Continental US

Arches National Park Part 2

I apologized for the delay in posting the second part of our short trip to Arches National Park, we have been busy with weddings (to fund our trips)! The next day of our trip, we literally spent the full day in Arches National Park and saw (I shall say hiked) as much as we could but still skipped many sights. It really need a few days to truly do its justice! We started off driving to the furthermost part of the park – Devil’s Garden and working backward. The day started with very cloudy sky but luckily it was cleared it by 10 am. Along the Arches Scenic Dr, the name really fit well as it was very scenic along the way with many view point stops! We stopped at Fiery Furnace Viewpoint as a starter:

The short trail to the view point wasn’t bad at all and there were plenty of parking spots available since we started very early in the morning at 8 am! At the viewpoint, there were countless what I called pancake rocks stacking on top of each other and towering rocks.

The shades of red and orange were unbelievable even with cloudy sky!

Then, we headed to Devil’s Garden and on the way the sky begin to clear yay! The rock formation along the side of the road was dramatic that I had Jason pulled over at a viewing point for photos!

We were mesmerized by the scenery that we drove slower than usual and finally reached the trail head of Devil’s Garden. There were many cars already parked there and good thing we started early otherwise it would be difficult to find a parking space! Right at the parking lot, we saw holes in the rock, wondering how they were formed!

There’s also restroom there too so go before the hike…you’ll never know how long it’ll take for the hike (like our case)! We carried two bottles of water with us and started the hike.

Off we go!

The rock peeling off by erosion and made it like a craving artwork!

Looking back at one of the rock, it probably was split from the bigger piece on the right side!

The weather was perfect for the hike – pretty cool at upper 60s in the morning; we were glad we did this hike earlier in the day before it got hot!

My goal was to see the landscape arch which is around a mile one way – not bad and the trail is very easy to walk. At home, I walk 1.2 miles in 1/2 hour but this one 1 mile took around an hour – stop and take photos 🙂

We passed by many weird looking rock structure and the sun made the red and orange color of the rocks to blind your eyes….Jason has sunglasses lucky him!

We took one camera body (Canon 5DIII) and two lens (24-70 f/2.8 and 16-35 f/4) with us on this trip instead of two camera bodies and I did actually enjoyed walking around without carrying 10+ lbs on my shoulder! It worked out well so we decided for future trips, we’ll just bring one camera to share!

Landscape arch is there!

This is the longest naturally formed rock arch still standing in the park. It looked very narrow so wondering how long it will stand!

Do not wear your favorite pair of sneakers for this hike…the orange fine powered soil/sand is hard to clean off! And bring your sunglasses for the sun and the wind…yea it get dusty when the wind blow!

Under the arch, there was the moon!

We didn’t turn back from there….and followed the crowd continue on the trail until the road came to and end with this:

Urg where is the trail path? Where should we go and how? We stand there for few minutes and looked around to see where the trail “road” is. Well, there’s no dirt road, the trail from here is considered as “difficult”!

I told Jason let’s head back, he said let’s continue we might miss out something great!!!

But how and where? Jason was thinking to hike up from the narrow opening on the left side of the photo but saw another girl trying the same thing and had to turn back!

So the only viable option is walking on top of the rock that’s quite steep (the people on the right)!

It was like rock climbing for me OMG and I am afraid of height….ahhhhh!!!!

I finally made it to the top and then looked back OMG, I climbed that high!!! When we got up there, I asked a couple coming back from the trail: “is this the hardest part of the hike?”. She said no, there’s two more like this…..urg Jason let’s turn back!

Look there’s another arch from the distance!…on the right side of the photo:

Jason insisted to continue on……alright let’s go 🙁

It was quite windy up here so good I had my cardigan!

The flowers of the desert!

We came to a sign…… Double O Arch…it’s NOT 9 miles don’t worry lol it’s .9 mile! But the .9 mile is not on flat surface………

At least the first few hundred feet were quite flat!

But it didn’t last long! Soon, the trail is on top of rocks marked by cairns only!

Have to climb up there…..

The view was spectacular though! Those thin layers like walls, mother nature is incredible!

To Double O Arch urg!

Climb climb climb, hike hike hike!

Once we got up there, the view was more mesmerizing!

360 degrees of scenery!

We were “stuck” there for few minutes looking for the correct path. We were like standing on top of this 2 story high rock and both sides were a complete drop into the canyon!!!! It was so scary! Jason told me to stay there and he walked over the rock that we couldn’t see what’s on the other side of the rock to check it out, he gave me the signal that this is the right path….across the rock!

