register help

Windows - Arches NP, UT

40 17 0
Guide 17 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southeast
3.6 of 5 by 7
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 1.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,827 feet
Elevation Gain 200 feet
Accumulated Gain 300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 0.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.7
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
23  2016-04-20
Arches National Park Trails
5  2014-12-27 Lucyan
11  2014-09-28 AZWanderingBear
5  2014-07-27 leonesiegel
5  2014-06-30 MikeS
1  2014-05-25 trailzrus
4  2010-11-08 hippiepunkpirate
5  2010-08-01 slegal
Page 1,  2
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Mar → Any
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:05am - 6:17pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Don't throw rocks in glass houses!
by nonot

Overview: This is a hike to the Windows, taking in turret arch, and continuing on the "Primitive" trail to make a loop.

Warning: Desert hiking is hot, take some water with you.

Hike: From the parking area, begin walking towards the windows and turret arch on the main (non-primitive) trail. At the trailhead there are some educational billboards that explain how arches are formed.

After a short distance, take the spur loop to look at Turret Arch. Continue around the spur loop until you are back on the main trail. Take the trail up to see the north window you passed slightly, then double back and go up to the south window. You can now take the signed primitive trail, which is marked by rocks, around the slickrock to see the windows from the other side. Since you have to return to your car either way, might as well finish with another half a mile on the back side as opposed to the front.

The main trail is not paved but has steps and is all gravel. The primitive trail consists of walking on slickrock between rocks the mark the edge of the trail.

Note: You can leave your car parked here and walk over to do Double Arch, or you can do the lazy American style of getting back in your car, driving 20 seconds, and parking on the other side of the parking area to save walking that extra hundred yards.

Water Sources: none

Camping: Camping is not allowed in Arches Natl Park

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2009-06-11 nonot
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Windows - Arches NP
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    We started wtih Delicate Arch & the Devil's Garden Primitive Loop & then drove around hitting a variety of other areas. The stops were fairly quick and we did some short hiking. It was a good way to end our day in Arches. Our plan is the Islands District in Canyonlands the next day.
    Windows - Arches NP
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    have wanted to visit arches national park for years, since sue and i made a road trip to the north rim, zion and bryce back in 2009
    couldn't figure out how to fit all five parks in one trip back then
    picked arches and canyonlands for this one
    a little crowded but the beauty outweighs that, especially for a one day visit
    we benefited by the free entry week celebrating 100 years of national parks
    hiked several trails and saw a lot of arches ;)
    started with devil's garden, taking in every possible side trip out to dark angel
    chose not to return on the primitive loop, as we had more to hike and sue is still recovering from a fall at work that broke her radius in two places and required surgery to install some hardware
    made scrambling a little difficult for her
    hiking on and over the rock fins was fun, and we were able to get in or under almost every arch
    most people stop after landscape arch, so it really wasn't crowded
    stopped near sand dune arch for a picnic and walked through the sand to see it
    also saw broken arch and skyline arch nearby
    drove over to delicate arch and joined the conga line heading up the trail
    fun hike, but saw several people who maybe shouldn't have been up there mid-afternoon
    we ended up giving out water away to some who needed it more - i don't normally do that, but maybe a once-in-a-lifetime experience to the unprepared?
    delicate arch was pretty cool to see, and i even got a photo without anyone else in it
    a bus load of schoolkids viewing the arch, but well behaved and one took a photo for us
    stopped by the glyphs and cabin on the way down
    drove over to the windows section next, and hiked up to the four main arches there
    stopped by courthouse butte overlook on the way out of the park for some fantastic views
    felt we got a good representation of hikes for one day, and still a few things to see if i ever make it back
    had dinner at miguel's, then did some shopping at gearhead's
    another visit to moab coffee roasters, staying in moab again
    Windows - Arches NP
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Buses parked everywhere spewing forth camera toting and rapidly talking tourists. Who would think to wear 4 inch platform wedge shoes made of blue suede when about to go tromping though the muddy trail up North and South and Turret Arches?

