Road Trip: Arches National Park

The last park we visited on our road trip has long been one of my all-time favorites! I’ve spent many family vacations exploring Arches, and this year, I was even more excited to take in the sights with my new camera.

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Since Double Arch has always been one of my favorite spots in the park, we stopped there first to ensure I’d have enough daylight to climb around and take some photos. Most of the sandstone boulders littered beneath the arches can be scaled without too much difficulty, and if you’re really careful, you can even climb up and sit right underneath the smaller arch. The photos below help give you a sense of scale, and you can see where I climbed up and sat to get a better look through the second arch (indicated by the arrow in the photo below)!

The big arch is 104 feet tall – compare that to the 5 1/2-foot-tall person standing under it!

Since we were only able to visit the park for part of the day, I made the most of the short amount of time I had and kept my finger glued to the shutter button (when I didn’t have my hands full climbing, of course).

I felt like I could’ve spent hours admiring Double Arch, but since the sun was already starting to go down, we moved on to other areas of the park.

Though we didn’t have time to take the long hike out to the world-famous Delicate Arch, we stopped briefly to admire it from one of the lower viewpoints… and it still looked pretty good through my zoom lens!

We also stopped by the Devil’s Garden trailhead, but by then it was a bit too dark and cold to take photos in that part of the park. On our way back, though, I got my mom to pull over and park and let me explore somewhere I’d never been before: Skyline Arch.

By this point in the day, the fading sunlight meant that most visitors were clearing out from the trails, and I ended up having the place all to myself. As soon as I left the parking lot and lost sight of the main road, I found myself dropped, quite suddenly, into the eerie silence of the desert wilderness. Being alone out there reminded me of our visit to the Paint Mines, as I felt, again, like a lone explorer taking in the sights on the face of a quiet, alien world. Standing on that trail, temporarily removed from the modern world and surrounded by all of those impressive, towering rock formations and the still, cool air, was a profound, humbling experience.

All too soon, the sun had set, and it was time to leave the park. Though our stay wasn’t nearly long enough for my liking, I was happy enough just to get to see Arches again… and, with any luck, my next visit will be sooner rather than later!

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