July 1, 2013 by Deborah W. Trotter
The first fork in the road through Arches from the Visitor Center, just beyond Balanced Rock, takes you to the Windows Section of the Park. It’s your first opportunity to see several arches up close and personal with not too much effort. Short and easy trails lead you past Turret Arch, and the North and South Windows. If you are so inclined, you can scramble up farther on your own. (There is also a short trail that loops around Balanced Rock which you can take either before or after you visit the Windows Section.)
If you want a little bit longer hike, try the “Primitive Trail” around to the back side of the North and South Windows. It’s less crowded and affords this view of the windows . . . the eyes of Arches?
Just across from the Windows and Turret Arch, on the other side of the parking loop, you can take a mostly level trail to look up into massive Double Arch. If you feel the call, you can try to scramble up farther here, as well.
Arches is a great family Park. Little kids are awed, older kids become climbers faster than you can say, “Hey, where are you . . . okay, be careful up there!!”
If you visit, always carry and drink plenty of water, and if you’re visiting in the summer (not in the middle of a blazing heatwave as is going on right now) I recommend hiking early in the morning or in the evening. It will be cooler, probably less crowded, and the colors will be more intense for viewing pleasure and photography when the sun is not directly overhead.