Place: Arches National Park
Where: Moab, Utah
Address: Arches National Park, Utah
Last year my younger brother graduated from high school out in Utah. I was so proud to see him graduate, and it was a perfect excuse for him to take the family out to Moab, Utah for some hiking. Utah is seriously gorgeous and has some fantastic views all over the state. There is an abundance of outdoor activities to pick from out in Utah, and with all the trails and parks in the state, I was glad we went out to Moab for the weekend to explore Arches National Park.
The first thing about Arches that took my breath away was just how incredibly big the place was. This park is 79,679 ACRES LARGE Y’ALL. That’s 15 hiking trails all at varying levels of difficulty and length, 2,000 arches that have been naturally created, opportunities for rock climbing, ATV renting options. They got it all, any way you want to experience Arches is probably achievable. Not only is it so huge, but it’s all happening at more than 5,500 feet above sea level. That’s INSANE to me, it felt like we had gone into another world when entering Arches and we kinda did since it was so high up. I just kept thinking about what it must have been like to discover the place and how shook they must have been.
The first hike we did was the Sand Dune Arch Trail. It was a short like trail that took you to an arch tucked away in a valley.
This was seriously our view the entire time while hiking in Arches. The rocks were so brightly colored, and each arch was so cool to see. Since the rocks were so red, the sand was of course just as vibrant. Honestly between the red sand here in Utah and the black sand in Maui, it was kinda the summer of colorful sand for me haha
At the same place as the Sand Dune Arch was the trail for the Broken Arch. This was a much longer hike but wasn’t by any means difficult. Broken Arch trail took you past two arches and some great views along the way. It’s hard to see in this picture below, but in the background, we could see mountains covered in snow. But anyways like I said, it felt like a completely different world.
Below is what the end of the Broken Arch trail lead us to. We were able to hike to directly underneath the arch, and there were even some large rocks that had fallen to the right we were able to climb up on.
One thing you need to know about Arches National Park is that it gets hot as hell there. You’re hiking directly in the sun, sometimes uphill through sand. You are going to be so thirsty that one water bottle isn’t enough. I brought my Camelbak water pack that I use for music festivals, and it was perfect for a day of hiking.
Since there’s a lot of delicate ecosystems up in Arches, they try not to mark the trails with a lot of signs or anything that could damage thousands of years of growth. While you hike, you need to look out for cairns (pronounced like Karens). They’re little manmade rock stacks that mark the trail, so you know you aren’t wandering into nothingness. PLEASE DON’T DISMANTLE THEM OMG. You guys, we were on this trail this little kid was knocking all of them down, and we had to be like “yo that’s the trail markers” because without those markers we would have been so lost. Not all of these hiking trails are a paved path of sand, sometimes you will be climbing over rocks, and it will seem like there are about 4 different ways you could go so you need to look out for those little rock stacks.
The second day we woke up early to hike the Delicate Arch trail. This is the most popular trail in Arches because Delicate Arch is the image on the Utah license plate. So everyone goes to see this one, and it gets super busy. There’s a limited amount of parking spots, and if they get taken, then they will send you away. Honestly the early you get there the better anyways, the weather will be colder, and the chance to see the sunrise from the top of the mountain would have been breathtaking.
Heads up to those with a fear of heights though. To get to the top of the trail, you literally walk along the edge of a mountain. With a steep drop on the other side and no barrier. With people going both directions. I’m not one to fear heights, but that kinda made me sweat a little.
Once we got to the top of the trail my jaw dropped. It was such a beautiful view to see, and there were even spots you could just sit and take it all in. The best part of the hike was seeing two guys a little older than me with a dozen donuts looking up at the sky saying things like “man the sky is so large.” I related to them on a personal level, and it made me laugh picturing them hiking up carrying a box full of a dozen donuts.
Above is a much better view of the mountains in the back covered in snow! At the base of the Delicate Arch trail were rock drawings left by natives thousands of years ago. Petroglyphs like these have been found around the park and surrounding areas of Moab.