Arches National Park UT

Park Map

I had been to Arches NP with Doug in 2004, as the kickoff to the Dinosaur Vacation; we had gotten in at 3 in the afternoon and pretty much got the last campsite for the night. We hiked all the trails in Devil's Garden, but had to haul out early the next morning (because dinosaur stuff was calling us!) and had not seen the rest of the park. So after I got gas in Moab and called home, I went to Arches for the rest of the afternoon, figuring I'd go see the lower part of the park.

The thing about Arches is, it's three miles from Moab UT, and RIGHT ON THE ROAD. So everyone and their brother goes there. And a lot of the stuff to do is the pull-over-and-look kind of thing, so a lot of vehicles and people that wouldn't be suited to more adventurous places, shall we say, are swarming like ants there. So as pretty as Arches can be...I probably won't go back again unless it's some kind of off season.

Having said that, I did have a nice hike and it was very pretty. Even in the rain...

This is the visitor's center parking lot, and the main road, the 191, is on the left. On the right, the road climbs up behind the pale rock and around the back of that formation; it's a steep road, and awesome to drive. The view from about halfway up the road, over the visitor's center and the 191. This is where I'm going. Gorgeous...but notice the clouds...
The first thing I did was hike the Park Avenue trail, a mile each direction; the righthand pic shows the view from the trailhead, the few dozen stairsteps that get you down into the wash to hike...and the view, which is amazing.
This was a GORGEOUS hike.
and you can see from the puddles that it had rained recently...I did like taking the pictures of the rock reflections in the pools, though.
and the clouds are getting darker...

And here it comes. Sigh.

Park Avenue was the first thing you come to inside the park after going up the entrance road. After I hiked that, I went to the far end of the park, figuring I'd do the Fiery Furnace and work my way back to the entrance until I saw everything or ran out of time (it was an hour back to the KOA in Green River, and I wanted to get there in time to cook my dinner and have a shower.)

But the Fiery Furnace was CLOSED, they were having some kind of special event there, so I did the rest of the marked places, after backtracking several miles to the next attraction, the Delicate Arch, then the North and South Windows, the Garden of Eden and (as I drove by) the sun on the Petrified Dunes.