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Arches National Park - early morning or late afternoon?

Arches National Park - early morning or late afternoon?

Jul 12th, 2004, 08:02 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Arches National Park - early morning or late afternoon?

We will be in Moab in early August this summer and really want to see this beautiful park. I've been reading conflicting advice as to whether to go first thing in the morning or later in the day. I understand it will be very warm during that time.

Is the sunset hike to Delicate Arch really difficult? Would it be best to go to the park first thing in the morning, return to Moab mid-day and go back to the park later? How long does it take to get from Moab to the park?

Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks!
KathrynT is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 08:10 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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We went to Arches last August and it is VERY HOT! My suggestion would be to go in the morning, as early as possible. We did not do the hike to Delicate Arch, since we were there in the afternoon and there was no way our kids could have managed in the heat. We did go to the viewpoint, but I wish we had hiked to it.

Moab is a quick 10-15 min. drive to Arches, so it might be a good idea to head for the pool or AC in the afternoon.

Arches is an amazing park - you won't be disappointed!
BBEAR is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 08:13 AM
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We hiked to the amazing Delicate Arch first thing in the am last july, and it was still very hot. We were also there at sunset the night before, altho did more stopping and strolling at look out points. So yes, i would do it (or any true hiking) first thing in the am.

Where are you staying? The town of Moab is very cute and our DD really enjoyed shopping there. We stayed at the Best Western Canyonlands, right in the center of town, close to shopping, cafes etc. They also have a free bfst that you can enjoy by their pool.

Have fun!
ellen_griswold is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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We also stayed at Best Western - Canyonlands and would highly recommend it! Great location (right in town), great comp. breakfast to eat by the pool or in lobby and the best part for us was that the rooms accomodate a family of 5!
We only had 1 night in Moab and wish we had had more time there.
BBEAR is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 09:37 AM
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Early AM is the time to go, just as previous posters have written. You might consider the Fiery Furnace ranger hike, too; it isn't nearly as hot as it sounds, and you get a lot of shade between fins of rock. I went to Moab in early August last year, and it wasn't hot; there happened to have been a little rain the day before, cooling things off nicely. In the SW, August is often cooler than June, because June is bone dry, while August sees some rain and cloud cover. I think it only takes about 10 minutes (or less) to get to Arches from Moab.
travellyn is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 03:09 PM
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We were there last June and it was HOT then too! We toured the park early and then went back to the motel to swim in the afternoon. After supper, we went back and hiked to Delicate Arch for sunset. This is the best time to see it.

We also debated whether or not to make the hike, and we are all glad we did. We are not in the best of shape, and my daughter was 10 at the time, but we had no problem with the hike. Although it was little embarrassing being passed by a senior citizen with a knee brace!! Bring plenty of water (at least a quart per person) and give yourself at least an hour for the hike. The drive from Moab to the park entrance only takes 15 minutes, but it's another half hour from there to the parking area. You also want to be at Delicate Arch 45 minutes before scheduled sunset. If you add that all up, you should leave the motel or restaurant 2.5 hours before sunset.

Do yourselves a favor and make the hike. You will not regret it.
richbutnot is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 03:41 PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions. Richbutnot, I loved your comment about being passed by the senior citizien. I am not in the best of shape either, but if a senior with a knee brace could do it ...
KathrynT is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 05:10 PM
Join Date: May 2003
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You have received some pretty good advice but let me put in my 2 cents worth. Whatever rain there is in this dry country is in the Aug-Sep time frame. Can have flash floods as well as very bad lightning so never be the highest object around and never take shelter under a tree. We have done the Delicate Arch hike many times over the last 25 years and love it - no matter how much we sweat. It is classed as a "Moderate" hike but is 1.5 miles up and another 1.5 miles back. Even the Park suggests allowing 3 hours for the complete trip. This allows time to sit at the top and enjoy the beauty all around. Can really enhance the experience if you have some of R. Carlos Nakai's Native American wood flute music on your MP3 player. Take plenty of water and large brimmed hats. Sun can be brutal. We love the hike at any time of day. Evenings are lovely but afternoon thunder storms that time of year can be a real problem. Also, after the sun sets, darkness can come on very quickly. If you do the evening hike, take good lighting for the trip down as the trail is marked only by rock cairns. Suggest you take the early morning hike for the first time and rest often. It's pretty steep but worth every moment.
LarryT is offline  
Jul 12th, 2004, 09:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hiking in the summer should be done first thing in the morning or late afternoon.

My perfect day in Arches is a morning hike to Landscape Arch, then stopping at the Windows section and Park Avenue. Maybe a stop back in town for a swim or drive out scenic Hwy 128 or Potash Road and then do Delicate Arch in the late afternoon. The best time to SEE & take pictures of Delicate Arch is in the late afternoon so the sun is on arch. As the sunsets it turns bright red (if there are not clouds) After the sunsets on the arch, you have plenty of time to get back to the parking lot before dark.

I like to carry a Misty-Mate to keep me cool when hiking in Utah in the summer.


Moab is only 4 miles from the entrance to Arches National Park.

utahtea is offline  
Jul 17th, 2004, 09:28 PM
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Sorry it took so long for me to reply, but thanks everyone for your great advice! My kids love the mistymate idea!
KathrynT is offline  

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