Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

A Variety of Morning Arches

Thursday September 4, 2014
Portal RV Park near
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah



Because of the heat here in Arches National Park in early September our routine has become to be out at sunrise to take advantage of the cool air and the fewer people.  We come back in around noon and then go out after dinner in the evening.  Today was no exception to that plan.

First thing this morning we take the park drive to the end to see Devil’s Garden.   Well not all of it, but some of it.  Due to our shortened stay here and wanting to spend at least one day in Canyonlands, we will not be able to do all of Devil’s Garden.  We will do the arches along the primary trail but sadly time just won’t permit us to do both the primitive trails so there are 5 other arches we will miss.  This is very hard for us since we are used to taking our time, staying for days and weeks in order to investigate the park we are in thoroughly.  But it can’t be helped and thankfully we will be able to see 4 arches this morning.

We stop on the way to see Sand Dune and Broken Arches.  We are out early enough that no one is here.  YEA!!  The trail to Sand dune is only .3 mile round trip but this may well be my favorite arch.  The trail leads through deep sand to this secluded arch set among sandstone fins. 





First thing is to go through the narrow passage way between these fins.  Now this is like moving into another world.




On the other side I am surprised to find this magic tree growing all alone in the sand.  How does it do that? Clearly this is a magic kingdom we have entered.




Well magic except for the self absorbed.   I am saddened to see this sign and then to see that someone(s) have pushed the fence post on the right side away from the formation so they can climb through.  I guess to climb up on top of the arch.  How I wish there were video surveillance cameras here and someone posted nearby to catch these folks and fine them BIG TIME.  Money seems to be the only thing that deters people.  Perhaps if the sign said $5000 fine for vandalism and they’d catch a few people and post their pictures here.   I don’t know.  What is wrong with people?








The light on the giant rock behind the arch is playing havoc with the cameras.  That formation makes the arch looks small but you can see when I’m standing under it that it is anything but small.









As we leave through the greenery and the between the rocks, I just love that this arch is hidden away and we had it all to ourselves.  I realize that’s what encourages vandalism though.



We leave this magic spot and head out into the wide world on our way to Broken Arch.  Luckily I have read that that it isn’t really a broken arch.  Or at least not yet.  But it does have a crack in it.  Still I’m relieved it hasn’t fallen in.   The trail loop is 2 miles long and crosses a large meadow to the arch.  You can continue on to the campground.  Now that would be sweet to be able to walk to arches from the campground say at sunrise or sunset.  Maybe next time?  hopefully.




We enjoy the flowers in the meadow and the prickly pear almost in the trail.  There are tall fins with sand dunes and slick rock along the way as well.







And then, behind me……………I see something in the sky.  Can’t figure out what it is.  It’s a long way off.  Then I recognize it.  This is definitely a magical morning.   It comes closer. 






I have to stop watching the balloon and turn around to catch up with David who is nearly out of sight on the trail which is now passing by great sandstone formations.








A sign says “Trail continues through arch”.  And so it does. 




We walk through the arch and look back to the trail we’ve come on.





On the way back I see this formation.  What does it look like to you?














Skyline Arch is next.  In 1940 on a cold November night a large chunk fell out of the arch instantly doubling the size of its opening.  The arch now has a span of 71 feet and a height of 33 feet.  Look at the size of that piece that fell out.

Here’s what the arch looks like now.



We’re going around, through  and up to it so we can get a close look.



Wow look at the rubble.  It’s antique rubble since it is 74 years old.



After David crawls around and convinces himself there is no way to get any closer, we head back.  It’s become a beautiful blue sky puffy cloud day ahead.  





One last look at Skyline Arch.


We’ve driven 23 miles to the Devil’s Garden Parking lot where we get to at least take a look at the map which shows the entire trail is 7.2 miles.  There appear to be 7 arches on this trail.  I am really sorry we can only do the first 3 but when your time is limited, you have to make choices. 

