Arches National Park, Utah

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Hello hello! First,  a few pieces of housekeeping:

  1. I’ve created a new page on the blog called Roadtrip USA so that all of these posts are organized and easily accessible in one place. It even has a fun clickable map like the London page, so you can follow along and watch our trail progress! I’ll be adding posts to the map as they go up, but if you want to see our entire itinerary, you can find it HERE.
  2. I did a little interview feature with a travel community site called Bohemian Birds – check it out here.

Now back to the good stuff!

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

I know I waxed poetic about leaving the desert for the mountains when we entered Colorado, but we had one last desert adventure up our sleeves! After our jaunt through Telluride and a much-needed steam in the hot springs of Ouray, we dipped our toes back into Utah for an afternoon.

Destination? Arches National Park, a “red rock wonderland” outside of Moab and home to over 2000 naturally-formed sandstone arches. It was hot and dry without a cloud in the sky (rhyme – heyo!) and, as was the pattern during this off-season trip, there were very few other visitors in the park with us.

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

We meandered our way (in Kokapelli, of course) along the twisting main road, stopping for quick side walks whenever something struck our fancy.

Though the arches are the namesake and the main draw of the park, the place is home to plenty of other amazing geological features carved into the red sandstone, named imaginatively for more familiar structures they resemble. The National Park Service website has a great explanation of the science behind the formation of arches here.

The Three Gossips (center) and Courthouse Towers (right):

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Balanced Rock:

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

I’m told (by Wikipedia) that the upper rock is about as big as three school buses!

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

The natural sandstone structure is so precarious that, inevitably, it will someday fall (as will all of the arches). There’s something sort of poetic about understanding and accepting how temporary everything in this park is (cheesy but true?).

North and South Window (confession time: I don’t remember which is which):

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Turret Arch:

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

And of course, the main event – Delicate Arch, a.k.a. Cowboy Chaps:

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

There is another hiking trail which will take you right up to the base of Delicate Arch and give you a vantage point to get those epic NatGeo-esque photos (see here), but we had plans to get back across the Colorado border before nightfall (and the sun was pretty blistering), so we had to opt out of that side trek.

We did make a little friend in the Delicate Arch parking lot, though.

“You’re gonna get some hop-ons.”

A photo posted by Julie (@alifeexotic) on

Though there are literally thousands of arches and features to explore throughout the nearly eighty thousand acres of the park, the main impression I got was of vast emptiness.

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

I love the contrast of the flat red plains with snowcapped peaks way off in the distance. The epitome of “wide open spaces,” eh?

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

The last view we had as we approached the exit was of the Fiery Furnace, growing redder as the sun dipped lower.

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

Another win for the NPS, I’d say! Next time, we’re back in Colorado and on to more mountain adventures.

Arches National Park, Utah | A Life Exotic

The Details: $10 entry fee per vehicle | Open year-round | Website HERE

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15 thoughts on “Arches National Park, Utah

  1. I JUST went to Arches for the first time a couple days ago. I think I may have followed your path through the park because your photos look so familiar. I loved it – and Moab actually – it is seriously stunning!

    1. Great minds think alike! I wish I’d had time to make it to Moab, I have a friend who lived there for a bit and highly recommended it, but we just couldn’t fit it in.

      By the way, I’m exploring your blog now and loving it. So you’re an American expat in London, currently on a great American roadtrip, named Julie… I mean, we’re sure we’re not the same person, right? 😉

      1. haha – yes, we may be the same person! And I used to live in NYC, so the similarities continue. But I haven’t bummed around New Zealand yet, so you have me beat there. Maybe that will be our next stop 😉

  2. Love your Arches photos! I am a New England Native (CT!) who has been living in Utah for the past 10 months. I spent the weekend in Moab and LOVED arches.

    We drove in late at night (dark o thirty) and didn’t see any scenery coming in. We set up a tent and woke up surrounding by these amazing arches and structures. It was kind of a fun way to do it! The drive out of the park and the hikes were gorgeous, in love!

    Glad you snapped a picture of that raven too! That was my first remark about the Utah National Parks- these birds are HUGE!

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

    1. That’s so cool, Katie! How do you like Moab? I’ve heard it’s a really cool town and wish we could’ve visited. Utah is such a polar opposite landscape to NE – I love visiting the desert, but overall I prefer our lakes and mountains 🙂

  3. Love this arches ! Your pictures are awesome, especially the one of the black bird on your car’s door. This is a beautiful place, thank you to share your experience there.

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