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. 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
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!
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!
We came to a sign……..to 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!
The view was spectacular though! Those thin layers like walls, mother nature is incredible! 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! 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.
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!
The rocks were not even leveled…they were angled, good that I am pretty good with balancing myself! At there, we could finally see Double O Arch from distance…as it named Double “O”! 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!