    We immediately opted for the primitive trail on the backside of the arches and left the blue suede crowd to take photos of each other taking photos. We appreciated the serenity and the views. This place is amazing.
    Windows - Arches NP
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Arches - Canyonlands Trip November 2010
    Day 3 - Windows / Needles District

    Day 1 - Delicate Arch
    Day 2 - Corona Arch / Island in the Sky

    The final day of this long weekend trip involved an early pre-dawn start to catch sunrise. We left the motel somewhere in the vicinity of 6AM, heading north. We were contemplating catching the sunrise somewhere along the Colorado east of Moab, but at the last minute we decided to shoot back up into Arches and catch it at the Windows. I really wanted to shoot the famous shot of Turret Arch through the North Window. As we were driving up into the park, we could already see a few hints of red in the eastern sky. We knew it was the beginning of a magic morning.

    We reached the Windows trail head and a nice band of pink was highlighted in the clouds over the Windows fin. I quickly set up the tripod and did an exposure of a North Window silhouette before booking it up to the North Window itself. I walked through the North Window and spotted the outcrop I needed to be on to get my shot. Upon climbing a few feet down from the window, an NPS sign on the ground said, "This is not a trail, blah blah blah." The brochure I got from the gate had a picture of the specific composition I was going for, so I ignored the sign at went on my way. To get out on the right section of outcrop, it requires a small, easy but mildly exposed move. Holding a fully extended tripod with a dSLR attached makes it more treacherous. I made the move and set up my composition at Turret Arch. By now the sky over the La Sals (partially obscured by a group of fins and spires) was turning a golden yellow. I fired off a few bracketed exposures and then sat back to enjoy the magnificent morning and wait for my light. A young European couple soon appeared in the North Window, but kindly moved when the alpenglow hit. The alpenglow was absolutely stunning, similar to what I witnessed to days before at the Delicate Arch sunset. I got my shots before the glow went away. I am so thankful for that beautiful alpenglow because once the sun crested the horizon, the clouds in the east were too dense to let it pierce through.

    I got down from the outcrop and headed down a faint social trail to catch the Windows Primitive Loop downhill to the east. From the trail shot a the obligatory shot of the North and South Windows before heading up the north section of the loop. Nearing the trail head, light started to spray out of the clouds and onto the landscape to the southwest. I went back up the trail a hundred yards or so to take some more shots. I spotted my dad up on an outcrop near Turret Arch, he spotted me too and started heading down. When he got within earshot, I shouted, "I'm gonna head over to Double Arch." He gave the thumbs-up and I booked it that way.

    Let me tell you, Double Arch is even better in the early morning light! I found a nice composition in the sandy wash below the trail, moments later a nice glow pierced through the clouds onto Double Arch, I fired off a few exposures then headed back toward the trailhead. It was darn close to 8AM, and with plans to stop by the Canyonlands Needles District on the way home, I was itching to get going.

    We stopped at the La Sal Mountains overlook once more to get one last glimpse at Arches National Park, then made the trek back through Moab and south on US 191. I dozed for a while then woke up in time for the turnoff to the Needles. A front was moving in from the Pacific, and an overcast day at the Needles District was imminent. The drive into the Needles is long, but stunningly beautiful with massive cliffs of Wingate Sandstone underscored by a hefty slug of the Chinle Formation. Evidently the climbers appreciate the Wingate Cliffs, as this is an extensive climbing (take notes, Janelle).

    At the Needles visitor center, some couple was going crazy about some red stain on the rocks along the Slickrock Foot Trail, asking the rangers what it was. The man kept saying, "The only thing I can think of is Cinnabar," and muttering about his knowledge of geology. The rangers said, "Maybe it's paint." The couple would reply, "It had to have been painted by ancient people!" We showed our parks pass and quickly got away from there.

