Located in south-east Utah, Arches National Park was designated as a National Monument in 1929 (later designated as a National Park in 1971) to protect and showcase over 2,000 natural arches along with countless other interesting rock formations. Even with so much to see, visitors can get a great feel for the park and see a good portion of the arches and natural formations during a 24-hour visit. Highlighted in this post are my top 5 recommended arches (including an honorary 6th) for all Arches National Park patrons, and especially those with a time constraint. All of the arches below are accessible via well-marked trails and none are more than 3 miles round trip.
This is the most well-known arch in the world, and the design for the Utah auto license plate—do I need to give any other reasons?
Located on the eastern side of the park, the trailhead for Delicate Arch is a 13 mile drive north from the visitor’s center. From the trailhead, the hike to Delicate Arch is 3 miles, round trip, with a steady moderate incline going out to the arch. I would highly recommend visiting at sunrise or sunset.
Most famous from a brief appearance in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Double Arch is unique in that two massive arches protrude from the same sandstone façade.
Double Arch is only a short walk (0.5 miles round trip) from the parking lot and is in close proximity to many other sites including North and South Windows, and the Turret Arch.
Landscape Arch is the longest arch in Arches National Park, and at 290 feet wide at the base, it is considered to be the 5th longest natural arch in the world. Landscape Arch is located along the Devil’s Garden Trail (northern-most part of the park) and is approximately a 1.3 mile hike from the trailhead.
Not far from Landscape Arch, Navajo Arch is tucked away among sandstone rock faces. The arch itself acts as an entryway into a protected cove that gives the feeling of security and solitude. Navajo Arch likewise sits along the Devil’s Garden Trail, less than 0.5 miles beyond Landscape Arch.
Double O Arch
Double O Arch (not to be confused with Double Arch) is a set of two arches cut out of the same sandstone façade.
Not only is Double O Arch a spectacular sight, but the hike to Double O Arch gives an incredible view of the surrounding landscape and northern section of the park. Double O Arch is also located on the Devil’s Garden Trail, roughly an additional 0.5 miles beyond Navajo Arch.
While not located in the National Park, Corona Arch is well worth the visit for anyone spending time in the town of Moab and Arches National Park.
Until a couple of years ago, Corona Arch was a popular spot for extreme sports enthusiasts who set up a rope swing from the top of the arch (See YouTube videos). BLM has since banned such activities at the arch. The trailhead for Corona Arch is located south of Arches National Park (take Potash Road from Highway 191 for 10 miles) along Potash Road. The trail itself is 3 miles round trip and is very well marked.
For more information on Arches and other National Parks in southern Utah click here.