Arches National Park is a great family park. Foot trails lead to many park features. You can see much from your car, but to grasp the aura of time and silence and experience the scale so special here, spend some time hiking and enjoying the park.
|Balance Rock||0.3 mi / 0.5 km||Easy walk around the base of Balanced Rock|
|Broken Arch||1.3 mi / 2.1 km||Easy trail across grassland|
|Delicate Arch||3.0 mi / 4.8 km||Elevation gain of 480 feet / 146 meters; no shade - take at least one quart of water per person! Open slickrock with some exposure to heights. Best at sunset|
|Delicate Arch Viewpoint||100 yds / 91 m||Surfaced trail, distant view of arch; reach base of arch only on Delicate Arch Trail|
|Desert Nature||Short||Self-guided nature walk that follows numbered posts which corresponds to a brochure available at the trailhead|
|Devils Garden||2.0 mi / 3.2 km||Distance is round trip to Landscape Arch. Longest of the maintained trails in the park, the Devils Garden trail passes nearly a dozen arches and offers excellent views of the fins, Salt Valley, and the LaSal Mountains. The trail to Landscape Arch is an easy hike|
|Devils Garden||4.0 mi / 6.4 km||Distance is round trip to Double-O Arch. Longest of the maintained trails in the park, the Devils Garden trail passes nearly a dozen arches and offers excellent views of the fins, Salt Valley, and the LaSal Mountains. The trail to Landscape Arch is fairly easy, but is somewhat steeper and rockier beyond.|
|Devils Garden||5.0 mi / 8.0 km||Distance is round trip to Double-O Arch returning via the primitive loop trail. Longest of the maintained trails in the park, the Devils Garden trail passes nearly a dozen arches and offers excellent views of the fins, Salt Valley, and the LaSal Mountains. The trail to Landscape Arch is fairly easy, but is somewhat steeper and rockier beyond. The primitive trail add's a mile's length to the return, and goes down into mysterious Fin Canyon.|
|Double Arch||0.8 mi / 1.2 km||Easy trail through some loose sand; spectacular arch.|
|Double O Arch||4.2 mi / 6.8 km||Difficult with many short elevation changes, rocky footing, some exposure to heights. Add side trips to Navajo and Partition Arches.|
|Fiery Furnace||2.0 mi / 3.2 km||Starting point is at the Fiery Furnace Parking Area. This moderately strenuous hike takes about 3.0 hrs. This ranger guided hike is offered twice a day, to explore the labyrinth of sandstone canyons. Tickets may be purchased up to 7 days in advance. Fees: $ 8:00 adult, $ 4.00 for children 6 to 12 and Golden Age Pass holders. $ 2.00 per person for the permit to hike alone after you have watched the video at the visitor center. No marked trails exist in this area, so unless you are an experienced Fiery Furnace explorer, join one of the guided hikes.|
|Landscape Arch||1.6 mi / 2.6 km||Moderately easy with some elevation gain; gravel surface. Short side trips to Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches.|
|Park Avenue||2.0 mi / 3.2 km||Moderately easy; short hill leads to smooth rock canyon bottom; tall walls, balanced rocks.|
|Primitive Loop||2.2 mi / 3.5 km||From Double O to Landscape Arch. Difficult low route through fins; short section of smooth slickrock; slippery when wet. Side trip to Private Arch.|
|Sand Dune Arch||0.3 mi / 0.5 km||Easy trail that's great for kids!|
|Skyline Arch||0.4 mi / 0.6 km||Moderately walk over rocks to closer view of arch.|
|Tower Arch||3.4 mi / 3.8 km||Moderately difficult in remote section of Klondike Bluffs. Some sand and elevation changes.|
|Windows||1.0 mi / 1.6 km||Easy walk to North and South Windows and Turret Arch. Complete loop, for view of both windows, is more strenuous.|
Rangers lead walks into the Fiery Furnace twice each day. The cost is $ 8.00 for adults; $ 4.00 for children 6 to 12 years old and Golden Age Pass holders. Group size is limited, and walks often fill a day or two in advance. Reservations can be made in person at the visitor center up to seven days in advance.
Tips for Hiking in Arches
Stay on the trails so you don't impact the cryptobiotic crust covering the fragile desert soils or the other plant life. This is very important.
Be sure to take and drink water. A gallon per person per day is recommended; don't skimp, even on short trails.
