Yes. We live in Utah and it took us 5 years to visit Arches together. I am beyond ashamed.
I’ll admit, though, that part of the reason behind that is because as beautiful as Arches is, it’s just too crowded. Too crowded, she says?! Yeah. I know. Sounds a little silly coming from She-Who-Loves-Zion-Best-Of-All (almost), but I avoid Zion in the summer, and when I go in the summer I head to the slots, where I might see a maximum of a dozen people- and even that’s a generous estimate.
Another part of the reason is Highway 6. If you’re not familiar with the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, let me just tell you that all you need to know is that it’s the deadliest highway in America. I’m not even lying, go look it up. I HATE IT. It’s pretty much the worst. And, of course, coming from SLC the 6 is the most direct route to Moab… so I generally just end up avoiding Moab as a whole. I feel like aside from the arches themselves, you can get a lot of that red rock feel in Capitol Reef, which is roughly the same distance and travel time from SLC but on much safer roads. Plus, Capitol Reef is never crowded, so it’s kind of win-win. Sorry, Moab!
Anyway, after a somewhat leisurely morning in Mesa Verde (trying to let the tent dry as much as possible), we headed to Arches.
The majority of our time in Arches was spent driving the scenic drive and stopping at the main landmarks. We opted against Delicate Arch based on the weather (storm clouds moving in fast), the amount of cars in the parking lot (full), and how hungry we were by the time we would have started the hike (very). We’ll probably go back in the spring when there will be fewer people and the warm southern Utah spring will feel glorious!
It was awfully convenient of Mother Nature to put Double Arch and the Windows right next to each other.
After Double Arch and the Windows, we headed to Devil’s Garden (which I DO love, and it’s less crowded because it’s a big complex, and it’s not Delicate Arch). We made a quick stop to hike to the lower overlook of Delicate Arch though, because you just have to.
After our jaunt in Devil’s Garden, we headed to dinner in Moab. Lots of great places to eat there, and so many of them are locally owned, which I love. Just another part of why recreation and tourism are so important to Utah!
Our Arches National Park “Must Do”:
Devil’s Garden! Everyone is so focused on Delicate Arch, and it’s a great hike- but crowded, and can be hard if you’re not in good shape. Devil’s Garden has something for everyone, and a “choose your own adventure” kind of feel.