Guys, Go to Arches!

And by Arches, I of course mean Arches National Park!  I visited in May on a school trip and let me tell you, the one day we had in the park wasn’t nearly enough.  But we experienced the best Moab has to offer in that day, so I thought I’d share it with you!  We camped at the Lower Onion Creek campsite, located just on the backside of Arches.  This gem of a campsite boasts no running water other than the Colorado River, but we loved it anyway.  With views like this, how could you not love it? (Once again, taken with my phone, no editing required!)

onion creek1

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Another perk of staying at Onion Creek is the campsite is about half an hour away from Moab, which makes it a lot less busy than the sites closer.  There are no reservations needed unless you’re coming with a large group, you can just show up, fill out a form, stick some money in an envelope, and call it good!

We drove into Arches bright and early in the morning in an attempt to beat the crowds.  That didn’t work so well (everyone in Moab must be early risers) but we didn’t have to wait too long to get into the park.  I was surprised at how far you had to drive into Arches to actually see any, well, arches.  I guess I had always assumed they would be front and center at all times with each vista boasting an arch or two.  While that assumption was wrong, the other parts of the park were pretty cool too.

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arches1See? Arches or not, the views are hard to beat.  Eventually we did make it to the arches themselves, with the obligatory hike up to Delicate Arch.  This three mile hike took about three hours, just as the park ranger suggested it would.  Doesn’t three miles in three hours sound a little long?  That’s what we thought too, until we realized how far up Delicate Arch was from where we started.  The hike was strenuous for sure, but definitely worth it.  Bonus tip!  On your way up, the trail twists and turns for awhile.  Once you’re almost to the top, the trail veers sharply to the right and there’s a vertical rock wall on the right and a canyon on the left.  Looking up towards the top of the wall, you’ll see a mini arch that if you possess spider monkey skills or have a friend who does, you can climb up into for the best view of Delicate Arch.

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arches6In the first picture you can see the brave souls who scrambled up the wall first without a clue of what they would find on the other side.  In the second you get a pretty clear idea of just how high up we were!  But the best part is yet to come.

arches4 arches7Just look at that!  Not the average Delicate Arch view, right?  It was a little scary to get up to that point, but definitely worth the crawl up an almost vertical sandstone wall.  Good thing there were good friends waiting at the top to pull me up.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: actually standing beneath Delicate Arch!

arches3 arches8Can you see me in the first picture?  Probably not, so the second picture is included as well.  That thing is massive!  No wonder everyone suffers through the hike to finally get there.

arches5We hung out at the top for awhile, too pleased with our accomplishment and amazed at the landscape to really move much. We were still smiling at the end so it must not have been that bad.  The hike back down isn’t as much fun in my opinion, but going downhill certainly makes things easier!  We also stopped in Devil’s Garden to check out the famous Landscape Arch.  We didn’t have much time, but Landscape definitely lived up to expectations!

If you have the chance to go to Arches, take it right away and don’t look back.  From staying off the beaten path, to taking the standard hikes, we definitely made the most of our day in Arches.  Hopefully you get a little more time to enjoy the views!

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