It was so windy that I am afraid I get blow away and fall so there were times I kneed down and almost crawled! That was the scariest hike I ever did in my life and I kept screaming…I can’t make it…let’s turn back! Jason, on the other hand, was taking photos of me struggling to make it through!

Then there’s a big gap that I had to leap over OMG!!!

The panoramic view of the canyon underneath our feet; I was in the freak out mode but still managed a few minutes to enjoy the view:

We were right, that is the trail!

That is the 2nd scary section we successfully overcome…one more to go! A look back of where we just passed, see those people…they saw us headed the way and followed. The beautiful La Sal Mountains still snow-capped as backdrop! It was awesome to see the huge contrast…desert and snow!

Let me fix this cairn!

The rocks were not even leveled…they were angled, good that I am pretty good with balancing myself!

And this huge rock right on the edge looking like it could  roll down any minute!

Silly Jason!

At there, we could finally see Double O Arch from distance…as it named Double “O”!

The last scary part (don’t get fooled by my smile, I was freaking out)!

I was literally screaming and a German guy walking back said wow you are brave! He said his wife gave up and stayed at the first section to wait for him!

Double “O” Arch! We asked another guy passing by to help us take a picture, we ended up had to crop a bit….

Jason climbed up on the bottom “O”:

That was the turning back point, yay we can turn back now!

Back to the 3rd scary section…

See the “trail”?

The big gap to jump over!

Yea it was easier on the way back already know what to expect!

It was windy, see my hair?

See the 2-3 story high drop?

The first section where it was the most steep of all, climbing back down was harder than up!

Yay we made it safely back “down”!!!! It took 2 hours! If you plan to hike this trail, please start early, bring plenty of water, and take your time! Now I can focus on enjoying the views!

We were back to our car and now the parking lot was so full people waiting for spaces! I was smart to bring buns so we ate those as lunch instead of wasting time to drive out of the park back to Moab to eat then come back again. That saved us at least 1.5 hours! After our quick lunch, we continued on…it was around noon!

The beautiful pink flowers of the desert on the road side 🙂

The next stop was to Sand Dune Arch. The trail was so much easier than Devil’s Garden!

The entrance was very narrow…it reminded me of the slot canyon of Antelope Canyons!

The eye-blinding glow of the bright orange sandstone!

Sand Dune Arch…..under the arch is fine powdery orange sand so whenever the wind blow, it’s very dusty, close your eyes!

The landscape is so beautiful!

Continue onward to Broken Arch…..I was very cautious even though it was flat because snake could hike in those bushes!

Those people were off the path…not sure where they are heading to!

It was hot and no shade ahh forget to mention don’t forget to reapply sunscreen!

Broken Arch, hum where is it “broken”?

I was looking like…how to get up there?


We were waiting for the kids to get out of the arch so we could take photos.

The La Sal Mountains on the back!

We walked back from that point because continue on will only lead to the other parking lot. The views along the drive back!

Salt Valley Overlook:

We were back to The Windows Rd and stopped at Garden of Eden, wow amazing those rock formations!

Reflection of one of the rock on our car:

More panos and the white clouds moved in with the bluest sky! More standing “towers” balancing bigger rock on top:

Continue on to Double Arch!

The famous Double Arch!

It was so much crowded than the Double “O” Arch!

Now it was hard to take a photo without others!

Double Arch was more massive than I thought!

We “climbed” up to the arch but it wasn’t easy! A look back from the arch, it was pretty!

In the background are the North and South Windows and Turret Arch:

The scenery under the arch!

See the way “climbing” up is loose rocks!

Parade of Elephants, can you see the elephants?

We were exhausted by that time, checking at my iPhone, we already hiked 10 miles woah!!!

Time to head back to our hotel to rest a bit then dinner and come back again! Passing by more “pancake” rocks and incredible scenery!

The sun started to get cover by clouds again so we decided to make one more stop at Park Avenue, this is best when the sun shines on the rocks to give the orange glow! Although no sunshine when we got there, it really looked like tall buildings on an avenue!

The trail started with stairs continually going downward (oh boy I can’t imagine to climb those stairs up on the way back)!

We were quite tired that we negotiated only to that rock that looked like “the middle finger pointing” LOL and turn back instead of hiking the whole path!

There, you see?

We turned back and oh my those stairs going back up were killing my feet! We got back to our car and continue on our way out of the park…one more stop..a viewpoint to see the road leading back to Moab!

We got back to our hotel at around 4 pm and there was an antique car parked there.

We rechecked into another room type…the double queen suite…it was the same size as the king room we stayed in last night!

