Part 1: Road to Arches
Arches National Park is one of the country’s smaller national parks, with one main road running 18 miles from top to bottom. It’s possible to see the best sights in one day if you’re short on time. In the end, we spent two half days in the park, and managed to check off most of the key sights on our list.
As we drove through the long windy road past the entrance, we took it all in. Red, flaming rocks everywhere. It was glorious. Our first top was Park Avenue, so named because the towering rocks resemble Manhattan’s skyscrapers.
Can I just pause to compliment myself on the below shot? I love it.
We hopped back in the car and continued north towards our first hike of the day. Of course, we had to stop a couple of times along the way…
Here’s a gorgeous view of the Petrified Dunes with the Lasalle Mountains in the background.
Tada! Balanced Rock.
Shortly after admiring Balanced Rock, we turned right and headed toward the trail head for the Windows and Double Arch. We chose the 1 mile hike around the North and South Windows.
The trail map gives visitors two options at this point: To circle around Turret Arch and head back the way we came, or to take the “primitive trail” around the back of the Windows. We opted for the primitive trail – and it was rather primitive. We followed a series of random cairns, only getting lost once. On the plus side, we left the crowds behind. From this vantage point, we enjoyed clear, perfect views of both arches, unmarred by throngs of tourists.
There really aren’t words to describe how weirdly beautiful the arches are. Even better, they are easily accessible. The Windows is just a mile long, with little elevation. In other words, you have no excuses!