Arches National Park

After a day-and-a-half of driving (including a night in Kansas with Aunt Rachel and Cousin Dustin), Allison and I arrived in Moab, Utah shortly before dark. We decided it would be fun to camp out the first night, so we drove up into the mountains of Manti-La Sal National Forest a few miles away, pulled off the road, and pitched our tent right as the sun went down.

Campsite (Mt. Peale in background)

Allison cooking dinner

The next morning we found ourselves caught in a snowstorm, which gradually turned into a rainstorm as we descended into the valley. Though it only lasted a few hours, this was hardly the kind of weather we expected for our first day in the desert.

For our morning hike, we decided on a 7.2 mile trip through Devil’s Garden. This is actually the longest maintained trail in the park, and offers views of Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Landscape Arch, Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, Black Arch, Double-O Arch, Private Arch, and several smaller unnamed arches. By the time we finished, my poor belly was requesting a trip to the golden arches (it had to settle for tuna salad).

Landscape Arch

Partition Arch

Double-O Arch

The trail itself reminded me a bit of Garden of the Gods in Southern Illinois, with plenty of climbing, scrambling, and exposed cliffs. Rather than following your typical dirt/gravel trail, much of the route traversed wide stretches of slickrock and was marked by strategically-placed rock cairns.

(That's me)

Natural bridge over Devil's Garden

Devil's Garden

Trail marker

"Cliff? What cliff?"

In the afternoon, we decided on a 3.0 mile hike up to the famous Delicate Arch. On the way, we got to see a late-1800’s cabin and some Native American petroglyphs. It was only 4:00pm when we finished, so we decided to drive partway to Zion National Park rather than stay another night near Moab.

Allison & her hiking hat

Delicate Arch


We’ll be hiking in Zion Wednesday-Friday, so expect another update later this week.

Approximate Total Distance: 10.2 miles

Published in: on May 17, 2011 at 11:55 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Definitely jealous!

  2. It looks like the vacation is off to a great start! Well documented with both your photographs and text. Love Dad

  3. Very nice guys. Have fun exploring. Find any caves?
    Sorry can’t help myself got caves on the brain. Maybe you can find a cure for that Mat.

    • No caves, unfortunately. We did find some sort of animal den however. I told Allison to crawl in and I’d take a picture, but she didn’t go for it. Hehe.

  4. The delicate in the background made you and your wife’s pic like it’s a postcard. Such a beautiful place.

    • Yeah, it’s a pretty popular tourist destination. I definitely want to go back some day when we have kids.

  5. Delicate Arch …

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