If you asked Chris what park he was most excited to visit, he would have told you Arches National Park. This was (and still is) his favorite National Park. When we lived in Colorado, Chris visited Arches NP on numerous camping, hiking, climbing, and canyoneering trips. It’s unlike anything on the east coast with it’s red rocks, arches, boulders, and slot canyons. He couldn’t wait to share it’s mysterious allure with Calvin.
‘The Windows’ Trail
The first hike that we picked in Arches National Park was “The Windows”. This 1 mile round trip hike that is relatively flat. You can add on a number of other arches or buttes onto the trip to extend it. We ended up hiking over to Turret Arch as well. Calvin had a BLAST on this hike. He enjoyed scampering up the red rocks, and looking through the Arches. What he loved most of all was climbing the boulders just off the trail.
‘Sand Dune Arch’ Trail
Although Calvin was pretty tuckered out from the hike to The Windows and Turret Arch, I spotted another hike that I knew would be perfect- Sand Dune Arch. Chris and I had explored this trail about 9 years ago, and I remembered it well. It’s a short (.2 miles) hike just off the road into a slot canyon. The slot canyon floor is full of red sand to play in, boulders to climb, and a gorgeous arch right in the middle. We spent the better part of an hour just climbing, jumping, and playing in the sand. (Cal was disappointed that we didn’t bring his digging equipment to make a sand castle.) I couldn’t imagine a better hike for kids in Arches National Park.
The Fiery Furnace
The Fiery Furnace is a collection of narrow sandstone canyons, fins, and natural arches. You have to get a permit to hike in this area. It’s considered a rather dangerous hike because there is no defined trail and it’s easy to get lost. They suggest taking a guided hike with a ranger if it’s your first time in the furnace. Chris had been in the Fiery Furnace on several occasions before, so he felt confident in guiding us. We watched the required ranger video and filled out the permit request. When our day to hike the furnace came, we woke up to rain. This meant our plans to hike in the furnace were off. When it rains, you should not go into the Fiery Furnace or any slot canyon! The rocks get very slick and there is a risk of flash flooding. (Please note: Children under 5 years old are not allowed on this hike. We fibbed Calvin’s age by two months to make him 5. It doesn’t matter anyway, because we didn’t end up going.)