There are certain places in America that have been in so many movies and visited by so many people, that they become iconic symbols of eras and states. Arches National Park is one of those places. It is also almost required that if you are any kind of RVer you get to Arches. I have not read an RVer blog yet where someone did not get to Arches or planned on it. And so I arrived in Moab with a great sense of anticipation. Arches was our first destination. I was very glad we decided to stay in a nice campground in Moab and drive into the park leaving the trailer behind. The entrance into Arches is up several steep and winding curves. I’m not sure my truck would have made it pulling that trailer. There is also no room to pass so no crawling along in low gear. The drive was spectacular and breathtaking.
Visiting Arches means you can drive up to some of the major sites by this lovely freshly repaved road. You can park and then walk to overlooks or take the longer trails as you wish. The weather was absolutely perfect for us. It was clear, sunny, about 60F (10C) with a light breeze. We had to leave the dogs in the truck because dogs are not allowed on any trails. This restricted us to places where we could see the truck and be able to leave the windows open but it was cool enough that the dogs would not get overheated. I would very strongly advise not taking dogs along if you don’t have this kind of weather.
We started at the visitor centre which was very well done. There was a short movie about the geology and many displays of how the arches formed. We enjoyed the background information. We made sure our water bottles were full and that we used the washrooms. We were warned that due to the ongoing renovations there are no outhouses on the way. Also part the park where the campground is, was completely closed.
The start of the drive included these stunning solid walls of rock. You have to stay on the roads and trails but these types of walls exist all around Moab including some outside the national parks. We saw rock climbers of various sorts outside the park walls. If I were younger and stronger I suspect I would be among them.
We first really spectacular site we saw was the balancing rock. There is a short trail that allows you to walk all the way around and see it from all sides. I couldn’t help but feel a certain affinity for the balancing rock. It kind of parallels certain parts of my life where a lot of deliberate balancing was required to stay upright. Life is much easier now, being retired with all the kids grown up.
And then there were arches! This might sound silly but in all the pictures I have seen of the arches I never got a proper perspective on how huge these things are! They are enormous several stories high and stunningly beautiful in person. No picture can convey the grandeur and beauty. There was one place where we could, after a short steep walk, get right up underneath the arches and still monitor the truck and dogs while we did. I was so drawn I almost ran.
Dick could not resist getting right under the arch and taking pictures of a precarious looking boulder as big as our truck that looked like it could fall out at any time.
I took this picture of Dick and another man who were both photographing the underside of the arch for perspective. This allows you to get a feel for just how huge the arches are.
We spent about three and a half hours viewing the arches before making the trip back down to the visitor centre for an overdue bathroom break. I was very glad we did not chose to go on Thanksgiving Day itself. We drove by the gate to Arches on our way to our next adventure in Canyonlands Thanksgiving Day and we passed a long and slow moving line at the entrance gate going from the gate all the way back to the highway. I would strongly advise avoiding the place on any holiday.
I can now cross the Arches National Park in Utah off my bucket list. I am very glad I came and it was well worth the trip.