    The Slickrock Foot Trail happened to be our destination as well. We saw the rocks in question, and they definitely had paint on them, and definitely were not from the immediate vicinity. We could not figure out what the fuss was about. It was definitely overcast on the slickrock, and the wind made it cold. It's a nice enough hike, but I could not help by find it rather gloomy. Maybe it's the location too. This place is way out in the middle of an expansive valley, you feel like your in the middle of nowhere. It's too beautiful to be "God forsaken", it feels more like a forgotten sea of slickrock severely isolated from the neighboring cliffs, canyons and landmarks of slightly more astounding beauty. Maybe if the sun was shining I wouldn't have been in such a gothic mood.

    Leaving Canyonlands, it was time to head back to Flagstaff. It remained overcast as well passed through the comparatively boring land surrounding Monticello, Blanding and Bluff. We got excited as we approached Comb Ridge and were able to the name flurry of contorted rock layers as we quickly drove down section. We crested the Lime Ridge Anticline and stopped to look for the small syncline separating the Lime Ridge and Raplee Anticlines, and were successful in doing so. Far off in the distance, the monoliths of Monument Valley were visible with brilliant sun rays illuminating the flats in front of them. The drive into Mexican Hat was nice as always, we admired Cedar Mesa, Mexican Hat Rock and the meanders of the San Juan River as it leaves the upwarped strata of the Honaker Trail Formation on Raplee Ridge. We looked with nostalgia at the restaurant at the San Juan Inn in Mexican Hat, right on the small cliff above the San Juan River itself. We made the obligatory stop at the Redlands Overlook just northeast of Monument Valley, and a hole in the storm clouds provided a portal for the bright afternoon sun to turn Brigham's Throne and the Stagecoach into dark silhouettes under an overwhelming cloudscape.

    As we neared the turnoff for Monument Valley proper, I had an suspicion that the portal the clouds to the southwest would allow for a spectacular light show on the Mittens. I forked over $10 so we could enter Monument Valley. It had been about a year and a half since my Dad and I had been to the Mittens overlook and Ansel Adams rock, and we barely recognized the scene. Well, the Mittens haven't changed, but where a dirt lot once ran up to Ansel's Rock, the tribe has now paved a parking lot! Taken aback, we quickly parked a walked the 20 yards on the pavement to the overlook. My suspicion was correct, and an amazing light show ensued over the Mittens and Merrick Butte. The wind was gusting like crazy, sand was blowing in our teeth, but we remained there awestruck by the light show unfolding over such a grand scene, snapping off picture after picture after picture. Once sure that the sun was fully eclipsed by the dark clouds in the western sky, we left satisfied. $10 for 20 minutes was never so worthwhile.

    We drove through Kayenta and headed through the long valley between Black Mesa and the Organ Rock Monocline. As we approached the turnoff for the Peabody Coal Mine, the sun was piercing through the clouds once more. My dad couldn't see the road too well because of the sun so we made the quick two minute drive up to the top of Black Mesa. A tall rainbow was in view to the northeast, then it faded as the western sky filled with yellow sunbeams and a misty glow was cast over the shrubs in front of us. It was a perfect way to end a perfect Colorado Plateau adventure!

    I was exhausted for the rest of the drive, and fell asleep in a wholly uncomfortable position that left a crick in my neck for a couple days after. The pain in my neck was worth it however. Of the marvelous adventures I have had this year, this may have been the best. I came home with a whole bunch of great photos, saw a ton of new and wonderful places, and just had an awesome time doing it.

    Permit $$

    Arches National Park
    Vehicles: $10 (Good for 7 days) Fee Information

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Arches is 3 miles north of Moab on 191. It's 1 mile north of the bridge over the Colorado River. Once in the park, take the road up the switchbacks and take the turnoff for the windows. The road goes another few miles into a big loop and parking area for both the windows and Double Arch hikes.
    page created by nonot on Jun 10 2009 9:59 pm
    help comment issue

    end of page marker