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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Arches National Park Hikes, Utah 2019

A one-week trip was enough to take several hikes in each of three national parks around Moab, Utah.  We still had time to relax in the evenings.  We did get an early start each day, finishing breakfast before eight, and being at the trail head by 8:30.  That helps with the heat and the crowds.  Of the three national parks we went to, Arches was by far the busiest.

Arches National Park is appropriately named.  I was thinking there would be just a few, but we must have seen at least twenty arches after doing about six or seven hikes.  I'll get this over with by starting with Delicate Arch, the iconic arch that is on some Utah license plates, and the publicity photos for the park.  Notice there are people in this picture.  They're in the shadow near the base, which lets you see the scale.

Delicate Arch seen through another arch.

One of the hikes we did was called Fiery Furnace.  This hike requires a permit.  They only allow 75 people each day.  The permits for those reserving online are all taken months in advance, but they save some for visitors trying to reserve in person.  When we tried to reserve, all the permits for ranger-guided access were taken for the next five days.  But, they had permits for individuals two days later.  We were a bit concerned about going without a guide, because the hike winds back and forth between a huge group of big vertical outcroppings that form a natural labyrinth.  There are places where you'll definitely have to find the way for yourself.  But the ranger at the visitor center told us not to worry, we'd make it out, even if we did it on our own.  The whole thing only takes 2-3 hours, including detours.  We got really lost a few times, and we also deliberately went off-trail to see what there was to see a few times. We found the amazing arch below at one off-trail dead-end we wandered into.

Here's one from a dead end we were told was worth backtracking several hundred yards for by another hiker who'd been there many times before.  It's called Skull Arch.  Death awaits those who enter!

We watched the sunset a couple of nights.  It wasn't that spectacular, but the light was good off and on.  There was a good high spot near Balanced Rock that we hung out at.  It had views in all directions. Notice the lower clouds in this one.  The lighting in front and back of the clouds creates a great effect.

I couldn't stop watching this cloud, and the rain falling from it. I love how it looks like it's in bands.  I was hoping this would happen, the sunset light lit up the rain.  The brighter orange clouds are many miles further away - maybe a hundred miles away.  We saw some signage in the park that talked about being able to see certain mountains that far away.  

So, onto other arches around the park.  I can't recall the names of all these.  This first one is Landscape Arch.  Several large chunks of it fell back in the nineties, so they don't let people hike under it these days.

We did a hike called The Devil's Garden.  The next few are from there.

We nearly walked off a couple of cliffs on this one.  There were really exposed parts of the hike with long drop-offs alongside the trail, and no rail.  Just stay back from the edge, and you'll be OK.

We took several side-trips off the main trail to see more arches.

This one was taken from one of those exposed ridges along the trail. 

Another double arch, but the last two were side-by-side, while this is one on top of the other. 

This is actually the lower arch of the double arch above.  One of my favorites.

Hope you enjoyed this one.  You can see even more spectacular photos from our visit to Arches National Park in my next post for photos from other hikes in Arches National Park

Two more from this one-week trip to national parks in the vicinity of Moab, Utah.

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