What to Do in Arches National Park
Rangers recommend that if you have an hour and a half, visit either the Windows Section or Delicate Arch, and if you have three hours, explore both. If the entire day is your oyster, consider a guided hike in Fiery Furnace or an excursion to Landscape Arch. Driving and hiking are the most popular activities, but bicycling, horseback riding, and rock climbing are also allowed; check the park website regarding permits and regulations.
Driving north on the main route, you’ll pass classic viewpoints like Balanced Rock, where park ranger-turned-author Edward Abbey spent two seasons, inspiring his beloved book Desert Solitaire. The first fork in the road leads to the Windows Section, a handful of arches a short stroll from the parking area. Amble the 1-mile primitive loop to North Window and South Window, nicknamed The Spectacles for their resemblance to a pair of glasses over sky-blue eyes and a sandstone schnoz. You can clamber up the russet rocks right underneath North Window and nearby Turret Arch. North of the parking lot, a 0.8-mile trail takes you to dramatic Double Arch—a pair of arches radiating from a single base like two sides of a triangle.
Resembling the bottom half of a bowlegged cowboy, Delicate Arch is the star of Utah’s license plate, a U.S. postage stamp, and countless Instagram posts. To get up-close and personal with this icon, hike the 3-mile round-trip trail from Wolfe Ranch, a rickety cabin built in 1906. Or drive to the viewpoint, where you can photograph the arch from about a mile away. It’s spectacular at sunset, so you may want to save this section for the finale.