Arches Scenic Drive

The entire length of the main road through Arches National Park, from the visitor center all the way to Devil’s Garden, is a scenic drive. There are several viewpoints set up to observe some of the most spectacular rock formations in the park. This entry will focus on the first third of Arches Scenic Drive, where there’s a lot more “stop and look” rather than “get out and hike”.

 

Moab Fault Overlook

The first pullout you come to as you drive into the park isn’t on any maps. It’s the Moab Fault Overlook, where you can observe the mountain ridge and fault line running just outside the park.

Moab Fault Overlook at Arches National Park, Utah

Moab Fault Overlook

Moab Fault Overlook at Arches National Park, Utah

Moab Fault Overlook

 

Park Avenue

Next is one of my favorites, Park Avenue. It’s named for the steep canyon walls on both sides that make it seem as if you’re looking down a big city street with tall skyscrapers.

Park Avenue at Arches National Park, Utah

Park Avenue

A popular hike starts from the overlook and ends at the fourth stop, Courthouse Towers Viewpoint. It’s a mile one way, and it’s suggested that you return the same way you came rather than walk along the road.

Park Avenue at Arches National Park, Utah

Park Avenue

Park Avenue at Arches National Park, Utah

Park Avenue

 

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

The third stop is the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint. To the southeast, you can see the La Sal Mountains in the distance, but the views are phenomenal in every direction.

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

The La Sal Mountains in the distance

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

It’s possible to spot some of the more recognizable features of the park, such as some of the monoliths at Courthouse Towers.

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Courthouse Towers from La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Courthouse Towers from the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Balanced Rock and Windows Section from the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

 

Courthouse Towers Viewpoint

The Courthouse Towers Viewpoint is the fourth stop. This is where you can observe four enormous monoliths. On the east side of the road are the Organ (south) and the Tower of Babel (north).

The Organ at Courthouse Towers Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

The Organ

Tower of Babel at Courthouse Towers Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Tower of Babel

On the west side of the road are Sheep Rock and the Three Gossips.

Sheep Rock at Courthouse Towers Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Sheep Rock

Sheep Rock at Courthouse Towers Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Sheep Rock

Three Gossips at Courthouse Towers Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Three Gossips

 

Petrified Dunes Viewpoint

The final stop before the majority of the hiking trails begin is Petrified Dunes Viewpoint. 200 million year old sand dunes that were covered in sediment and cemented by quartz and calcite have been exposed by erosion for all to see.

Petrified Dunes Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Petrified Dunes Viewpoint

Petrified Dunes Viewpoint at Arches National Park, Utah

Petrified Dunes Viewpoint

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