We’ll go to the end of what they call the primary trail and see Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree arch and Landscape Arch.  From there the trail becomes “semi primitive” and then “primitive”.  I am so curious to know what those two terms mean.  If you take the “semi primitive” out to Dark Angel and then the primitive trail back to the main trail you can see Private Arch.  “Private”, really, boy it is so hard for me to pass up these really intriguing sounding things.







Folks are starting to come out on the trail and I just can’t help but find some of their clothing really interesting.




First we see Pine Tree arch. Named  I assume for the Pinyon Pine trees nearby.





I wondered what the dark circle to the left of the Pine Tree Arch was.   A close up shows it’s a second arch.  Or is it a window?  I’m never quite sure



We head back down the trail to take the other fork to Tunnel Arch.






Here’s the view from the back.  This is where we have come from to get to walk through the arch.





I’m amazed at how thin it is at the “foot” from this angle.







We continue on to Landscape Arch.











We hear the sound of some big machinery and wonder what’s going on.  As we come up the trail we see they are working on it.  I don’t know how they get anything done having to stop constantly for people to walk by.






At first I don’t see the arch off to the right and am just taking a picture of the trail.





When I get a good look, it looks almost fragile.  I thought that even before I read the sign.







Because of this, they closed the trail under the arch and it remains closed.  Luckily today I didn’t see anyone here ignoring the sign as they obviously did at Sand Dune Arch.




It is really such a beautiful fragile looking arch I feel it should be called delicate.







Just look how thin the right side of this landscape arch is.









We want lots of pictures of it.  We may never get back here and if we do, will it still be in tact?




More folks on the trail.  The shirtless guy in the blazing Utah sun.  I didn’t think you’d want to see him from the front.  And how about the fashionista with white shoes and a gold lame purse??  If you have to have a lot of people on the trail with you, you might as well enjoy the people watching.





It’s  nearly a mile back down the trail from the Landscape arch.   People are coming in a steady stream now.  But it’s still a beautiful hike.








Obviously time to take a break until early evening.  Look at the cars in the parking lot now.  Every spot is taken and people are circling. 




  1. We did the same excursion one day back in May....had to make choices so it was to Landscape Arch and back. Sadly, I have pictures but never posted a blog about it as our truck troubles began just after that and I never got back to it. People watching is pretty amusing, isn't it. And I totally agree, what is wrong with some people??

  2. Wonderful! Every time I see these kind of great pictures of this park, I feel a little bad. We have passed up going there at least twice due to the high heat when we arrived. It is at the top of our list!

  3. Another one for the bucket list. Class of 2016. Thank you for sharing and for the wonderful photos.

    Ed @ Catching Sunrises and Sunsets

  4. I read that Landscape Arch was supposed to be named Delicate Arch and vice versa, but somehow the names got reversed. So you were right!

  5. Beautiful, gorgeous, so glad you are able to see it. I'm sure thankful for your posts so we can enjoy since we never explored the arches. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I hope everything is going well for David now that you are home. Arches is certainly and enchanting place.

  7. You've certainly done Arches justice in your short time there. You've been on most of our favorite hikes -- it's wonderful to experience the park through your eyes. I've wondered, too, how long Landscape Arch will endure -- it looks so fragile. We've also seen plenty of "unusual" hiking attire on the trails there -- including a couple of women in high heels (they didn't make it far) and teenagers in flip flops on the primitive trail to Devil's Garden.

  8. Great pictures and another beautiful place we need to see, perhaps in Winter.

    What happened to your camera to need repair?

    Are you now at your home farm?

  9. You do wonder how long that arch will stay up. Wind and occasional rain will work away at the most fragile spots.

    It's a beautiful, otherworldly landscape.

  10. I'm with Judy. Will be glad to hear how things are going for you now that you are back home. Wishing you well, sending hugs to David and you both and trusting that all is good.

