Arches National Park has over 2,000 natural stone arches.
It’s the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches.
We only saw a handful of them during our 2 visits there. You’d have to hike for many miles (and many days!) to see all of them.
But we were quite content with what we saw from the seat of our motorcycle!
Scenic Driving Tour
In addition to numerous arches, there are also hundreds of these unique rock formations that can be found inside the park (click to see how each one forms):
- pinnacles / spires / towers / needles
- mesas / plateaus
- natural bridges
- stairstep canyons
- balanced rocks
- fins …which eventually become arches
Many of them can be seen from the 22-mile loop road inside the park. (It’s one way in, and the same way out.)
Here are turn-by-turn directions for a driving tour inside Arches National Park.
There aren’t any fun twisties (or even sweeping curves) inside the park — just 2 really cool switchbacks near the entrance/exit that get you up to (or down from) the plateau quickly. But that’s it. What makes them unique is the fact that you’re surrounded by massive amounts of red rock everywhere you look as you’re crossing the Moab Fault.
This video gives a great perspective of what it’s like to drive through Arches National Park:
Moab’s Natural Beauty
Arches National Park is located 5 miles north of Moab on U.S. 191.
We also went to nearby Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park to see some amazing rock formations, but they were nothing like Arches National Park! I’ll post photos from those parks in a separate post.
Arches National Park is #4 on this list of 10 Incredible Natural Rock Formations.
The entrance fee at Arches National Park is $5 per person on a motorcycle, and you can leave and re-enter as much as you like within the next 7 days.
Here’s a map of all the arches and rock formations you can see from the road — or hike to — in the park.
Okay, now for the photos… but trust me when I say that photos don’t do this place justice. The only way to experience the magnificence of these larger-than-life rocks and arches is to be there — in person. It’s jaw-dropping. I am not kidding, especially from the open-air ride of a motorcycle!
Day One: Motorcycling At Arches National Park
We arrived late afternoon.
I wanted to get some sunset photos, but it got too cloudy. While it didn’t rain, the clouds swooped in and darkened the skies so much that there was no sunset to be seen.
Photos taken while we were heading out of the park were the best due to the lighting and the sun’s reflection on the tall rocks at this time of day.
The 2 most notable arches that you can see from the road are:
- Skyline Arch – at the end of the loop road before you turn around. (It’s only a .4 mile round trip hike if you wish to get up close and personal with this arch.)
- Windows Arch – it’s too far away from the road to get any decent photos, but it’s still awe-inspiring to see the 2 holes in the sandstone from the road at a distance. (It’s a 1-mile round trip hike to see the Windows Arch up close.)
The closest we got to “hiking” was the time we drove to the Delicate Arch Lower Viewpoint — which is 1 mile past the trailhead. That was the only time we got off the motorcycle. From there, you can walk a short distance to the Delicate Arch Upper Viewpoint, but we didn’t. You can see Delicate Arch pretty well from the viewing point. But you really need a zoom lens for photos to do it any justice.
Here’s a helpful guide to what you can see from the road and what the hikes are like to the other arches.
That night, we stayed at the Days Inn in Moab. It’s an okay hotel — one of the few hotels that was reasonably priced in the area (even on a weeknight).
The next morning, we stopped by Denny’s for breakfast on our way back to see the Arches… again.
Day Two: Motorcycling At Arches National Park
This time, we arrived late morning.
Sunrise photos would have probably been amazing, but despite our best intentions, we just didn’t make it there in time.
Photos taken heading into the park were the best this time — due to the sun’s angle and the natural shadows on the tall rocks.
Due to a sudden rainstorm, we didn’t make it as far into the park as we wanted to. But since we’d already seen all that we could see from our motorcycle during the first day, we weren’t too bummed.
It was actually quite exciting trying to beat the storm out of the park without getting too wet. At the same time, I was able to get a lot of great shots of the low storm clouds and tall red rocks.
Again, the view was so much more breathtaking in person!…
Before the rain began, one side of the sky was clear blue with white puffy clouds (above), and the other side of the sky was dark and scary looking (below).
It was only a matter of minutes before the storm clouds swooped in and darkened the skies tremendously. We turned around and headed out of the park…
One More Arch Viewable From The Road
So that’s all of the highlights from Arches National Park… but that’s NOT all of the arches we saw on this day!
Heading out of Moab (south on U.S. 191), at mile marker 100 we passed Wilson’s Arch. It was a really nice surprise on an otherwise boring stretch of road.
When we were there, people were walking up inside the arch:
We’ve been to Arches National Park twice now, and I still want to go back again! Next time we want to add scenic Route 128 (the La Sal Mountain Loop) to our itinerary. We’ve been told by many that it’s a great motorcycle ride through canyons — my favorite!
More Photos + Arches National Park Tips
- Top 20 Things To See At Arches National Park
- Discover Moab Chart Of Easy, Moderate & Difficult Hikes
- Trip Advisor Photos, Reviews & Tips For Viewing The Arches
- National Geographic Road Trip Tips For Utah’s 5 National Parks
- Mysteries Behind The Sandstone Colors
- The Salt Lake Tribune’s Top 5 Hikes In Arches National Park
I like to help people find unique ways to do things in order to save time & money — so I write about “outside the box” ideas that most wouldn’t think of. As a lifelong dog owner, I often share my best tips for living with and training dogs. I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I’m truly passionate about. I’ve worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo — to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).