Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Arches National Park - Walking the Park Avenue Trail.

Nine miles north of Moab is the entrance to Arches National Park; traveling to the entrance booth is easy travel on a flat road, but entering the park itself is a whole other story.  After you visit or pass by the Visitors Center, you then begin your journey upward into the park itself.  No shoulder to pull off on, no guard rails; you just go higher and higher until you can stop at a small pull in point to look south over Moab, or further north on Route 191   Coming back down to exit will be just as fun as you practically hug the reddish walls of sandstone; no shoulder and no pull in points either.  The main road throughout Arches is paved, so don't be worried about a bumpy ride; just enjoy the sites and worry about your head spinning off your neck from trying to see them all at one time.

Park Avenue

The first major stop you're going to want to make is Park Avenue; it's a one mile trail behind Courthouse Towers.  There is an opening at the parking area there too, so you have a couple of hiking options: park at either parking area (Park Avenue or Courthouse Towers), walk the trail and have someone meet you at the other area with the vehicle, or just walk the one mile one way and back again.  It is a beautiful walk over sand and smooth stone; you'll be highly tempted to keep going off the trail to explore this and that.  Make sure to wear a hat, sunscreen, have plenty of water and watch out for mountain lions.  Yes, I said mountain lions; you're on their home turf.  There is a sign at the top of the stone stairs leading down to the canyon floor which will tell you the same information I just wrote.

The walls of Park Avenue are stunning; no photo can truly do them justice, you just have to experience it all up close and personal.   The right hand photo is of me walking the trail; my husband was at the top of the stone steps and not using a zoom setting on the camera.  The exhilaration and adrenaline rush I get from these hikes are indescribable.

Here's another example of why you need a whole day to devote to Arches National Park, and you still won't experience it all.  This walk over the Park Avenue canyon floor will get you so pumped up with excitement, you'll want to do it again!  Then again, getting back into your vehicle at the Park Avenue lot means you get to see what's waiting around the corner.

Mary Cokenour

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