By Jeff and Virginia Orenstein
Note: We recommend that travelers continue to follow current CDC guidelines and smart health practices. Check with each mode of transportation and specific venue of interest for current information before traveling. Check facebook.com/ArchesNPS/
There is good reason that Arches National Park is one of the most visited in the entire US National Park system: It is simply gorgeous. The geology on display is unique, colorful and awe-inspiring, rain or shine. The park is home to the world’s largest concentration of natural arches, more than 2000. It is also home to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive, vibrantly-colored rock fins and massive balanced rocks. It is just an amazing place.
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For visitors who want to drive the park roads and walk very short distances from the scenic overlook parking spaces to see a huge number of spectacular formations, Arches offer will not disappoint. For the more fit and adventuresome, the park’s many trails open up even more. This red-rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its grandeur and inspire you with its sunsets.
Because the park is so popular, reservations are now required from 6 am to 5 pm through Oct 3. You will need a timed entry ticket (bought online for $2, see link below), a photo ID and a National Park Senior Pass or the entry fee. To beat the crowds, try entering the park early in the early morning or late in the afternoon. Temperatures are cooler and the light is better for photographs an hour after sunrise and before sunset. If you have a camping permit or are walking to the Visitor’s Center, you will not need a timed entry permit.
Arches is not only a daytime attraction. The park is open 24/7. While the rock formations may not be very visible at night, the view of the night sky from the national park is truly spectacular on a clear night. The park is justly renowned for its low light pollution and excellent air quality. Be sure to bring your tripod.
Since Arches is adjacent to the city of Moab, Utah, don’t forget that Moab is a city that specializes in supporting tourists and outdoor recreation. Lodging, food, car rentals and recreation are readily available in the town.
Before you go: Check-out:
- By air, Moab and Arches National Park are served by Canyonlands Regional Airport (CNY), 15 minutes from the park. SkyWest Airlines (d/b/a United Airlines) has daily flights between Moab and Denver, and the same airline (d/b/a Delta Airlines) has seasonal flights from March through November between Moab and Salt Lake City.
- By train, Moab’s only rail service is via the Rocky Mountaineer private excursion train.
- By highway, Moab is reached by US 191, 32 miles south on I-70. It is 339 miles from St, George Utah and 457 miles from Las Vegas.
Must-sees and dos for a short trip:
- Tour Moab shops and attractions on foot. The town center is walkable.
- Explore Arches National Park. Start with the Visitor’s Center.
If You Have Several Days, Some of Your Best Options Are:
- Visit nearby Dead Horse Point State Park.
- Tour the other four of the “Big Five” National Parks in Utah.
- Camping, hiking, mountain biking and river rafting are available throughout the greater Moab region.
Ginny O’s Tips For Dressing The Simply Smart Travel Way For Arches National Park: Casual dress is appropriate for the possibly rapidly changing weather. Wear hiking foot gear if you are using the trails.
This Destination At A Glance
Over 50 advantages: Viewing some of the world’s most spectacular geology at your leisure.
Mobility level: Easy to difficult, depending on whether you stick to the overlooks or hike.
Getting Around In Arches: A car is recommended. Walking can be very strenuous.
Getting around in Moab: On foot or by car.
When to go: April through October. Summer in Moab can be very hot.
Where to stay:. In Moab, chain hotels abound in the city center. Advance reservations are recommended in the summer season.
Special travel interests: Spectacular geology, outdoor recreation and gorgeous national and state parks within a three-hour drive.
Jewish Travel To Moab and Arches National Park
There is no permanent organized Jewish presence in Moab or in close proximity to Arches National Park since the estimated 3,000 to 6,000 Jews in the state are mostly living in and around Salt Lake City, Park City and Ogden. There is a Chabad Center in St. George, Utah. All are fairly far from Arches.
However, “Adventure Rabbi” Jamie Krongold holds annual Passover celebrations among the red rocks surrounding Moab. From a Friday afternoon to mid-day Sunday in April, Jews from around the country descend on Moab, Utah to experience Passover with him. It is said that the isolation amid the desert and mountains makes it easy to empathize with our ancestors who experience Passover in the desert.