Drive Hike Repeat

This loop (or equally distanced out and back) is a must-do for avid hikers in Arches National Park. It's an accessible trail with significant distance that brings you past several arches and overlooks. The most famous arch on this hike is Landscape Arch, the thinnest arch pictured in the gallery above. Because it is so thin, it is expected to break relatively soon. 

The hike is fairly flat. If you go early enough in the morning, an occasional route will be difficult to follow (look closely for cairns) but by normal hiking time (say 8 am), the route will be so crowded you won't have any trouble seeing where to go. 

We started this hike in the dark to try to catch the desert sunrise. The first mile and a half is so flat and on such obvious terrain that we didn't even need headlamps. As I mentioned, this hike takes you past several arches, including Landscape Arch, Double O Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Navajo Arch, and Private Arch. We also took the side trail to the Dark Angel formation, which I'd recommend. The loop itself is 7.2 miles long but you can easily get over 8 miles if you add in the spur trails to the various arches. We wanted to avoid the crowds for as long as possible so after Landscape Arch, we hightailed it straight to Double O and Private Arches then took other spur trails on the return trip (we took the out and back option instead of doing the loop as all of the attractions are on the first half of the hike). Kelly's favorite arch was the Pine Tree Arch, my favorite was Private Arch (I liked how remote it was and enjoyed our brief picnic there). 

Pro Tips:

1. As usual, pack lots of water for any hike in the desert, especially in the summer. This is a long hike and remember it's almost certainly going to be hotter than you expect, especially in the long desert summer.

2. Think about the earliest you would be willing to get up to hike and plan to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier. In the summer, this is crucial to keep out of the heat and sun. In any season, this should grant you more privacy than you'd otherwise have.

How to get there: This trail leaves from the parking area at the very end of the main road in Arches. Latitude: 38.7828761 Longitude: -109.5949961111111