Arches National Park

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Did I mention this campsite was amazing, beautiful, and quiet?

Well, that was all true until around 3 am when I was awoken by smoke. It quickly filled the Rav and was not pleasant.

Smelling smoke has never been a great way to wake up. I have had too many close encounters with fires. After looking around, not seeing any flames or ash, I figured it was someone in the area starting a campfire.

The worst part is that from that point on, I was able to get much sleep.

Relaxing Time Interrupted

After deciding it was time to get up. I was reminded of how beautiful the area I’m in is. There is one thing that would make it even better, COFFEE!

I planned to meet up with a good friend of mine in Arches over the weekend. And as I was looking up some hikes and places to camp (did I mention I even have cell reception at this campsite), my buddy texted me.

The message said that there was a fire between where he was and where I am. Not only that, but it was conveniently going across the main highway that would soon be shut down.

After being a bit sad, I decided that I should pack up sooner than I intended, but I wanted to make it into Utah before anything else happened.

Almost There!

Heading To Arches

Along my drive to Arches, I could smell smoke in the air but no other signs of the fire.

The only thing concerning was that it was over 90 degrees, and the wind was still extreme.

But, I eventually made it to Arches National Park.

If you haven’t been to any of the National Parks in Utah, you are really missing some amazing places. Arches are no different, and I’m always quickly reminded about how amazing this place is.

Getting Into The Park

This area is truly amazing. I’m not going to lie, and I was pretty excited to be back. That caused me to skip finding a camp spot early and instead go directly to the park.

It’s definitely changed from the first time I visited this National Park. For starters, I remember being able to drive right in, no matter what time it was, but now there are always crowds.

As I approached the road to Arches, it parallels the freeway, which allows you to see how many vehicles are waiting to get in. I noticed there weren’t many cars in line! That’s a good thing. After all, I have my America The Beautiful pass, which gets me into all the parks.

Well, I still had to wait in line for about 25 minutes. But I still made it.

Visitors CenterArches-National-park-sign

When you get to Arches, I suggest a quick visit to the visitors center. They have clean bathrooms and a water fill-up station.

I learned from last year (COVID) that you never want to be without water, especially when it’s scorching. Deciding to take full advantage of the free water, I grabbed my (still over half full) jug and filled it up.

Better to be safe than sorry, or is it?

This ended up being a mistake that I will not make again.

I’m a bit picky about the taste of my water. I’m not too fond of the taste of the Arches water. You might not either. My advice, fill up a small cup first before filling up with a few gallons.

But, yes, I’m still using the water as we speak. I was looking for another fill station and have yet to find one. So, I figure it’s better to have safe water than no water (even if you don’t like the taste).

hiking-to-the-archHiking Experiences

There are some amazing hikes in Arches. I’ve done many of them over the last few years, but I have a few on my list I still want to check out.

The sad part is that my buddy wasn’t going to make it this time, so I decided to do a few smaller hikes. The smaller hikes I did were determined by if I could find parking.

As I mentioned, the park was packed.

There was one hike I wanted to do, no matter what. That was Delicate Arch, which was a lot of fun and one I’ve never done. Not only that, but the trailhead has a huge parking lot.

It’s not a difficult walk, as many families with small children were on it. There are two steep sections, but they are doable, and it’s worth it in the end.

If you go to Arches, you will see what I’m talking about. There are a ton of easy walks you can do to see some epic arches. You can also do some large and difficult hikes as well. But, for now, it’s time to find a camping spot.


Camping Time

Since I only had a few hours left of daylight and having a few camping locations in mind, I decided to search for the perfect spot.

Let’s say that’s a good plan to have and one I will need to continue doing.

There is one spot I found last year that is amazing. But I wanted to check out a few other locations. Yeah, the other locations that I found must be popular.

One location, roughly 10 miles from the park, was crazy busy. From the moment I got off the freeway, there were people. In fact, there were so many people that I thought I was back in California (most campsites in CA pack you in like sardines).

About three miles off the main road, I found a location that only had people 75 yards from me. There were only a few things that I did not enjoy.

  • Lots of people around
  • Flying bugs everywhere
  • No cell reception.

Needless to say, after about 15 min down the road, I got to the place I stayed last year.

Better Location

Best Camping Spot and Ready For Stargazing

Yep, this place was amazing last year and is even better this year. Not only is there full cell reception, but there was only one other guy!

I’m so glad that I marked on my map where this was. It seems like nobody knows about it, and that’s a great thing!

It’s good that I am trying to find other locations to camp. I’m also very grateful for finding a location where I have cell reception to communicate, check emails, and get some “work” done.

I’m so thankful that I left the crowded place and made the extra drive, totally worth it.

Wrapping This Post Up

It’s been very nice knowing that I don’t have to be anywhere at any specific time. Yes, as I’m mentioned, I have some tentative plans, but overall, I can easily adjust what I’m doing.

A few things that are amazing about the Rav:

  • I’m always ready to go to sleep
  • I have food to cook (cooler and a stovetop)
  • Fans to keep me coolish and blankets to keep me warm
  • Everything I need to continue my adventures
  • Not having any reservations!

Having these abilities and much more that I can’t think of right now allows me to adapt to what is going on.

For example, with the fires going on and a freeway shutting down, I will go further south before heading north. How cool is that?

This also means that I’m going to be adding another National Park!

Not having reservations has allowed me to have this adaptability. Being able to go with the flow has been nice. And the trip has just started. I wonder what will happen next?

So for now, I’m going to say good-by to Arches. My next destination will be The Black Canyons of the Gunnison National Park before heading north in Colorado!

Yes, I’m excited because I know where there are a few Anytime Fitnesses, and I’m going to get a SHOWER!

Do You Have Any Questions?

I just wanted to throw it out there, and I’m just writing about my road trip. If there is anything you want to know or are wondering, let me know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Arches National Park”

  1. Arches!
    My favorite National Park!

    You really never know what will happen on a road trip.
    Some fun surprises, and some unfortunate.
    I’m sad you didn’t get to camp with your buddy, and go on some of the more challenging hikes with him.

    How scary to wake up to the smell of smoke!
    Wild fires can be dangerous and quick spreading.
    I’m glad it wasn’t closer to your location!

    I’ve been hearing about the overcrowding of people on vacations, and especially the national parks this year.
    Parks are having to turn people away at the gates. Some even require advance purchase of tickets. What happened to the good ‘ol days when you simply drove up to the entrance and drove in? I guess COVID changed that. Hopefully, only for this year. After the lockdowns and social distancing, it appears people are desperate to get outside.

    It’s a good thing you aren’t on a tight schedule with pre-paid reservations.
    Go with the flow!

    • Arches are also one of my favorite parks as well. I would have loved to go back to Zion (another fav), but time didn’t allow it.

      I was asked, via another reader, what my favorite park is (to date). That is such a difficult question to answer. I think all the parks offer different things. But there is something about Arches. They are amazing, and the red of the rocks is awesome to see.

      Thanks for always commenting on these. It means a lot. It also makes me realize I leave things out of some of the posts 🙂


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