The Fiery Furnace and More at Arches NP

There is nothing like driving through 100+ degree heat through the desert, anticipating our arrival in Arches National Park, where we would proceed to spend two nights at Devils Garden Campground, at the very back of the park with no electric or services.  Despite the fear, I have been totally looking forward to camping in this amazing playground for six months, since making our reservation at the coolest campsite ever.

We pulled into Moab early afternoon, knowing full well we could not drive into the park right then.  We killed some time in Moab collecting report card freebies around town.  

A stop at the Arches Visitor confirmed we would have a great visit!  The kids were overjoyed when we arrived at our campsite, claiming it was one of the two best spots ever, tied with the Redwoods. 

Despite the heat, there were shady areas amongst the red cliffs and trees. 

We discovered that Skyline Arch was a short walk behind our campsite, and as we looked down from inside the arch at all the people at the viewing pullout along the road, we couldn’t help but think we had found the best kept secret of the park.  The kids called it “our arch.” 

After getting settled, we took the loop trail to Tapestry Arch

and Broken Arch.  We had so much fun trying to recreate our original family picture at Broken Arch from 5 years ago. 


It could never be as amazing as Jim David’s amazing photo, but we sure had fun trying to recreate it with our makeshift self-timed tripod. 

Wow things have changed it 5 years!


While there is no service in the campground, we were able to collect some messages while we were out hiking and found out Kimmy, Ben, and Jill were arriving shortly.  Kimmy and Ben had come in from India, and cousin Jill from Chicago, and we were all so excited to have them join us for the next 10 days.  After eating a quick dinner, we showed them the amazing rock playland behind our site.

We went to bed early, with plans for some early hikes before the heat of the day came.  Delicate Arch was a great 3 mile hike to kick things off with the gang. 


Turret Arch, the Windows, and Double Arch were up next.



Fiery Furnace was high on our list, so we raced over to the visitor center before lunch to purchase permits ($6 adults, $3 kids) for the next day.  

By then, it was so hot, we knew we couldn’t be outside for any length of time, so we discussed a couple options, Ken’s Lake, the Moab Aquatic Center, and a drive up to Canyonlands National Park.  Because our vacation buddies had never been there, we took the drive up to Canyonlands.  The air conditioned car was a nice reprieve,

and we spent some time at the visitor center, Mesa Arch,

and Grand View Point.  The photos never disappoint with this crew!

Back at the campsite, we had dinner before an evening hike out in Devils Garden to see Landscape, Navajo, and Partition Arches. What a beautiful evening hike!




The kids loved catching lizards and other critters along the way.



Once again, the sunset was spectacular.

The next morning, we pulled out early with the camper in tow to snag one of the few RV parking spots at the Fiery Furnace Trailhead.  This was definitely a highlight of Arches for us! 









While the ranger said there were no trails, we found the arrows through the towering peaks essential to navigate through the furnace. 

While the name made it sound like the last place we would want to be, the Fiery Furnace was cool and shady with the towering peaks cloud cover overhead.  If we weren’t moving on this day, we would have loved to spend all day here!






We ended our time driving back through the park past balanced rock and so many other amazing rock formations in Arches

at the visitor center becoming junior rangers.

What a magical place!

Travel dates: 6/12-6/14

Additional photo credits: Jill Heikkila and Kim Hoff

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