"Arches National Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Arches National Park by goodfish
Arches National Park Travel Guide: 609 reviews and 1,580 photos
Red, red sandstone against a deep blue sky: Arches is Shutterbug Heaven. Millions of years of deposition, faulting and erosion has created 2,000 natural stone arches and other formations that can be driven, hiked, biked, and climbed . This area has been inhabited for 10,000 years: first by hunter/gatherers, then by Ancestral People, and later by contemporary Native Americans. For all of its beauty, it's also an inhospitable and fragile environment with little water and scorching heat. A national park since 1971, Arches has 18 miles of scenic road that winds through towering rock formations and ends at trailheads needed to access most of the natural arches. While there's some good scenery from the car window, this is a park that must be seen on foot to be appreciated as its most picturesque viewpoints are off-road.
I highly recommend combining a visit to Arches with the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. They are within shoutin' distance (relatively) from each other and you'll get two entirely different experiences (see my Canyonlands page/tips for info). Canyonlands is a lot like seeing the Grand Canyon: you spend a lot of time looking down. At Arches, you'll mostly be looking up. If you've ever done Zion and Bryce in one trip you'll know what I mean? Lovers of nature may find (as we did) that they prefer Canyonlands during peak season because of the absence of people: Arches was uncomfortably crowded the first time we were there, and parking can be a real challenge. It was a little less congested on our September trip in 2011, and by hiking into the further reaches of the park you can lose the majority of the bus-touring masses.
General Information: Arches is 5 miles north of Moab, Utah on U.S. 191. Entrance fees are $5 per pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcycle, and $10 per vehicle (or use your annual N.P. pass if you have one.) The park is open 24/7 every day of the year with visitor center hours changing seasonally. It offers a slide show, books, gifts, water and general information but no food. There are also no shuttles and no lodgings, other than a campground, within the park.
- Pros:Nice assortment of hiking trails and terrific place for shutterbugs
- Cons:Very crowded and very hot during high season
- In a nutshell:Bring a lot of memory cards for the camera: you'll need them!
Just kidding but gotta put in a plug here for the men and women of the NPS. We've come into contact with a lot of... more travel advice
Arches has a parking problem. They KNOW they have a parking problem but have not yet been able to come up with a good... more travel advice
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