Stop 11-Arches National Park, UT

Stop 11-Arches National Park, UT

“We fought a few different elements, including the incline, wind and the flying dust in our faces, and the worst of them all: the crowd of people venturing to the same place.”

The Beginning

Hmmm what to say about Arches National Park?

It’s really cool, but it’s REALLY hot.

We woke up even before the sun did in Grand Junction in order to make it to our decided-upon first-come-first-serve campground.  Waking up so early (around 4:45am) was worth it though.  We managed to claim our campsite without any issues, besides not having the appropriate bills to pay the $15.00/night camping fee.

In Rocky Mountain National Park, we stayed in a National Park Service campground. Here, we chose Goose Island Campground, given that Arches only has one campground in the actual park, and it just so happens to be closed right now due to construction.  This is a campground only down the road from the Arches NP entrance and is part of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Let’s face it though, we probably wouldn’t have been able to book a site at the campground in Arches anyways.  Not with the crowds this park brings in.

The Middle

Once we finished staking our claim on the campsite, we didn’t stick around for long.  We were already tired, but we headed to the park entrance ASAP to avoid any traffic.  It was too early to visit the Park Visitor’s Center, so we did a self-guided driving tour of all of Arches’ points of interest.

We did not expect this whatsoever, but it took us about 4 hours to drive through the park, stopping at each of the rock formations, and doing the small hikes to get a closer view of the towering red rock.

By the time we were finished driving through the park, it was the hottest part of day, and we were pooped.  Obviously (and sadly), we can’t wake up that early and still be fully functional for the rest of the day.  We stopped at the visitor’s center to talk to a ranger about some hikes, look at some exhibits, and watch a short film about the park.

The little theater room where they played the movie felt amazing.  It was heavily air conditioned and dark.  We wished we could have taken a nap in there.  Maybe, we should have.

Instead, we headed into the town of Moab (only a few miles down the road from Arches) to grab some cash, ice, and firewood.  We decided to walk around awhile, but it was only getting hotter.  We decided to get out of town, and head back to the campground.

Remember how I just mentioned we should have taken a nap in the movie theater at the park Visitor’s Center?  Instead, we went back to our sparsely shaded campsite and took a sweaty nap in the back of the van.  It was pretty bad.

Before taking the nap, we had planned to wake up and go for a hike down the road from the campground.  BUT, we slept a little too long, which is surprising because it was really hard to sleep in the heat.  Somehow, it happened, so we decided to skip the hike for that night and start making dinner.

It cooled off enough by the time we went to bed and we were able to sleep pretty comfortably.

The End

The next morning, we made a protein heavy breakfast (scrambled eggs and turkey bacon), got our day-pack ready, and hit the trail.  We were told by the ranger to make the hike to Delicate Arch.  So that’s what we did.  We fought a few different elements, including the incline, wind and the flying dust in our faces, and the worst of them all: the crowd of people venturing to the same place.

It makes sense that so many people come to this park.  Especially, the Delicate Arch Trail.  This arch is one, if not the most, photographed Arch rock formation in the world.  It’s also a pretty significant symbol of Utah (it’s what decorates the Utah license plates).  But despite those factors, the arch is brilliant and is definitely worth the hike there.

At the start of the trail, there is also a few other neat points of interests you can pull over to see.  Wolfe Ranch is right near the parking lot and is where a man named John Wesley Wolfe and his family decided to build a homestead, at least for a while.  We can imagine that it would be hard to live in the high desert summer heat and brittle winters. On one of the rocks along the trail, you can view a few petroglyphs drawn.  There not the oldest petroglyphs but they’re still really cool!

Later in the day, after the mid-day heat dissolved a little, we hit the trail again.  The ranger told us about this trail also.  It was only about a mile from our campground and leads to a natural bridge.  The trail is called Negro Bill Trail (sounds like an older name).  It was a nice hike and a good way to end our time in Arches!

We won’t be going too far though.  We are heading to Canyonlands National Park next!  The campgrounds there are also first-come-first-serve, so we will be waking up early again tomorrow.  Yay!

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