, you have two options.
Option #1: Make peace with the time that you do have. Slow things down by picking just a few spots to enjoy.
Option #2: Realize that you’re not guaranteed to have this opportunity ever again. Ignore all the rules of the time & space continuum and squeeze every drop of sunlight out of the day.
Can you guess which one we chose? Yep, the latter. But, with either route you choose, this will be a good guide. And it’s actually pretty doable to see the entire park in one day because everything is located right along the scenic road. This made it possible to soak up everything we wanted to see in a single day. On that note, here’s how to spend a perfect day in Arches National Park.

6AM Rise & Shine  
Yes, I’m suggesting you get up early while on vacation. WAIT! Don’t stop reading just yet. I promise you will thank me later. Because when it comes to the MightyFive, Arches is easily Utah’s most popular national park. You will want to get your day started early in order to beat the crowds. Plus, you’re not even tired after a night of glamping in the desert.

7AM JailHouse Café
This is known as Moab’s Breakfast Place. And trust me, they deserve their title. Stop in for a morning feast to fuel up for your day. I’d recommend the omelette scramble, though you pretty much can’t go wrong with anything here. Seriously, I’ll have one of everything.

8AM The Windows
One of the best spots to visit in the early light of the morning are the North and South Window Arches. The hike up to the Windows is extremely flat and easy, at only 1.2 miles round-trip. Pop a squat and get ready to be amazed as the sun rises higher in the sky and hits these towering arches, turning them a perfect shade of red. Told ya you would thank me.
The sun is up now fully and so are you. Walk the rest of the trail through the Windows, being sure to see Turret Arch before completing the Windows Loop.

9AM Double Arch
Head back towards your car, but instead of getting in, pick up the half mile trail to Double Arch and the Cove of Caves. Double Arch will definitely be a favorite so take all the time you need to soak it in.

10AM Balancing Rock 
Hop in the car, but don’t get too comfortable because you won’t be driving for long. Pick up the scenic route and backtrack a little to Balancing Rock. It’s only a 0.3mile loop to walk the whole thing and it’s the perfect spot for a quick photo op.                                    

11AM Devil’s Garden Trail
You’re back in the car now following the scenic route all the way up to Devil’s Garden Trailhead. Here, you will have the opportunity to see 8 more arches! Others are just starting to arrive now, but you’re about to embark on your fourth hike of the day. In fact, you’ve already enjoyed some of the best parts of the park in complete solitude. The early bird really does get the worm.
Devil’s Garden is an 8 mile loop and is by far one of the best trails in the park. The two major highlights are Landscape Arch (near the beginning) and Double O Arch (at the end). If you’re not prepared to hike the full 8 miles, don’t fret. But at least walk the 1.6 miles to the famous Landscape Arch. It’s a natural wonder with being the second longest natural bridge in the world and it’s expected to collapse within our lifetime, so don’t miss out on a chance to bear witness to this beauty.
If you stay along the primitive trail, you're in for a real treat. Be sure to take the side trails to Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Navajo Arch, and Partition Arch on your way to Double O Arch.

3PM Lunch 
Have a well earned lunch along the trail before retracing your steps back. The trek back won’t take nearly as long, so take in as much of this landscape as possible.

4PM Delicate Arch
In this case you’ve saved the best for last as no trip to Arches National Park would be complete without seeing the most famous one of them all…Delicate Arch. It’s a 3 mile hike to Delicate Arch, but just over that horizon is the most awe inspiring sight. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy a beautiful sunset before ending your day.
Yes this is a jam-packed day. For us East Coasters living thousands of miles away, I don’t know IF or WHEN we will ever be have a chance to return here again. I for one am thankful that we left this place knowing we saw everything we dreamed of. We got to see them at their best…in the glow of the morning and evening light. With Husband by my side, this was without a doubt one of the best days of my life.


  1. Gorgeous photos !!! What camera do you use ? I love the crisp photos :) Very clear .

    1. thanks Tammy, the photos are a combo of iPhone and Cannon DSLR T5 camera. I edit all my photos in photoshop too so that's why they are so clear