Sticking to the theme of Moab I want to talk about one of its closest parks, Arches National Park. If you are unfamiliar with what these are let me explain. An arch is a land bridge formed by centuries of erosion from wind and water. It usually forms in sandstone due to how well sand stone erodes. So that is the quick and dirty version of how they are formed, new lets get back to the story.
When driving into arches it is wise to take a smaller vehicle. RV’s and large campers become a big problem because shortly (I mean within a few hundred yards) you have to drive up the side of a cliff that zig-zags back and forth with lots of tight turns. It is possible to make it, but I would suggest for your safety and the safety of others, use a smaller car. Once you get to the top of the cliff you are officially within the park. There are a few nice walks that are off to the left. One takes you down a canyon that has some nice rock formations on both sides, but I think the place to begin is right after balancing rock. Soon after you pass that iconic monument there is a turn off to your right that takes you down to some of the parks most famous arches, and a personal favorite, double arch.
One thing I should mention is that is hot in the summer, which is the time I went. It EASILY gets 100 degree’s here in southern Utah. I went when I was 19 and I carried 2 one liter bottle’s of water and 4 twenty ounce bottles of water and I would got through all of it except one bottle every day. So gauge your water consumption and make sure you have enough. Heat stoke is not fun. Also have sun screen, there is not a lot of shade.
Within this small loop of road there are easily half a dozen arches that one can stop by and visit. Double arch, turret arch, south and north window arch with a few smaller arches scattered in between. These are the most easily accessible of all the arches. The paths are smooth, sandy, and well maintained with a few exceptions here and there. This is a great place if you have little children or you have limited walking abilities.
Double arch is a quick walk from the road and takes about 20 minutes to get right under the arch. As you get closer it really begins to dawn on you how big this thing really is. The last bit of the hike is a steep rock hop adventure that takes you right under the arches.
The towering skyline easily sits 100 feet above your head. Its quite a unique arch because of this view that you get of it. Not all the arches are this big within the park, and you definitely cannot walk underneath them like you can with this arch. As you can also see, the second arch creates a window for you to look out over the park. If you have children this may be a bad spot to let them play, there is a nice big cliff on the other side of this arch. And the great part is, once your up to the arch, you’re now in the shade.
Once you are satisfied, it’s a nice walk back to the car. This is a good spot to explore a lot of the other arches right around this.