Best Hikes and Photo Spots in the Arches National Park
Arches NP is one of the most famous National Parks in Utah. It is a nice park but because of its fame it is quite crowded. We spent only one day in the park so we had a lot to discover in little time. Most sights are located in two sections of the park: the Windows Section and Devils Garden. When you enter the park you pass the first arches and the Balancing Rock formation in the Windows Section. When you drive further into the park you pass the street and trail to Delicate Arch. The park road ends at Devils Garden (here is also the campground) from where a trail starts to Double O Arch, Landscape Arch, and some others.
For more details and a map see also the Arches National Park Visitor Guide retrieved from the National Park Service website, which you can download here.
Camping: If you plan to come to the national park in summer it is nearly impossible to get a site at Devils Garden Campground without reservation. So if you know when you will be there get a reservation! That’s why we only visited the park for one day and drove to a nearby campground outside the park in the evening.
In the following I will describe the best places in the park sorted by section.
Before the intersection to the Windows district, you pass the Balancing Rock formation, which is named after a stone structure where the upper part is much bigger than the rest of the stone formation. In the Windows Section some short trails are leading to Double Arch and Turret Arch as well as South and North Window Arch. On all the trails you can find nice photo spots! If you look through the North Window you can see Turret Arch. Another famous photo spot is Double Arch which also looks great at night with stars.
Delicate Arch was our favorite Arch although it was crowded with people as well. A trail leads you in less than an hour directly to the Arch which stands on the opposite of an amphitheater-like stone basin. A great time for photographing Delicate Arch is sunset. Then the red rock glows in the evening sun. Unfortunately, that’s also the most crowded time during high-season. The later it gets the more people sit around and wait for sunset. It was a bit crazy. But although there were lots of people we got some really nice shots from the Arch. We waited until it was dark to take some shots of the Arch with the Milkyway as well.
For more info about how to take nice star and milky way shots we will soon release a blog entry on Night Photography! So dont forget to subscribe to not miss out!
The trail at devils garden leads you to Double O Arch. An Arch formation with one Arch on top of the other. On the way, you pass several other arches. The first one is Pine Tree Arch which is not that spectacular but a nice start. After a short walk you reach Landscape Arch which was maybe my second favorite arch in the national park. It is really thin and really big. It is the longest of the many natural rock arches in the Arches NP spanning over 88.4 m (290.1 feet) it will impress you.
A little walk from the main trail is Navajo Arch, which you can see in the photo below. It’s more like a big hole in a big rock.
After you passed those Arches it is another short walk to the last Arch on the Trail: Double O Arch. If you climb through the hole that is the lower one of the two Arches, you can reach a good spot to take pictures (pic below was taken there)!