The Darling Nomadess: Utah's Mighty Five: Arches National Park

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Utah's Mighty Five: Arches National Park

Utah is home to five of the United States' National Parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches. These are lovingly referred to as the "Mighty Five." Two of these parks are housed in Moab, Utah, a place like nothing I've ever seen before. It's a high desert area with plenty of space for  hiking, motor biking, camping, and other adventures. Moab quickly became one of my favorite places that I've been and I loved touring Arches and Canyonlands National Parks! I can't wait to spend more time in the parks and the area in the future.

A few friends and I went camping and hiking in Moab for a 3 day weekend. It's only a few hours drive from Vail so it makes for an easy road trip. We left right after work so the first night we arrived a little late so we stayed at Hotel Moab Downtown to get a good nights sleep since we knew we'd be hiking extensively the next day. The hotel was cozy and quite nice. We definitely enjoyed the outdoor hot tub and pool!

The next day we headed out to Arches National Park to enjoy some natural red rock beauty. What incredible landscape! I love seeing the arches and hoodoos that formed over thousands of years. After doing the scenic drive and a few of the easier hikes, we decided to go in for the kill and do the Devil's Garden Primitive Trail. They aren't kidding when they call this trail primitive. This 7.2 mile roundtrip loop had us walking through shadeless desert and steep climbing with narrow ledges. It was challenging but also super fun! We made friends with an older couple, which we lovingly referred to as our "hiking parents." They were so cute! They had us climb over everything first then report back to them to make sure it was safe for them to climb, too.

Here's my tips if you chose to do this trail:
  • Bring lots of water! I would say, at the very least, 2-3 water bottles per person (or a Camelbac if you have one of those). I also brought along a Vitamin Water to replenish electrolytes. 

  • Pack a lunch or snacks! There are some great areas to sit down and picnic along the trail (no tables though). Just make sure to pick up all your trash! LEAVE NO TRACE! I brought some ClifBars and pepper jack crackers.

  • Wear sturdy shoes with good tread. Please do not attempt this trail in your flippy floppys. Bring a good pair of tennis shoes or hiking boots.
  • Have fun and bring a camera! There are so many incredible views on this trail and it takes you to a lot of sites that might have been smaller hikes had they been done separately.
  • Stay with the marked path! The primitive trail can be a little confusing sometimes because there may not be a clear path. However, the park rangers have placed piles of rocks, called cairns, to help guide you. Do not make or alter these!

This is a cairn! These will guide your path! 

After a long day of hiking, we camped at the Devil's Garden Campsite, located inside Arches National Park. It was quite affordable at only $20/night. There is no general store and you are not allowed to gather wood so make sure to bring your own charcoal or logs so you can build a fire. Each campsite came equipped with a picnic table and fire pit. There was a public restroom but no showers available so keep that in mind if you're going the primitive camping route.

Besides the Devil's Garden hike, there were lots of other shorter hikes that were rewarding, too:
  • Double Arches - this one is a super easy walk and definitely a must see!
  • Delicate Arch - this is the arch featured on Utah's license plates.
  • Landscape Arch - this is one of the longest natural arches in the world!
Arches National Park is definitely one of my favorite places on earth. It's views are just stunning with the contrast of the red rock with the La Sal mountain range as a backdrop. It's also one of the best places to view the night sky - I don't think I've ever seen so many stars before! 

Have you ever been to Arches National Park?

With Love,


  1. This looks gorgeous!! My husband and I want to visit Moab soooo bad!
    Xx, K


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