We traveled to Arches National Park on Saturday, July 2nd a day when the mercury soared to over 100F! Despite the heat, I was really glad to be there. Located in eastern Utah, this park has over 2000 natural sandstone arches, including the very famous Delicate Arch (which is about a 3 mile hike…more on that later in this post).
We had flown into Salt Lake City the previous night, rented a car and drove down to Provo to spend the night there. After a good night’s sleep, we left our hotel for Arches National Park by about 9:00 AM (it was about 200 miles – almost 4 hours drive to the park gate). We had planned to stay for about 4-5 hours in the park, as we planned to return back to our hotel in Provo for the night.
4-5 hours is sufficient time (yes even with a baby!) to drive through all of the paved park roads, spending about ten minutes at each viewpoint (La Sal Mountain viewpoint, the Organ, Tower of Babel, Petrified Dunes, fiery Furnace viewpoint and Balanced Rock) and taking quick drives through the Windows Section, Panorama Point and Delicate Arch Viewpoint. Unfortunately, long hikes were out of the question for us with our 9 month old, hence we stuck to the paved roads..though this definitely helped us to cool down in the car after being out in the scorching heat for those panoramic views and much desired pictures. The landscape was very different from anything i had seen before…I was completely awed by the size of the arches and sandstone formations. Also, since it was a hot and bright day…we got some amazing contrasts with the red brown rocks against the clear blue sky.
Hike to the delicate Arch: Since we were a little pressed for time, the only hike that i could fit into our schedule was to the Delicate Arch.
My initial thoughts were to embark on this trail carrying my 9 month old on a shoulder sling…though i am really glad my wife talked me out of it!
She decided to stay back with Daivik, and i promised to be back as quickly as i could. Everything would have gone as per plan if I had just stuck to the trail. I have always had a soft corner for climbing rocks and hills (probably something to do with the 10 years i spent in Darjeeling :-)), and decided to take a more unconventional route to the arch (also hopeful that it would save me some time). Unfortunately, i was completely lost and out of water..and barely managed to reach the arch after a very perilous hike! So, my strong suggestion is to stick to the trail and that is exactly what i did on the way back! Anyways, some positives were that i got to glimpse the arch from a point where very few would have seen…and i did get some amazing shots of the park and the salt valley below.
After the adventure, we also drove to the the Delicate Arch view point and took a few more shots of the lovely arch from a distance. Unfortunately we could not remain for much longer and hit the road by 6:00 PM.
Some helpful tips:
- Carry plenty of water and drinks (we had bought a disposable thermocol cooler from Walmart, this really helped keeping all our drinks cool)
- We stopped over in Moab (just a couple of miles away) on our way into the park for some food. Options are very limited inside the park (i think only the souvenir shop has some sandwiches)
- If you can definitely go for the hike to the Delicate Arch…worth every step!
- Try and plan your trip so that you are at the park (more specifically at the Delicate Arch) around sunset…you will get some amazing pics