Arches National Park, UT
Arches National Park (Adobe stock image)
By Nushin Huq
Between 2 Pines Magazine
The Red Rock Arches at Arches National Park are probably one of the most famous landmarks in Utah. There are hikes for all levels of hikers.
WHAT TO SEE
The name says it all. The arches are the highlight at this park as are other stone structures, such as giant balanced rocks.
WHERE TO STAY
Devil's Garden Campground is the only campground in the park. From March through October, the sites can be reserved. Reservations can be made six months in advance. These sites are very popular and often book up months in advance. The rest of the year, the sites are first come, first serve.
There are no hotels within the park, but a number of hotels very close to the park, including those in the city of Moab.
WHERE TO EAT
There are no restaurants, but Moab is nearby and there are a number of great restaurants to eat there. There are also picnic areas throughout the park.
BEST HIKES FOR FAMILIES
Delicate Arch and Fiery Furnace are the two most popular hikes in the park. Delicate Arch, the famous arch painted on Utah license plates, is a state icon, making a hike to the arch a popular one. It’s a 3-mile round trip hike. With a family, it’s recommended to carve out at least a couple of hours to complete the hike and view the arch.
MAKE SURE YOU CARRY LOTS OF WATER.
There’s no shade on the trail, so if you are going in the summer, hike early in the morning or right before sunset. In fact, the sunset is amazing at the arch. If you are planning to hike to watch sunset, bring headlamps for the trip back.
The other popular hike is the Fiery Furnace. This ranger led hike gets really hot. People interested in this hike have to purchase tickets for ranger led hike or purchase a pass to hike without a ranger. There are limited spaces on the tour as well as passes, so it is recommended to purchase tickets ahead of time. The trail, considered moderately difficult, takes hikers through a sandstone maze and there’s a bit of scrambling required. It is not recommended to take young children on this hike.
Hikes With Young Children:
Balanced Rock is a short trail that goes around the base of balanced rock. It’s really short, less than .5 mile, so it’s good for families with young kids. The balanced rock is super cool to look at.
Another short walk is the Delicate Arch viewpoint. It’s a short walk from parking lot to the viewpoint where you can see a distant view of Delicate Arch.
Hikes with School Age Kids:
The Windows and Double Arch are short but fun hikes. Double Arch is about .5 mile from the parking area and the Windows is a mile from the parking lot. Windows is also a good sunset spot.
Sand Dune Arch is only .3 miles from parking lot and is a fun hike and it’s close to campground.
BEST TIPS FOR KIDS
In the summer, temperatures in the park can get into the 100s. To avoid the heat, visit the park in early morning or after 4pm, when it starts cooling off, and bring lots of water. The park visitor center is a good place to escape the heat. There is an informative video, exhibits and a gift shop.
Pick up a junior ranger booklet and take time to talk to rangers about potential hiking trails. The park guide, which you can grab at the visitor center, will also list any ranger talks for the day.
If the weather is too hot for a hike or you find yourself with a sleeping toddler after lunch, Arches has a number of scenic pull-outs along the main road. Make sure to park in designated parking spots only.