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Why Arches National Park Is a Must for Your Travel List

Kam Wixom

For some people, a vacation entails sitting in a hammock or poolside. However, there are those of us who want a little more adventure in our getaway. That's where our country's National Park system has so much to offer, from natural beauty within the landscape to engaging activities that range in intensity. One of these nationally recognized wonders is Arches National Park, nearly 77 thousand acres of unique geological resources and formations. There is much to discover within this expanse of red rock and the eastern Utah environment. Here are just some of the reasons that Arches National Park should be on your must-see list.

Arches National Park Delicate Morning

It offers plenty of outdoor activities for you to enjoy.

Moab, Utah, is considered the adventure capital of the western United States. Adjacent to the Colorado River, Arches National Park offers several recreational activities that feed the appetite of any active visitor. Rock climbing is allowed within parts of the park, however, not on any of the arches, especially those named and recognized, like the 52-foot-high Delicate Arch that has become a state symbol for Utah. Visitors can sign up for a permit to take part in canyoneering, jumping, walking, and swimming through the terrific, intense red rock landscape associated with the Utah desert.

With trails throughout the state, Arches National Park is also regarded for its unique terrain for mountain biking. On the Slickrock Trail, eons of erosion have created a unique atmosphere that allows for this national park to stand out among the beauties of the United States. Off-roading is also quite popular within the region, as many people come from across the globe annually to take part in tours that cross that same terrain for 4x4 riders to enjoy. Permits are also required for this activity unless you book with a touring company that can take you across the Arches' expanses.

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It's considered one of the most spectacular hiking grounds

With such remarkable scenery, hikes are the best opportunity to truly enjoy the rock formations of Arches National Park. Most short and easy hikes are available from a guided van tour, just a short distance from the parking lots of the most popular stops. The hikes and trails within the park vary in length and difficulty based on terrain. One of the more popular options is a trek to the iconic Delicate Arch, a steady climb in elevation to a narrow ledge that descends into a huge, natural slickrock bowl. In this sandstone depression, Delicate Arch stands in all its majesty in the eastern Utah desert.

While that hike is better suited to experts, you may want to opt for a lighter trail depending on your group size and abilities. The Park Avenue Trail, starting from one of the first designated points of interest within Arches, follows through the bottom of the canyon and lets visitors take in massive monoliths like Courthouse Towers and the Tower of Babel. There's also the Double Arch Trail, an easy gravel terrain leading to one fin which houses two arches. Those arches are actually a bit famous: They're seen in the opening of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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It offers so many sights and wonders you may not even know about

With 150 million years of natural development, Arches National Park has so much to showcase within the Colorado Plateau. With more than 2,000 arches, the help of a tour guide is recommended to make your way through these astounding geological forces. Ranger programs through the National Park Service allow visitors to get a look at some of the greatest landmarks within the park at different hours of the day. The Sunset Discovery trek lets you see all the best sights from the comfort of a tour bus. With easy walking paths as the primary focus of the sunset tour, it's a perfect trip for all ages.

You can even explore these amazing arches and chasms in the morning light. This adventure is for those wanting to explore off the paved walkways and onto the rocks a little more. This bus tour also comes with guided hikes to all the best sights. You can even take advantage of an aerial tour to fly over these spectacular rock formations such as Courthouse Towers, Devils Garden, Castle Valley, and of course, the majestic Colorado River. Be sure to book these tours in advance through the Arches' visitor center to make sure that you and your group are equipped for whatever the tour encompasses.

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It accommodates tourists any time of year

There's no bad time to take in these arches and natural bridges of eastern Utah. Depending on your preferred weather, Arches National Park welcomes tourists all year long. While the thought of the desert does turn some people away, there are plenty of temperature fluctuations within this "high-desert" region, creating a semi-arid climate because of elevation. In the summer months, visitors can plan for highs from the low 90s into the triple digits. Snow is not unusual in the winter months with highs in the 40s to 50s and lows below freezing. Spring and autumn bring temperate months with highs generally in the 70s.

It's recommended that you determine the best season for your group, especially if you plan on camping while visiting the region. After all, Arches National Park is a stargazer's paradise, providing an unobstructed look at the night sky as a backdrop to beautiful red rockscapes. Stargazing is best within the park at the Devils Garden campground, with 51 campsites available to visitors who book ahead of schedule. However, there are plenty of other campgrounds and lodging options within the surrounding southeast Utah area that may be better suited to your wants and needs.

With so many reasons to take in the destination's scenic beauty, be sure to take the time to explore all of the exhilarating options that are at your disposal. For these reasons and more, Moab's Arches National Park is the ultimate getaway for anyone who loves nature and the outdoors, and it's a must for anyone's travel list.

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Kam Wixom
Kam Wixom
Kam began guiding in the Grand Canyon in 1991, met & guided with his wife in 2000, and is the proud daddy of 5 kids. He now works as the Marketing Director for Western River Expeditions. Read more from this author