Arches National Park is located in the southeastern part of Utah, near the outdoor recreation capitol of Moab. The park boasts some of the most amazing scenery in the United States and enough activities to tire out even the most intrepid traveler.
There are over 2,000 natural sandstone arches scattered across the 73,000 acre park. The smallest cavities are only 3 feet wide with the largest being Landscape Arch with a 290 foot span. Some of the arches can be seen from the main road and others require an hour or more of hiking to view. The most well known is Delicate Arch. It’s a three mile round trip hike out to the base of the arch. The best views are at sunset. There is also viewing area to the south of the arch that gives you a different perspective of this iconic monument.
Another interesting spot is the Windows section. In this relatively small area you can see several arches in a close proximity to one another. From the parking area you can take short hikes to North and South Window, Turret Arch, Double Arch and Cove Arch. This area is at the end of a side road marked by the famous Balanced Rock.
The Fiery Furnace is a unique area in an already unique park. A hike through this labyrinth of sandstone canyons and spires requires a Park Service ranger guide or a hiking permit. Getting lost inside is a definite possibility. The trail requires tight squeezes through very narrow canyons and climbing moves to overcome some of the rocky obstacles. The three hour hike is rated as strenuous. However, if you go with a guide there are plenty of rest breaks and you'll learn a lot about the natural history and geology of the area.
A couple of words of caution. Arches National Park is a desert landscape. Drinking enough water is very important. When hiking the Fiery Furnace or out to Delicate Arch it is recommended to have a least a liter of water with you. Also, in the summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees and in the winter can fall below 25 degrees. This makes spring and fall a great time to visit, but even in those seasons there can be a 50 degree temperature swing in a 24 hour period. So wear layers, drink plenty of water and have a great time.
Images of Arches National Park