A Non-Hikers Drive Through Guide To Arches National Park

I know not everyone likes hiking.  I know not everyone has time to hike when they visit national parks.  So that’s why I decided to share a non-hiking drive through guide to Arches, one of my favorite parks.  While most of this doesn’t require hiking, there will be some hiking involved, but it’s all under a mile and more like a stroll to get to the arches.  It’s all easy, nothing difficult or time-consuming.  This guide will tell you all the thing to see in Arches National Park that require little to no hiking.

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Park Avenue

Your first stop is going to be Park Avenue.  This is a 4-mile round-trip hike or 2 miles and requires a second vehicle.  I’ve never done the hike, but I love stopping here just to admire the view.  Standing at the top of the trailhead, it feels like you’re entering an old western movie.  It can be kind of busy here, but it’s definitely worth the stop.  I think it’s one of the best views in the park, of course, there are a lot of those, though.

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La Sal Mountain Viewpoint

Next up, and not too far from Park Avenue, is the La Sal Mountain Viewpoint.  I actually didn’t ever stop here until my most recent visit.  We had the perfect view of the mountains to our right and the back side of Park Avenue along the road to our left.  I really liked this spot.  I also realized I really like the view of the road winding along the back of Park Avenue.

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Garden of Eden

Right before the turnoff for the Windows, you’ll be able to stop and see Balanced Rock.  I still haven’t stopped to take a picture of that yet, even after like, ten visits.  But the first stop you’ll come to on The Windows turnoff is Garden of Eden.  We got lucky on our second visit there to see it with snow on the ground and a cool fog in the area.  There isn’t really hiking here, but it’s a pretty cool area for pictures.

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The Windows and Double Arch

Next up, at the end of this side road, is The Windows and Double Arch.  These both require short hikes to see up close, but can also be seen from the parking lot.  I would recommend at least walking to Double Arch, though.  It’s one of my favorites in the park.  The hike through The Windows is one-mile round-trip and the hike to Double Arch is half a mile round-trip.  Both are easy and relatively flat.

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This area can get pretty crazy in the summer, so try and go early or in the evening, around dinner time.  We weren’t able to even find a parking spot when we went last summer.  If you can, go in the winter, do it.  You will pretty much have it to yourself.  You can climb up into the bottom of Double Arch, but if it’s busy, just remember people are probably trying to take pictures of it without you in it.

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Lower Delicate Arch View + Petroglyphs

Now you’ll be coming up to the Delicate Arch turnoff.  There are two option here that are both super short walks.  The first is the Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint.  From the parking lot, there is a little viewing area where you can see the arch, though it is kind of far away.  If you don’t mind hiking a little more, you can hike up the little trail.  The hike is either 100 yards (to the first view) or .5 miles if you do the little hike.

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Next, or vice versa, head to the Upper Delicate Arch trailhead.  You passed it on your way to the lower parking area.  If you want to do the whole hike, you can, but it’s three miles round trip and is fairly strenuous, especially if you aren’t in shape.  But, you can still take the short walk to Wolfe Ranch and to the petroglyphs.  These are in really good condition and super easy to get to.  If you want to see more outside of the park, head down Potash Road.

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Sand Dune Arch

The next two stops are right along the road and are fairly quick.  The first is Sand Dune Arch.  This is a short stroll into what almost feels like a slot canyon.  The whole trail is .3 miles.  The arch is tucked away off on the right side.  You’ll be walking in fairly deep sand to get to it, but it’s pretty easy.  If you are up for a little longer of a hike, head to Broken Arch (two miles round trip) from the same trailhead.  It’s not as busy as Sand Dune, but it’s pretty cool.  If you go through the arch and look back where you came from, it’s a pretty nice view.

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Skyline Arch

Skyline Arch is next and comes in at .4 miles round trip.  I liked this one and the area around it.  I saw somebody in the arch when we went, but we couldn’t figure out how they got up there.  I’m also just not sure you’re supposed to be there.  This is a nice quick stop on your way to the Devil’s Garden area.

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Pine Tree and Tunnel Arch

These two arches are the easiest to get to in the Devil’s Garden loop.  It’s will be just under a mile round trip to see both arches.  If you’re going to one, it’s silly to not go to the other.  Head out on the Devil’s Garden trail and take the first right you come to.  Go down the hill and there will be Tunnel Arch to your right and Pine Tree Arch to your left.  I prefer pine tree.  There are some pretty good views from down there.

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If you’re really feeling ambitious, you could tack on a trip to Landscape Arch (the one on the outside of the map) which is 1.6 miles roundtrip from the parking area, but would only add a little distance with the other two.  This hike is a little hilly, but it isn’t super tough.  In the winter, it can be snowy on the trail making it a little slippery, but it’s still worth it.

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This is just a really cool area, but similar to The Windows, it gets super busy in the summer, like, can’t find a parking spot (again) busy.  Most people don’t do the whole Devil’s Garden hike, so if that’s what you’re there for, it might not be crazy on the trail.  A lot of people just go to these three arches though.  This is also where the campground is if you happen to be camping in the park.

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Sunset at The Windows

Finally, you’ll head back to The Windows area to watch the sunset over the formations and the La Sal Mountains.  We went to the rock just after the keyhole-shaped arch across from The Windows.  No matter where you are here, it will be a pretty good view.  This is the perfect end to the day before heading back to Moab for dinner at The Spoke.  That was my favorite restaurant in Moab.  We ate there like, five times and I got the buffalo fries four times.  They were delicious.

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These are some of the best things to see in Arches National Park that also happen to be very easy to access.  There are tons more, approximately 2,000 arches in the park, but if you’re short on time or just hate hiking, this is a great way to still experience the park and all it has to offer.

Have you been to Arches?  What is your favorite thing to do there?  

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