More Best of Utah: Arches National Park

Man, grad school is NO JOKE. UC Berkeley is especially no joke. I thought I would have a little bit more time in between papers and classes to record all our journeys from our best ever 2013 “Left Coast” National Parks Road Trip…but it was not meant to be. The travel journal will have to be finished in the summer of 2014. It’s Friday night and I should be doing homework right now, but fuck it.

Anyway. Back to the story.

Moab campsite

Joy and I woke up just about the same time that the sun started to rise above the rocks and peak into our tents. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this campsite is the BUSINESS…


Oh my god it was beautiful. And we completely lucked out by getting the massive group campsite. We could have put on a horse show with the amount of camping real estate we had to ourselves. THANK YOU Bureau of Land Management!

Our next stop was the iconic Arches National Park. We tried to set out early to avoid the midday heat, but by the time we got to the visitor center and filled up our water containers, it was already about 8:30 AM or 9 AM. That was a little on the late side. This place gets baking HOT, so there’s warning signs everywhere about making sure to bring enough water and wearing a lot of sunscreen/protective clothing.

IMG_1707-167 I think that, by this time, we had been in Utah for about 6 days or so. That meant that for the past 6 days, we were constantly hot, sweaty, and pretty filthy. Since Arches doesn’t really involve long hikes or backpacking trips, we decided on doing a short, half day trip to the park to appreciate some arches…and then be on our way to find a shower (at least, that was on my itinerary).

Joy had been to Arches as a kid and had already seen the famous Delicate Arch, so we decided to drive to the farther ends of the park to Devil’s Garden do the shorter hikes for Landscape Arch and a some other arches. The hike was so short and mild (relatively speaking) that I actually just wore flip flops. I don’t recommend that, but yeah. After doing 10-15 mile days, hiking just a few miles in a family-friendly park is like walking to the store.

I wish we could have seen more of the park (I wanted to do the 4 mile RT hike to Delicate Arch, and some more adventurous scrambling around the Fiery Furnace area), but Joy’s blisters still hadn’t healed and we remained a bit exhausted from hiking around Utah for a week in the dry summer heat.
IMG_1712-168The first arch we hit up was Landscape Arch. I don’t know why they call it so, I think it looks more like a “Delicate” Arch. Or more like a “Land Bridge” Arch.


Rainbow Pony also had a chance to appreciate the loveliness of the Arch.


Around the bend, visitors can wander up some stone hiking trails to explore the other arches in the area.


Of course we had to take some yoga photos. Joy strikes a dancer pose below.


Yeah, Arches is just plain pretty. Just remember that all landforms are impermanent and are constantly eroding and changing over time. Arches in particular can be a bit more sensitive, so tread carefully 🙂



Even Rainbow Pony found her own arch. She named it Horse Hoof Arch.

Partition Arch was actually one of my favorite. It’s stunning to stand underneath it and hang out on the side overlooking the park…



Arch awesomeness


The view from Partition Arch



IMG_1781-119Further along down the trails, we found a few more arches. And some bunnies. Hares. Whatever. Very cute.



Navajo Arch had a Christmas Tree next to it.


The rest of our half day in the park was spent hiking around the rock areas. There was so much to explore…and fall off of.


IMG_1804-205After a while, Joy and I were just too hot and sticky to continue on, so we drove back to the short trail that gives you a view of the famous Delicate Arch



And then headed out of the park. Onto the next one!

The drive through the park is pretty amazing, however. Make sure to pull over to take photos. Or take photos while the other person drives (like I did).



Our next stop was actually to go back to Moab and take a shower. We found a small hostel (with a campground) on the edge of town that sold showers for about $5 each. After 6 days of dirt and sweat (and just one other shower at Bryce Canyon National Park) it felt like HEAVEN. We totally milked our $5 worth of shower time. Joy and I debated on whether or not to stay the night at the hostel, but found our campsites to be much cleaner living areas than the dirty ass hostel rooms that we encountered. HIPPIES. Just kidding.

Moab is amazing. It’s like a little bit of Haight St. hippie heaven in the middle of Utah. We went back to our favorite spot, Wake N’ Bake Cafe for another amazing cob salad and got ice cream cuz it was still hot as hell. We went to Radio Shack to get a card reader to download my millions of photos. And I think we even went back to Gear Heads to buy more shit. We spent most of the afternoon lounging, eating salad and writing postcards to all our friends at home.

Later that day we went on a search for a new campsite for the night. While there was a nice one down a road bordering the river that was nestled in the middle of a tall canyon, it was hot and I didn’t want to spend another night barely being able to fall asleep. We settled on another BLM site across the street, in fact. Not as gorgeous, but still pretty damn nice. It also bordered the river and had a nice little area for us to roam around. BLM sites tend to not have any running water or flushing toilets, but they usually do have the basic land and amenities that you need to get by. AND they’re hella cheap. Can’t beat it for the price!



The view from our second BLM campsite

Anyway. Utah has been f*cking wonderful.

Thank you Arches National Park!


Joy strikes a power pose

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3 thoughts on “More Best of Utah: Arches National Park

  1. jisbell22 says:

    This is one of my favorite places on the planet!

    • It’s gorgeous, isn’t it! Do you recommend other hikes in Arches?

      • jisbell22 says:

        Its breathtaking! We go every March when it’s cooler and more comfortable to hike. The Delicate Arch is a very impressive hike and great spot for photos. I also highly recommend the Devils Garden hike with 7 arches. Spectacular views! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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