Utah’s Arches National Park boasts the world’s largest concentration of natural stone arches — more than 2,000 — so it’s no wonder people often spend days traveling to see the place.
Fortunately for us, the park is only about a half day’s drive from Southern Nevada.
Arches National Park has an elevation range of 4,085 to 5,653 feet, which makes November an ideal time to visit. You’ll avoid the heavy crowds that are common from early spring to early fall while enjoying ideal hiking temperatures (daily highs in the 50s and 60s).
The best introduction to the park is probably the 36-mile Scenic Drive. There are viewpoints, overlooks and parking areas along the way to see arches, windows, spires and pinnacles, and balancing rocks.
That’s the fastest way to see the park, but hiking the trails is the most rewarding. To see the famed arches, the best two trails are the ones to Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch.
Landscape Arch is an easy 1.6-mile round-trip with minimal elevation gain. It’s good for hikers of just about every age who can handle a bit of uneven terrain.
Delicate Arch is a 3-mile round-trip with an elevation gain of 480 feet. It’s not safe for small children as there are drop-offs.
Landscape Arch has a span of 290 feet, base to base, and is only 6 feet thick at its center, very thin for its length. Erosion, weather and gravity are constantly wearing away at the rock, and like all arches, it could collapse at any time, so be sure to see it before it does.
In 2008, the Wall Arch, at the time the 12th-largest arch in the park, came crashing down in the middle of the night.
Delicate Arch is one of the most photographed arches in the world. It is the largest free-standing arch in the park with an opening of 45 feet at its highest point and width of 32 feet.
The park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. The Arches Visitor Center is open daily, except Christmas, but hours change seasonally. For more information on Arches National Park, visit nps.gov/arch or call 435-719-2299.
If you go
What to pack: Hiking shoes or boots, daypack, water, snacks and warm clothes for layering, including a hat or beanie and gloves.
Length of stay: Two nights minimum, camping or lodging.
Not to be overlooked: Snow and rain this time of year often make most of the trails treacherous. Get up-to-date trail conditions from a park ranger or at the visitor center before setting out.
Moab: The nearby town of Moab is fun to stroll around and has a variety of restaurants, breweries, shops, gas stations, markets as well as plenty of lodging. Moab Visitor Center, 25 E. Center Street. 435-259-8825, discovermoab.com.
Camping: If you don’t mind chilly overnight temperatures, the camping here is super. The park’s Devils Garden Campground is open year-round and has 52 sites. It’s reservation-only from March through October, but this time of year it’s on a first-come, first-served basis. There are also fabulous sites in and around Moab along the Colorado River, and this time of year is the best because there are no mosquitoes.