  11. We did landscape arch near sundown so we had some great pictures too. When we were at the Dunes it was late in the afternoon so we shared it with plenty of kiddos. It was so fun to hear their laughter and watch as they explored the inner beauty of such a magical place. So glad you have been able to experience so many arches, each one has it's own character and is so unique. Sending good thoughts and plenty of virtual hugs. Karen

  12. We haven't made it to Arches, but for sure,it's on the list! I see Winona is back home. Glad she made it safely.

  13. Arches is amazing!! Each arch has its own personality. Love the Fragile Arch!!! Glad you got to spend some time there, but I know you would have loved to more. What you did see and share with us was wonderful.

    See that you are back at the farm. Hope all is well and we will be thinking of you both.

  14. oh goodness.. .if only we can see a fraction of the arches you guys saw. ..especially landscape arch. . .so great!

  15. Love this blog entry. We're hoping to hike the Devil's Garden Trail either tomorrow or Sunday (rain expected). I don't know if I can talk Karen into hiking the entire trail, either. I love the "fins" in this park. I think that one formation looks like a bison. I can see the eye, nose, and mouth. Great job once again.

  16. Devil's Garden is a really neat hike. Now you have a reason to return...you need to finish it:) We counted eleven arches on our hike. One we found in some trees off the trail that wasn't listed anywhere. So glad you did have time to see all the cool arches you did. That photo with the hot air balloon and those brilliant red rocks is gorgeous!!

  17. I am blown away! Each arch so distinctly different. And you two so smart to go early and beat the crowds.

  18. I'm glad you liked the Sand Dunes Arch, that was our favorite part of Arches. When we were there in May 2009 there were people climbing all over it, my husband was frustrated because he could not get a picture without people in it.

  19. Broken arch has always reminded me of the Kissing Camel formation in Garden of Gods. Looks like you made the most of your time in Arches.

  20. There'a a whole different kind of beauty to those rock and rock formations. I love the colors there!

  21. A lot of arches for one day - great hike! It is unbelievable how people just disregard signs! Good idea to get out there early before all the people in their 'interesting' attire took over the trails. Great colors and beautiful sky. Special place indeed!

  22. The Sand Dunes Arch trail is truly magical - your photos capture the enchantment wonderfully. I would have to see it without the crowds as well :-) Like women who wear high heels and a tight skirt to Disneyland, I would love to ask the woman with the gold purse - why? To each their own though, I'm glad she was able to get out and see the beauty of the hike. Love the information on the "recent" forming of the arches, testimony to their ever-changing structure, and further reminder to those seeing them how very blessed they are. If we don't make it to Landscape before it fails, I will at least have the blessing of your hike to remember it whole. Glad to see you've landed safely. Soon you'll be headed to Florida again :-)

  23. Aren't you glad that you are not there when one of them lets loose? Could be frightening and spectacular at the same time! Also glad to see you are home at the farm (sad at the same time..)

  24. Now I feel like I did get to see them in person...there is no way Marcia's GoGo would make that. Landscape Arch is the one arch I have not seen in person that I have always wanted to see. Perhaps next time if Marcia wants to wait in the car that long for me to come back. We sure enjoyed our "too short of time" in Arches too...no in Mesa Verde. I see you have made Virginia! Wonder if you will ever get the blog caught up. --Dave (GoingRvWay.com)

  25. We have Arches NP high on our bucket list. Your pictures have just whetted out desire even more to see this magical place of Mother Nature's finest sculptures. :c)

  26. Hi Sherry! Just wanted you to know we received and replied to your comment left on our blog. Because we're new at this, we have not worked out the comment reply notifications as yet.

    Ed @ Catch Sunrises and Sunsets

  27. The first seven pics reminded me of Alabama HIlls in California, a great place for boon docking. One day if you come back to the west, I recommend that area, we boondock there for three nights and surrounded by those out worldly rock formation.


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