In Arches, if you’re up for some slickrock and crossing a 6-foot wide sandstone fin, then Double O Arch in Devils Garden is for you. The trail is easy to Landscape Arch
, the longest arch in North America. You’ll have crowds to this point, but once you head straight up some slickrock, the crowds quickly dwindle. There’s some scrambling on this 4.2-mile round-trip hike, but the effort is worth it to see the Double O and vista views. It is easy to get turned around on the primitive trails so keep an eye out for cairns, which are rock mounds that mark the trail.
On the way to Canyonlands, you pass Dead Horse Point State Park
. It’s a detour worth taking to get the best panorama of the Colorado River and Canyonlands’ carved landscape. Legend is that cowboys used the narrow neck of the mesa top as a natural corral for wild mustangs. You can head straight out to the point overlook, but I’d suggest hiking the rim. Take East Rim Trail first, stop at the overlook, then continue on the West Rim Trail. You’ll likely enjoy solitude on the west side. When I hiked Fisher Towers, I felt like I had stepped into a Western movie. I couldn’t stop saying “wow,” at the soaring fins, spires, pinnacles and odd-shaped monstrous sandstone rock formations. A mile into the hike I reached the gigantic Titan formation. Most hikers stop there, but I continued on and enjoyed the serenity of having the rest of the trail virtually to myself. Once you get to the “Trail Ends” sign, relax and take in the view on this 5.2-mile round-trip trek.
For a hike with dinosaur tracks, petroglyphs (rock art), an arch and no crowds, the Longbow Arch hike is it. It’s only 2.4 miles round-trip and right off of SR 279. The tracks and petroglyphs are less than a quarter of a mile into the hike. Green dots lead the way on the slickrock as it changes from rugged to smooth mounds. You’ll make a turn and Longbow Arch comes into sight. Scramble up under the arch for a great view.