Welcome to the A New Yorker Abroad series where each month our writer Lauren Breedlove will be jet-setting somewhere different, all around the world in the hope that her adventures will transport, inspire, and give you at least a hearty handful of boss planning ideas, from a wild wanderer who’s been there, done that.
Short on time? Of course you are, you're a New Yorker. Well, grand news.
You CAN do Arches National Park in a weekend, and I'm going to spill the deets on how.
Why are we so mesmerized by them? Because they’re cool AF that’s why.
Really though, why go?
Astonishing scenery? Check.
Not to mention the National Park Service Centennial went down last year and, like any good NYC party, is spilling over into this year.
Not convinced yet? Shame on you, but here’s some lovely pictures– that should help.
When we city dwellers (and all humans really) travel, we want to feel transported to a different place. The place of our dreams, specifically, our daydreams during the workday and on our subway commute.
Trade tall buildings for giant natural arches. Swap tight spaces with no personal space for wide open spaces. Exchange your work shoes for hiking shoes? We're gonna have to discuss that later.
Best thing about it? You don't HAVE to be a hiker, Sporty Spice, or extremely outdoorsy. Arches National park is like an everything bagel and yep, you guessed it, there's something for everyone. You can soak in incredible views without breaking a sweat.
And if you do decide to venture out on the trails, you’ll be rewarded with even more than that. Likely, it’ll be mind-blowing. Either way, the one common thread? STRAIGHT UP AWE.
When & for how long?
Yes, Arches Nat’l is in Utah, BUT it’s totally doable on a long weekend. You can fly into Salt Lake City, and the drive is about 4 hours.
Summer is hot AF, but less busy, which is always a solid win in my book. Just bring loads of water, and if you think you have enough, get more. Fall is a great time weather wise, but definitely more crowded.
Arrive, check-in to your arched abode (just kidding, but HOW cool would that be?).
Don’t be a sissy, pull yourself together and get into the park for a late afternoon/early evening jaunt. You may even have Park Avenue to yourself– when has that ever happened in New York City?
It’s a short mile out and mile back. You can go out as far as you want, and turn around when you’ve had enough. You’ll wet your whistle for the Arches scenery and be finished in time for the sunset.
Head over to The Windows Arches to watch the sun tuck itself in. It’s a short little walk up to the arch, so no real hiking required here. The North Window has an amazing view out towards Turret Arch and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better postcard worthy dusk scene.
Head out for dinner and a beer at Moab Brewery. Beer is the premier hiking beverage in case you didn’t know. Considering the whole hiking thing now, aren’t ya?
Go to sleep, you’re tired.
The breakfast paninis at Love Muffin Café should be adequate motivation to roll yourself out of bed. Trust me on this one. They have coffee too, obviously.
Head back into the park and drive up to Balance Rock. It’s literally steps from the parking area and just downright cool as hell. Ponder how it balances there, or don’t, but you probably will for at least a hot second, now that I’ve mentioned it.
Time for a legit hike up to Delicate Arch. 3 miles roundtrip. This is the iconic arch that you see in all the pictures, and it’s completely worth the sizable slick rock climb you have to trek up to get there.
Stop back at what I like to call the terrific trifecta. The Windows arches, Double arch, and turret all share a parking area, and are easily accessible from there. You have time to explore Double Arch and Turret.
Head back to town and get some yeti’s. Yeti’s– you earned it (Pretty sure that should be their tagline, just sayin').
Rest up for a few and after, dinner at El Charro Loco for your taco fix.
If you’re feeling extra adventurous, go back into the park and the darkness. REAL darkness. We’re talking darker than the blackout of 2003, for a reminder that stars actually do exist.
Prepare to be supremely amazed. The night sky is filled with a gazillion stars and you’ve never seen so many in your life. Seriously, though.
Catch some zzz’s, all that fresh air is bound to make you exhausted.
Early wake up. Drive to the other end of the park for the Landscape Arch hike. It's a relatively easy walk (1.6 miles roundtrip) with spectacular views, perfect for the dawning of a new day. Who knows, you may even be adopted into a deer family like I was. That’s right, adopted.
Grab another bfast panini BECAUSE DELICIOUSNESS, and a vat of coffee for your drive back to SLC. Your Arches adventure is over for now, but ya did good kid.
*Sunrise: the Landscape Arch Hike. JUST DO IT.
*Beer at Moab Brewery
*Get hangry– eat here: breakfast panini at love muffin cafe.
* Go for sunset at the windows and then leave right after. STAY. Everyone will leave and you’ll be able to perch yourself in a nook of the arch and wait for night to settle in.
*Sleep in: YOU ARE AN EXPLORER NOW, so no time shall be wasted!
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