Short Hikes in Arches NP

Moab, UT

Today’s weather forecast contained a pretty strong chance of rain, so we decided just to explore Arches on some short hikes.  That way if it did rain we would be close to the Jeep.   Some area schools must still be on break this week as the park is a bit crowded with families, making some of the more popular spots difficult to visit.  So we’ve decided to visit those spots next week, hoping they will be less crowded.

For our first short adventure today we parked in a small pull-off area next to the road to hike in and visit Skyline Arch.

Skyline Arch

Pictures on an information display showed the arch before and after a large rock fell out of it in 1940.  The picture below shows the pre-1940 arch below and the post-1940 arch above.

You can’t get up in the arch from our approach path, so we hiked around the rocks to see what the view was from the other side.

The other side of Skyline Arch

As soon as we got near the arch on the other side, the nimble hiker took off for the rocks and scrambled up into it.  The hiker was so quick that the photographer couldn’t keep up and was still a distance away while taking the photo below.

But soon he caught up to her and enjoyed a rest inside the arch.

A nearby group of rocks provided a great place for lunch.

The sky darkened as we ate, so as soon as we finished lunch we hiked back to the Jeep.   The sky became a little less threatening as we began to drive, so we headed into an area of the park known as The Windows.  Along the way we had a nice view of one of the most popular sights in the park, the Balanced Rock.  Since it was a bit windy, we parked along the road for a short time to see if the rock would fall over, to no avail.   We’ll keep an eye on it as we explore the park, just in case it falls during one of our visits.

We soon reached our destination, the Windows Section, where there are a number of impressive large arches.  But the parking area was very full and there were many large groups of people on the paths, so we decided to return here next week.

We drove back up the road and found a place where we could pull over and leave the Jeep, then set out over the rocks to visit the Cove of Caves.  There is no developed trail to the Cove and it is visible from the road, so very few people hike in for a closer look.

The Cove of Caves

We spotted the small arch on the left side of the above picture and decided to hike to it for a closer look.

From a distance there appeared to be a canyon behind that arch that we wanted to explore.  So we hiked up to the base of the Cove of Caves and made our way toward the small arch.

Some of the “coves” along the path were huge!

As we went around the back of the arch, we had to scramble up some fairly large boulders.

After scrambling up the rocks, we found that there is no canyon behind that arch, but we did have a nice view of it from another angle.  We thought we could climb right into the arch, but as we hiked nearer we were stopped by a deep, wide gap in front of it which prevented us from going further.

There were some interesting rock formations in the area behind the arch.  One reminded us of the rear of the Titanic as it disappeared into the Atlantic.

On the return hike our group divided in two, just like Lewis and Clarke on their return from the Pacific, with Pam exploring the lower wash area and John scrambling on the slickrock at the base of the arch.

As we made our way back, we spotted another example of the 98% Rule (98% of Americans are stupid).   The picture below shows what’s known as the Double Arch.  We hiked to its base hoping to climb up into it, but found the rocks too steep to climb.   It is fairly easy to climb into it from the other side using a path from that crowded parking area we had just avoided.

As we passed by it returning to the Jeep, we noticed a young boy sliding dangerously down the rocks from the inside of the arch.  With the father watching, a second even younger boy tried to get down, but stopped and yelled that it was too steep.  But the boy at the bottom encouraged him so he slid down, barely avoiding tumbling over on his head.

The father in the arch with the two boys in the lower right

The older boy yelled up that the younger one may not be able to get back up.   But the father said not to worry, if he could get down, he could get back up as it would be easier.  Apparently the father hasn’t done much hiking on rocks!   When the boys couldn’t get back up the father said that they should just hike around the arch back to the path, but they shouldn’t do anything dangerous.  Guess it was a little late for that advice!

We escaped the rain all day and tomorrow’s forecast is for sunshine.  So it looks like a longer hike is in our future.  More on that later . . .

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20 Responses to Short Hikes in Arches NP

  1. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    Awesome pictures…I can’t wait to get there.

    That Dad needs the ” Stupid Dad of the Year” award!

    Have fun tomorrow!

    • placestheygo says:

      I agree! I was disappointed in the picture because it doesn’t show the true height those boys came down. It was very steep. The second boy wasn’t more than six.

      Arches is another amazing place! You’ll love it.

  2. Sure hope the crowds leave soon. Should be in Moab by Sunday. Steve wants to take the jeep off road. Would be great to meet up with you guys.

  3. Allison says:

    Islands in the Sky at Canyonlands is the most AMAZING place we’ve ever seen. I hope you have time to get there. That part of Utah is so beautiful.

  4. Lisa says:

    Love the photo of Pam inside the arch!

    Here in Silver City we noticed a school bulletin board proclaiming spring break was not until 4/8! It makes for the neverending holiday for us retired folk!

  5. Marsha says:

    Yep…that sky doesn’t look promising.

    Great before and after photo of the arch. It looks so cool now that the big rock has fallen out. Amazing how an arch can look so different from the other side.

    The Titanic photo is a great one!

    Perfect example of the 98% Rule. Some people just do not have any common sense! Then to allow two young boys to hike by themselves…even dumber!

    Looks like you two are off to a great start in Arches NP. Looking forward to climbing along with your. Enjoy and be safe.

  6. cathy says:

    You might want to check out one of our favorite hikes in Arches, Devil’s Garden…and make sure you continue along the “primitive” portion of the trail to return to the trail head. We had to climb and scamper over rocks, and it looks like you don’t have a problem doing that. Have fun!!

    • placestheygo says:

      Oh, Cathy, we are looking forward to doing this hike. You are the second person to recommend it. We definitely want to go beyond the Landscape Arch so we can get away front the crowds. We are hoping things will calm down next week a little. Otherwise, we will be hiking at sunrise and sunset!!!

  7. Ingrid says:

    Will you be heading east or west after Arches? Too the west is Goblin Valley and to the east is The Monument in Grand Junction. Oh, so many places to explore. Love your header photo!

    • placestheygo says:

      Well, Ingrid, we have changed our plans yet again! Seems we do that every few days. We are going to be here for at least three weeks, then head west Torrey to visit friends and Capital Reefs. We will then continue south to Bryce and Cedar Breaks. Finally, move east to the Natural Bridge and that area. We are trying to time our arrival into the southwestern area of CO to meet up with friends. You are right…there are sooo many places to see!! I do hope to hit Goblin Valley in there somewhere!!

  8. Amanda says:

    Looks like you did a good job staying away from the crowds. Love the arch photos- get’s me excited for our upcoming visit! Totally agree with you on the 98% rule. The other day we witnessed two very young boys climbing up very tall, very wet rocks by themselves. The grandparents were about 100 feet away and instead of telling them to get down, just shouted words of encouragement for the kids to go higher! Stupid, stupid. Sometimes I think people should have to pass a common sense test before hiking in national parks.

  9. From amazing rock formations to amazing arches! Your hikes always excite me and beautiful shots of the arches. Be safe in your adventures.

  10. LuAnn says:

    We are so envious of your adventures in Utah but your blog is such a great journal for us when we head that direction. Great photos of some stunning country. Safe travels!

  11. Conrad says:

    When you leave Torrey take Hwy. 12 over Boulder Mtn. Great views and a lot of interesting places to stop. Good back roads out of Boulder and Escalante. Hole in the Rock is south of Escalante. And Kodachrome Basin S.P. is nearby.

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