Archer

Arches National park is a rather amazing place; in fact, it may be my second favorite National Park. Maybe it’s the Red rocks, maybe its the sculptural rock formations. Either way this is a MUST SEE park!

There is a magical feeling about Arches and I can’t quite pin point it, but I can tell you what you should know when you visit the park in 2017.

Arches One Day Guide

Road trip Day 7  leads us to Moab, Utah.

The drive from Capitol Reef was wild and wonderful. We left from rain and drove into higher elevations through a marvelous birch forest where thin white trees sprung into the air! Along the mountain side there were thousands of them and the rain soon turned into snow flurries. {it felt like buddy the elf was telling us his story “I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.”}  Birch trees transformed into pine trees and then back again until the terrain became rocky. Black and gray rocks molded into jagged edges that converted into soft red rocks, then sand and into towering Red Rock cliffs.

Arches National Park

And here we find Arches National Park. At the bottom of these towering cliffs is the entrance, with 3 lanes and a 3 ranger booths. Just beyond the booths is the Visitor Center.

I suggest that you stop here, there are plenty of bathrooms, water (filtered) fill up station, and of course vast information and gifts inside the center.

When you head into the park, you’ll be driving up the cliff side. It’s a steep incline and a winding road so use caution. The group will level out near the first view point Park Avenue. As stated in my last itinerary, start from the back and work your way forward!

Arches Drive

Arches Drive panorama

This year (2017-18) Arches National Park will be completing a series of construction updates inside the the park. Here is what you should know before you go:

  • the park will close at 7 PM  (Sunday- Thursday){this means you cannot stay overnight except for Friday & Saturday)
  • the park opens at 7 AM { you’ll have 12 hours to explore}
  • Devil’s Garden closed until June 4, 2017 {at this time should be open!!}
  • Devil’s Garden Campground will be closed until November 30, 2017
  • Fiery Furnace & Salt Valley  closed until June 23, 2017 {at this time should be open!!}
  • Windows Section may be closed (up to 4 weeks)- No specified dates
  • Delicate Arch is scheduled to close (TBD) for construction

Construction may delay your time or options during your visit, so please be aware. You can visit nps.gov for more information on closures.

Unfortunately, we were unable to visit Fiery Furnace & Devil’s Garden during our visit. We did however get to visit the following: (starting at the furthest point back)

Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint– if you plan to hike Delicate Arch, you can skip this. The view point is nice but makes the arch look very small and the people hiking up it look like ants! This area and Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint is wheelchair accessible and offers some decent views with plenty of parking.

Delicate Arch side view

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch- be sure to pack plenty of water and a light snack. This hike is strenuous,  an up hill climb if you will (3 mi RT). There is no shade along this hike; nor is there a specified path, most of the hike is treading rock face and uneven terrain. I wouldn’t suggest completing it with rain in the forecast. A hat, walking stick and hiking shoes/boots or tennis shoes with great grip is necessary. Once you think you’ve reached level ground there is another short incline hike around a boulder (here there is a narrow path to follow-one side is a steep fall-be careful).

 

After you’e completed the hike to see the arch, you will definitely want to sit down for a minute! Your water and snack will be a welcomed relief. You can sit up here for as long as you’d like. What’s most interesting is to people watch when you finally catch your breath. As everyone else, including yourself they will round the corner in awe at the sight of Delicate Arch. It’s a beautiful sight and still ponders the question of how long will it be able to hold up?

Delicate Arch Hike

Taking photos here is a must; but please be courteous not to climb on the arch, in order to preserve this natural monument. 

Hiking up to the Arch took about an hour (including resting and photos).

 

Double Arch BW

Double Arch- a short hike from the parking lot, no need for much gear unless you plan to stay for a good amount of time. Follow the sand/gravel path up to Double Arch and bask in the glory of such amazing natural beauty. Some fantastic photos have come from this spot and there are plenty of opportunities to capture one of your own. Though we didn’t get much time here, Leah and I made it a point to walk out and see the arches up close. Do not miss these! Also don’t forget to look for the Parade of Elephants in the rock formations leading up to the arches.

Parade of Elephants

Double Arch panorama

Across the other side of the parking lot is the Windows Section, there are a few hiking trails here. We didn’t get much time for the windows (Double Arch was a priority), but a neat view any way.

