After a refreshing night in a real bed and nice hot shower, we had a great breakfast at the Peace Tree Juice Cafe before scouting out a campsite for the next night and heading to Arches National Park. We wanted to snag a site before they were full and had heard good things about the BLM sites off of 128 right along the river. We ended up finding a great site right by the river. We claimed the site, set up our tent then headed to into Arches. This whole area is really a great spot to spend a few days. If you aren't into camping you can stay in Moab and do day trips to Canyonlands and Arches.
Arches has a lot to offer for all abilities so we had to pick and chose wisely only having a day to check it out. We stopped by a lot of the viewpoints off the main road (Balanced Rock, Garden of Eden), then the first slightly longer trek we took was the primitive trail to the North Window. There is a more popular and shorter trail to it, but if you take the primitive route you'll get a much more private view and little longer hike. The trail was still fairly easy to navigate and well worth the extra time. Across the parking lot is the trail to Double Arch. This is another fairly short trail with a lot of people. You do get right up to the arch and have the opportunity to climb around in it. We would highly recommend NOT climbing all the way to the top unless you are very confident in your abilities to get down. We watched a group who was clearly not equipped for that type of climb get stuck at the top. As far as we know, they may still be there.
Probably our favorite hike in Arches was the hike to Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch. Broken Arch was a lot less touristy and gave you another chance to climb in and over the arch, this time without battling the crowds. We had planned on doing the popular hike to Delicate Arch for sunset but weather was looking iffy at that point. We opted for the Upper Delicate Arch Trail which was a great alternative. It still offered a nice view of the arch and although short, definitely a muscle burning hike. It was insanely windy when we got to the top which made us confident that we made the right decision not to tackle the full hike.
We made it back to camp just in time for the thunder and lightening to roll in. We ended up eating in the car and planning for the next day while timing out the lightening to make sure it was safe to sleep in our tent. The storm eventually rolled through and we had a great nights sleep!
-If you plan to camp, we were really impressed with the BLM Sites along the river. They're first come, first served so claim a spot and enjoy your day!
-If you plan on spending a few days in this area, definitely check out some of the options to explore the river. We saw people tubing, rafting and paddle boarding. We didn't have time to check any of this out, but there were a ton of signs in Moab of local companies that offered these things.
-Plan your longer hikes for morning or night, it gets HOT. As always, drink loads of water.
-Don't skip the short hikes. There were some great views from the simple 15 minute hikes off the main road.
-Bring your patience. Arches was slightly more touristy than the other spots we had visited so just be prepared for more people and more cars.