First time at Arches NP

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First time at Arches NP

Postby Mountainspirit » Wed Jan 16, 2013 8:56 pm

Hi there folks.
This April, my family and I will spend a few nights in Arches National Park - camping in Devil's Garden. Our "weakest link" hiker can handle moderate - strenuous 6 - 10 mile hikes (i.e., West Maroon Pass, Quandary, Granite Canyon, WY). This is our first time out there and we will have three nights and two full days. I am wondering what you all think are the "must see" hikes/formations that can be squeezed in to that timeframe and stays within the capabilities of my youngest son. As always, I appreciate your suggestions!
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby Scott P » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:13 pm

In 3 days, you can hike all the trails and all are worth doing and must do's.

There are off-trail routes in the park, but maybe stick to the trails on the first trip.

Primitive Loop/Devils Garden is the best hike, but Delicate Arch, Skyline Arch/Broken Arch/Sand Dune Arch Loop, Windows, etc. are all good.

April is the most crowded month of the year. Do not go during Easter Weekend as that is the Jeep Safari. Traffic will be worse than the rush hour in Los Angeles.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby bergsteigen » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:23 pm

I visited Arches last year on my way to a seismic conference in San Diego, and managed to spend a day and a half in Arches doing many of the hikes that Scott mentioned (Delicate Arch for sunrise, primitive loop, sand as well as the other easily accessable trails)

Here are my photos, maps etc:

I'm hoping that next time I'm in the area, I can visit some of the lesser visited areas. With your time frame, you should be able to see the majority of the Park. Enjoy!
Last edited by bergsteigen on Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby jsdratm » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:24 pm

The hike out to Dark Angel/Devils Garden was my favorite and there are a lot of things to see on the way. There is a primitive trail and I tried to take it on the way back, but I slipped and fell on some steep slickrock, which freaked me out and caused me to turn around to take the normal route back. The Delicate Arch is my second favorite. There are also quite a few smaller trails out to various arches and the cool courthouse wash.

I spent two days there and felt like I was able to see most everything, then spent the rest of the time in Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State Park.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby nyker » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:09 pm

Take a quick ride to Dead Horse Point SP - a great panoramic viewpoint there as well as some nice walking.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby mike offerman » Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:50 am

Consider taking a ranger tour through the Fiery Furnace. In my opinion, it is one of the best places in the park.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby abqben56 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:33 am

How old/tall is the youngest person? The primitive loop isn't really strenuous but has a spot or two that might be difficult for a small child to climb up or down. If that isn't an issue, definitely take this one.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby TCUTED » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:01 am

A lesser known trail outside of the park is the "Hidden Valley" Trail just south of the town of Moab, It is free and it takes you up some switch backs and then onto a flat valley. If you follow this north for a ways you will start to turn and go up hill again and you come out on this open gorge, and lots of petreoglyphs. The entire way gives you fantastic views of the La Sal mountains. I know its not "In the Park", but in my opinion it was a very nice chance to get away from the crowds. It's not very long ~ 4.5-5 miles round trip? We did it in an evening after doing some of the hikes in the park.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby milan » Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:49 am

Arches is my favorite park for photographing, I visited about 10 times. Love it. In 2 days, you can really hike all trails in there. If you want some nice pictures, "Delicate Arch" is best during the sunset. Landscape Arch before noon. Double Arch pretty much anytime, maybe early afternoon is the best.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby peter303 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:58 am

You can hit about every road stop and small hike in less than a day.
The classic hike is "delicate arch". Thats in all the pictures. There is a some uphill in that and sealevel people will notice the altitude there.
There are a couple of arches off the beaten path with fewer people.

Moab is about 15 minutes from entrance. Canyon Lands North is about an hour. Theres a whole day of interesting stops there including another classic arch in all the pictures. Plus scenery similar to Grand Canyon. And mystery crater in the northwest. Geologists arent sure whether it is volcanic, impact or tectonic (salt upflow). You can hike or drive into the canyon. At some point the drive requires high clearance.

The south section of Canyon Lands is called Needles. Several interesting hikes and drives there. And south of that are the slot canyons, the site of Aron's infamous adventure. Those require longer hikes.

More than enough stuff for a week.
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby greenhorn1 » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:06 am

Will you have time to do any mountain biking? The trail riding is supreme in MOAB. There are all levels of trails - you don't have to be a pro. I rode my bike through Arches and it was a great way to see the formations. There is also a paved trail that runs from town to Arches and beyond. I can't wait to take my kid out there to ride the trails!
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Re: First time at Arches NP

Postby I Man » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:15 am

Probably not the type of hike you are looking for, but I will mention it anyway. Elephant Butte is probably the most enjoyable scramble I have ever done. I have done it twice now and would repeat it without a second's hesitation.

The distance and elevation gain is trivial - but it is technical.
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