Balanced Rock

On your way back out of the park {not that you could possibly miss it} is Balanced Rock. You can hike out to it, or stop off in the viewpoint parking area. Some of these formations are astounding!

There are plenty of other stops along the way and if you can get here early to see as much as possible.

Our last stop at the park I ended up going out solo.

Park Avenue

Park Ave info

Park Avenue Viewpoint- This was a great finish to Arches. Named because they reminded early visitors of skyscrapers lines a big city street, these towering walls will surely amaze you as any view in New York City. The trailhead here will take you to The 3 Wisemen/ Organ / Courthouse Towers. Without enough time for this visit, I hope you’ll take it an enjoy the view along the way!

At 7 PM, we rolled out of the park and began our route South into Moab.

Pasta Jays

This was the first “city” we’d been to since leaving Flagstaff (4 days ago). Complete with little shops, plenty of restaurants and hotels, we felt ecstatic about exploring it. Our first choice of dining was the Desert Bistro, only to find out their wait was 3 hours. So we decided to walk down the street and found Jay’s Pasta. Holy crap! This place will blow your mind. The pasta here is great! What should you eat here:

  • Spinach & Arugula salad
  • Tortollone Alfredo with Chicken
  • Bread

I hate using the word alfredo {ever since learning (in an italian market in Florence) that there is actually no such thing}, but I digress. You can also dip your bread in this sauce and you’ll be pleased by every bite.

When dinner was finished, we strolled through the shops. After becoming fascinated by all the Southwest “Trading Posts,” one in Moab provided me with a few items that I enjoyed. You can find a few extra items in my shop, specifically the turquoise necklace!

There are plenty of things to look at in the shops; including glass work, handmade jewelry and leather goods. Even home furnishings and rugs.

Since it was getting dark we headed back to the RV to get a good nights sleep at the KOA we planned to stay at for the night. Well, we couldn’t find the damned thing so we called about 10 hotels in Moab. Most all of the hotels were nearly full or only had one room available. Luckily we got a couple of rooms at the Gonzo Inn, which is just off Hwy 191 (the main route). The front desk girl was so pleasant and helpful in getting us accommodations after driving around for an hour trying to find our KOA {blast GPS! Siri took us down a strange back road to nowhere}.

The Gonzo has a rather large hot tub with the craziest jets I’ve ever seen and a pretty large pool that glows at night with changing colors! We’d been looking for a nice hot tub after our hike in Zion, only to be let down over the last few nights. Finally!

Our hotel had comfortable beds with a small patio on each room with two chairs. There was also an on site coin laundry available {which I took advantage of in the morning} There is also complimentary breakfast from 6:30-9AM from March-November months. We decided to check out another local place to dine instead.

Veggie bagel

In the morning, breakfast was at the Red Rock Bakery & Cafe. Our lovely front desk from the Gonzo had suggested it. A line will form pretty quickly at this small spot, but I believe it is worth the hype. For breakfast I ordered:

  • the Veggie Bagel with Avocado
  • Cinnamon Roll (HUGE!-the size of my face)
  • a latte

After taking down half of the gigantic cinnamon roll, I could only stomach half of my bagel. Which was fine, because I wrapped it back up and put it in the fridge on the RV for a snack later! So good! If you can, snag a local paper to read here and catch up on what’s going on in town and at the park. Or you can do some varied reading with the selection of books lining the windows.

Across the street we needed to find Keenon and Leah some pants before heading North. Brad and I found a neat rock and Gem store where I found the most amazing rock! Its local piece of Rhyolite (sand stone) that was shaved/sanded into a smooth sphere. What stuck me about this rock? It looks like Jupiter {side note: Jupiter is my favorite planet}. Check it out:

There is much to offer here in Moab, if only we didn’t have a schedule to adhere to… I hope you’ll find these two as inviting as we did. I’ve also left a small PLRG moment around town. If you find it, I want to hear about it! #findingthePLRG (here’s a clue)

find the PLRG

Have you been to Moab or Arches National Park? Tell me about your favorites by leaving a comment.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Archer

  1. I have wanted to visit Arches National Park for such a long time. This post is really helpful, and the photos are beautiful! Hoping I can do a big Utah national parks trip in the next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind words Erin! I hope you get to make that trip. There are many beautiful places in Utah. I never imagined that I would fall in love with this state. Check out a few of my other posts on the other parks, you may want to put them on your list as well!

      Liked by 1 person

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