We got some rest before heading out for dinner at Arches Thai:

The place was quite busy! Their Thai Iced Tea was probably the biggest size I ever had! I ordered the Drunken Noodle again and Jason ordered the Volcano Beef.

Now that’s the flat noodle that should be using on Drunken Noodles! Jason’s Volcano Beef (stacked onion rings):

My Drunken Noodle was good but Jason’s Volcano Beef was a little too salty! The dinner cost $49, not bad for the huge Thai Iced Tea! We were all hydrated up for our sunset hike to Delicate Arch!

The Upper and Lower Delicate Arch viewpoints were closed due to flooding of the road and fortunately it didn’t affect the way to the Wolfe Ranch parking lot, the starting of the Delicate Arch hiking trail! According to the info displayed, it’s only a 1.3 miles hike one way but it felt so much longer than 1.3 miles probably due to the nonstop climbing up the rock mountain and we were tired after the 10 miles we did earlier in the day! The first few hundreds of feet was easy…

Then the nonstop hike up the rocky mountain!

We stopped every 20 feet or so to catch our breathe…..

Oh it gets cold up there so we took our jacket with us on the hike! Many people were there so it wasn’t hard to find the trail by following others…even though the cairns were very much scattered out! It’s impossible for first timer to find the path in the dark so luckily I gave up on the idea of hiking to Delicate Arch for Milky Way photos at night!

Where is the arch? I can’t see any trace of the arch!!! I read that it’s how they designed this hiking trail so that you won’t see the arch until the very last moment GRRRR!

Careful here, the edge is narrow for two side traffic and is a complete drop who knows how many feet to the bottom!

The moment I made a turn at the end of this narrow edge, I see the Delicate Arch wow surprise!!!

It was extremely windy up there and to get to the arch is very slanted like you are on one side of a bowl, see what I mean?

We waited for a long time for people to move out of the way and some by photoshopping out!

We finally made it to the most famous arch in the national park – Delicate Arch!

And at the best timing of the day – sunset!

There were so many photographers waiting there with their tripods…they probably staying till the dark for Milky Walk photos! NO way I will want to hike back in the dark!

Walking back before the sun sets!

Walking down the rocky mountain was so much easier than climbing up!

The flowers survived in this harsh environment!

We made it back to the Wolfe Ranch in no time!

It was not an easy 2.6 miles round trip hike, especially the way there! It took us a little more than 1.5 hours including time to enjoy the Delicate Arch and photos! At the end of the day when we got back to our hotel, I checked my iPhone again…record breaking 14.5 miles in one day!!!!!!!

We were so tired and to give poor Jason some good rest, I gave up on MIlky Way photos for tonight!

We were sleeping like a pig and woke up at 7 am the next day! I already checked the weather forecast the day before, it’ll be cloudy the whole day so we squeezed in as much as we could on the clear sky day in Arches. The next day, we took it easy and went to Canyonlands National Park where it was a long drive from Moab but no long hikes like in Arches. The morning started with clear sky so I was a bit surprised on how fast the clouds moved in!

It was a 30 miles drive from Holiday Inn Express Moab to the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, we paid the entrance fee here and use the restroom before heading off to sightseeing.

Canyonlands National Park is even less crowds! We barely see another car along the way!

The Island in the Sky section is the most accessible section among the three sections of Canyonlands National Park; the other two are the Maze and Needles. The Island in the Sky is very easy drive, one road along the Grand View Point Rd then split with Upheaval Dome Rd. There are numerous viewpoints along the way and some just a short hike from the parking lot, very easy! Our first stop was Shafer Canyon Overlook to see the unpaved road to the canyon underneath.

The viewing platform is on a huge rock!

On the layered rock?

The zig-zagging road down!

We drove to another view point with the complete view of the zig-zagging road going down, it was an amazing view!

It must be quite fun and scary driving on that road down!

Continued on Grand View Point Rd to the split, I decided turning right to Upheaval Dome Rd as there were still blue sky on the right side! We stopped at Whale Rock and did a little hike to the “whale”:

It was nothing compared to yesterday’s 14.5 miles hike haha!

See the “whale”?

There were cactus on the ground so careful where you stepping into!

We drove all the way to the end of Upheaval Dome Rd where it’s a trailhead of a long hiking trail so no thanks at this cloudy day (could rain) and turned back. We stopped at somewhere on the way back on Upheaval Dome Road and an unnamed hiking trail that looked like this….

Some cairns mark there:

To the great view of the canyon and the Green River!

