Arches National Park

Last year, we visited Arches National Park. OK, so I’m a little behind in posting but, in my defense, we did just spend 6 weeks with very limited connectivity. Anyhow, back to Arches. We stayed at Ballard RV Park in Thompson Springs, Utah. We chose Ballard because it was close to everything we wanted to see, but didn’t have the Moab crowding.

We drove into Moab to pick up information about Jeep trails and National Parks so we could plan how to make the best use of our week in the area. We were disappointed to learn the entrance to Arches was generally closed by 11am due to overcrowding in the park and usually reopened in the late afternoon. We passed the entrance to Arches on our way back to Ballard’s and the car lining up to get in for the afternoon was nearly a mile long. We weren’t too keen on the idea of sitting in line for hours!

The next day, we decided to take a BLM road that looked like it went all the way into Arches from the back side. As we rode along, we were treated to some of Utah’s wildlife…

As well as some wildflowers and incredible scenery…

When we reached the boundary of the park, we were quite happy to find an open gate and a sign stating this was a fee area. Since we have a National Park pass, we drove on in!

Our goal was to spend the day exploring and deciding which arch we wanted to photograph at sunrise a few days later. We drove the entire length of paved roads in the park and saw some amazing arches and a very appropriate warning…

Our sunrise photography decision was Turret Arch as seen through North Arch. With our decision made, we headed back to Waldo via paved roads. As we exited the park, I made a time lapse video of the line of cars waiting to get in…

Dang!!! Luckily, to get there and set up for sunrise photography, we’d be coming into the park at 4am, shouldn’t be too bad at that hour.

We arrived back in the park a few days later, well before sunrise. There were lots of cars in the parking lot, but the ranger had told us many of those would leave as soon as the sun rose above the horizon…

We to the base of North Arch in the dark and took up our wait for sunrise. As expected, there were lots of people waiting with us…

But, 10 minutes after the sun broke the horizon…

The crowd began to thin. Steve found a place he wanted to be and so did I. Two very separate places!

My patience paid off with my favorite shot of the morning…

Turret Arch seen through North Arch. Notice the lack of people!

With sunrise behind us, we set off for our next adventure…

I love my Jeep!! The pictures I took don’t really show how bad the road was…

But the road was definitely worth the views!

The only other way to get to Tower Arch is a 10 mile hike ~ no thanks! It was nearing noon, so Steve and I found a place for lunch…

Not a great picture, but you get the idea. We had about 5 more miles to go before we reached the park boundary and the scenery just kept being amazing…

We finally made it back to paved roads and called it a day.

Whether you are a hiker, a 4×4 enthusiast or a see it from the car kind of person, Arches National Park has something for you!

Up next…Canyonlands National Park

10 thoughts on “Arches National Park”

  1. Thanks for this tour Arches National Park. Your sunrise images are breathtaking! It’s crazy how many people sat in line to get into the park! What month were you there? We visited Arches in August, 2006. It was HOT but there weren’t lines to get into the park and I don’t remember it being crowded. What a difference from today.

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  2. Arches remains on our “list” – we never got to see it and, seeing these pictures, I am totally bummed about that. It’s just such a cool place, and you guys definitely did it right by taking the back roads and getting away from the crowds. I love the sunrise shots – they really came out great and well worth the early morning trek.

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  3. Beautiful photos, as always! I can’t wait until we eventually get to Utah. It looks stunning. Love the picture of you guys sitting in front of the Jeep enjoying a relaxing beverage enjoying the scenery. We’ve been missing those Mahoney sunset happy hours, especially since we are currently in Benson. Thank you for sharing your adventures. HMMH!!!!!

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