Wear good hiking shoes.
Carry out all of your trash, including cigarette butts.
Arches is a relatively small park, with very few areas far enough from roads to qualify as backcountry. Outside the developed areas there are no designated trails, campsites, or reliable water sources.
Pets may not accompany groups in the backcountry.
In order to backpack in Arches, you must obtain a free backcountry permit at the visitor center. The maximum group size is twelve, but smaller groups are strongly recommended to reduce impacts. Permits may not be reserved in advance. Backpackers should know how to navigate with a topographic map, recognize safety hazards and practice low-impact camping specific to the high desert. Primary safety considerations include steep terrain, loose rock, lightning, flash floods, and dehydration.
Cryptobiotic Crust. Its alive, so watch your step! But it won't bite you. Once called cryptogamic soil, this dark crust covers much of the untrampled desert. Composed of cyanobacteria as well as lichen, algae and fungi, this covering protects against erosion, absorbs moisture provided nitrogen and other nutrients for plant growth. Avoid crushing these life-giving organisms. Stay on trails. Without these crusts, many of the larger plants could not survive, and if the plants go, so do the animals. The desert could lose much of the life that makes it such a magical place.
The rock at Arches offers excellent climbing opportunities, despite its sandy nature. Most climbing routes in the park require advanced techniques. Permits are not required, unless the trip involves an overnight stay in the backcountry. It the responsibility of all climbers to know and obey park regulations and route closures. Rock climbing guides to Arches and the surrounding area are available at the visitor center and through the bookstore.
Moab Area Mountain Bike Trails and Information
The Moab Slickrock Bike Trail is well known as one of the nation's superior mountain bike trails, but local riders know that it is one of the many great rides in Canyon Country.
Essential Equipment Checklist
|Gemini Bridge||13.5 mi||1 Day||Hwy 313 at a point 0.9 miles west of the Mineral Bottom turnoff; 12.6 miles west of the Utah 323/US191 junction; This easy ride on a dirt road is not a loop trail and requires a shuttle. This trail is well known to local riders for its scenery and long descents. The trail, except for the climb out of Little Canyon is nearly all downhill back to Hwy 191.|
|Hurrah Pass||33.0 mi||1 Day||Junction of Hwy 191 and Kane Creek Boulevard in Moab; This ride may be shortened by selecting a beginning point along the route closer to Hurrah Pass such as Kane Creek Canyon. It is an easy ride on paved and graded dirt road. The road initially parallels a stream, then climbs above it. The high point beyond the amphitheater is Anticline Overlook. Hurrah Pass is located below and to the right of the point.|
|Monitor / Merrimac||13.2 mi||0.5 Day||Drive north on US 191 for about 15 miles, turn left onto a dirt road north of highway marker 141, cross the tracks and follow the road for 0.6 miles to an intersection which is the starting and end of this loop ride; This 4-wheel drive, washbottom, and slickrock is an easy ride with views of the Monitor and Merrimac buttes, Determination Towers, and the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail.|
|Slickrock||9.6 mi||0.5 Day||The trail is marked by white dashes painted on the slickrock. Intersections, points of interest and caution zones are indicated with yellow paint. The Slickrock Trail is a very difficult trail. It is technically demanding and strenuous. Be sure your brakes are in good working order.|
Minimum Impact Biking Practices
Ride only on open roads or trails; riding cross-country, taking shortcuts, and play riding across campsites damages plants and soils.
Learn to recognize and preserve cryptobiotic soil crusts.
This delicate, often black, crusty-looking complex of soil and slowly growing algae, mosses, bacteria, and lichens retains water, reduces erosion, and provides a stable base from which higher plants can flourish. It takes many years for cryptobiotic soil crust to recover from ruts created from one bike. If you don't know what it looks like, have someone point it out.
Locking your wheels needlessly damages trails and leaves ugly tire marks on slickrock. Stay in control by "feathering your brakes".
Soils with high clay content, e.g. the first several miles of the Monitor and Merrimac Trail, turn into slippery, chain clogging mud when wet. Riding through these areas under wet conditions leaves deep ruts that accelerate trail erosion.
Riparian areas, the communities of water-loving plants along streams, are precious to wildlife. Wildlife concentrate in these areas and can be displaced by recreation use.
Washing mud off bikes and bathing can introduce lubrication, soaps, and oils from sunscreen into water sources critical for the survival of small animals.
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