It was totally a surprise find! It’s like the Grand Canyon view without the crowds! No one but us two, photo time!

So somewhere down there is the secret “False Kiva”, google it 🙂

Next, we went to Green River Overlook:

Amazing how a river carved out a canyon over the course of millions of years!

Next, Buck Canyon Overview, it was completely cloudy by that time 🙁

And it started to snow OMGGGG!

We made it to the most famous overlook: Grand View Point Overlook!

Woah out of this world!

Along the edge of the rim, there’s a trail of less than a mile for the spectacular view of the Colorado River and canyon!

We didn’t go far due to the weather! Our last stop is another famous spot: Mesa Arch that is famous for sunrise as the sun fires up the bottom of the arch. We didn’t go for sunrise photos, Jason said are you crazy? haha!

The trail to Mesa Arch wasn’t too bad and it was filled with tourists! Finally, our turn for photos with the arch! Careful though, it’s a complete drop on the edge!!!

A big hole on a rock…what’s inside?

Since the weather wasn’t great, we headed back to Moab after Mesa Arch to explore the cute little town! The way out of the town was in complete stopping traffic as people are leaving after the car show/event!

It was already 1 pm when we go back and had lunch at Bankok House Too. The waiter, an older Thai guy, was asking me “are you Filipino”? Urg no I am not!!!

Jason ordered crab meat fried rice, it was tasty!

For something different than Drunken Noodle, I ordered the yellow curry, it was a bit too sweet for my liking!

Lunch was total $39.80. Which Thai restaurant among the 3 we tried was the best? Hum….Thai Iced Tea definitely at Arches Thai. Food-wise hummm hard to decide, all were quite good given at its location, unlike other “national park” quality, of course they are not the best Thai food I ever had but good enough!

We walked around Moab while waiting for traffic to clear its way out of the town. We passed by many cute and “wild wild west” looking houses.

Ohhh is that a cannon?

We checked out many souvenir stores but we didn’t find anything that’s so unique and pretty to bring back home!

This is probably the most beautiful Best Western I have ever seen!

This is where we had dinner at night, right next to the Best Western:

More stores…

All made of wood, pretty expensive!

And beautiful flowers on the way 🙂

We walk to almost the end of the town and walked back to get our car and leave. On the way out of the town, we stopped by this fossil store! Pretty interesting to see those old machinery and all different types of minerals, rocks, and fossils!

We are not rock/fossil collectors otherwise it’s an expensive hobby!

Shopping for rocks?

We spent like 15 minutes in there looking at all sorts of fossils from all over the world, it was quite interesting! We headed back to our hotel afterward for a nap then headed out for dinner at that Szechuan Restaurant.

The restaurant was filled with big bus tour groups! The fish filet in sauce we ordered was under cooked GRRR! We told the waitress about that and she brought it back to the chef to cook it a little longer sigh, not a good start!

Another dish we ordered was the “water boiled” beef, it was spicy but no numb feeling as Szechuan cuisine should be! But at least they weren’t cheap on the amount of beef!

Dinner was $57.60, it was on the expensive side for the quality and quantity of food!

The next day, our flight home was at 5:00 pm and the drive back to Salt Lake City was 3.5 hours so we headed out early in the morning right after breakfast and made it back for lunch at Mom’s Kitchen at South State Street, Salt Lake City. It’s Taiwanese cuisine and was very home-made taste! We ordered so much food and even take outs for our flight home (minced pork rice and an order of dumplings), total cost only $60. We forgot to leave room for shaved ice awwww! Their seafood pancake was so good and different than the ones we had in Boston, it was more chewy! I had the spicy beef noodle soup at Mom’s Kitchen, it was good but I think Sunny’s Bistro was more spicy and tasty and their hand pulled noodle was better! We can’t complain though, it was great Taiwanese food better than the ones we had in Boston!

We dropped off our rental car and the process was much quicker than pick up! We hang out at the airport for 3 hours before our flight, we are not last minute people so we would rather be there early and wait. This quick trip was very enjoyable overall, especially Arches National Park. It was so beautiful, tons to see, and not to mention the unforgettable (and scary) hike we did! One national park checked off our list, we can’t wait for our next opportunity for another quick trip to national park…..which one on our next national park bucket list? Yellowstone, Glacier, Denali?

6 thoughts on “Arches National Park Part 2

  1. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I to find It truly helpful & it helped me out a lot.
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  2. wow, you guys are so lucky. It’s my dream to visit a place like that. Actually, I’m planning to visit Zion’s national park and then, you give me a hint where to travel next. Thanks for sharing guys. You really got me inspired.

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