In the morning we continued our drive towards Arches National Park. Our original plan was to stay the night in Moab (close to the park) but due to some motorsport conference all the motels were fully booked. So in the morning we still had 1 hour to drive to reach the park entrance (C->D).
We’d heard warnings from other visitors that the park is very popular (especially during weekends and public holidays) and there might be long queues in the entrance that reach all the way to the highway. So we got up early to reach the gates before rush. The frozen road from previous night’s snow storm was a bit worrying (still summer tires and no chains). Luckily the ice melted when sun got up and we drove safely to the park.
This National Park (as name might indicate) is known of its various natural rock arches caused by erosion and weather. When driving into the park you first arrive to Courthouse Towers with Three Gossips and Sheep Rock (used to be an arch connected to larger boulder but has collapsed years ago).
First arches we visited were Turret Arch – just next to the parking lot, you can also climb through it to the other side (just note that the rocks are slippery if it has rained).
North and South Windows – walking trail around the hill, better view of both windows is from the backside. I recommend to take this trail, it is only 1,1 km long and easy to walk and the view in the back is much nicer than from the parking lot (and you can get both Windows in one picture).
Double Arch – quite short trail from parking lot (same lot with Windows) on a sand path.
One of the most photographed and famous of the arches it the Delicate Arch. The trail to this arch told to be rough and 4,8km long. You can also see the arch from viewpoints closer to the parking lot with easier access. We did not take this trail as there seem to be many people already on the path and we knew it would take time (we were on a schedule as we had a lot of driving still to do in the evening). My pictures are taken from the Upper viewpoint using. This is definitely an arch I would like to hike to some other time but it really should be either very early in the morning or later in the evening to get sunrise or sunset in the same picture.
Last stops were to Sand Dune Arch (short walk from the parking lot between the boulders, the arch itself was not very picturesque I more liked the boulders around it) and then to Devils Garden Trailhead to hike to Landscape Arch. This trail was also easy to walk as there was clear sand path, though some elevation.
This park had many families really hiking the trails (not just driving from one arch to another, though there were these also) and seemed very good for outdoor walks. This is a place that I would love to come back to and perhaps spend couple of days in walking the different trails and seeing some more of the over 2000 named arches.
Our journey continued early evening to spend the night in Torrey (Capitol Reef National Park). The drive still took over 2,5 hours + pit stops and dinner.