When the United States, in keeping with its “best idea,” decides to create a new national park, it can go without saying that the land is special, iconic, and worthy of protection.
It can be said, however, that some of these gems are so mind-numbingly spectacular, that a single feature — say, a delicate arch perhaps? — can be recognized as one of the single most geologically significant, visually breathtaking, and frequently bucket list-making landmarks in the world; attracting 1.4 million visitors last year alone.
This is the case in Utah’s Arches National Park.
Utah is a special place. The state is home to five of the most jaw-dropping national parks on the map, carved over millions of years through its red rock. Located on the eastern side of the small town of Moab, with Canyonlands National Park down the road to the west, Arches is home to one of the most inspiring sections of road in any national park.
With its entrance located directly Highway 191, it can be difficult navigating the traffic during peak seasons and certain times of day. From the entry station and visitor center, park visitors begin their adventure with a winding drive up to the top of the Moab Fault and immediate views of the nearby La Sal Mountains. Moments later, you’re greeted by landmark after gorgeous landmark; from Park Avenue to The Organ, Three Gossips to the Petrified Dunes and Rock Pinnacles.
The suspense continues to build throughout the entire drive as more and more recognizable features come into view.
Plan for no less than an entire day to explore this park. The Garden of Eden, Parade of Elephants, The Windows, and Balanced Rock, each equally impressive and unique.
Hike the Fiery Furnace, to Landscape Arch, Double O Arch, and yes, make sure you carve out plenty of time to bask in the majesty of Delicate Arch.
The hike can be brutal on a hot day, trust me, it was 110 degrees when I completed the hike at 7pm! Most hikers didn’t make it up the 1-mile, rock face ascent to the arch that day.
Arches National Park is a special place and a must-visit destination in the west.