Hey guys, I'm thinking of planning a trip to Arches for November, any suggestions for routes and gear, given the weather? Looks like it'll be cold but not awful, and there's some chance of snow but not huge. thanks!
Arches is a lovely park, but more of a 'windshield' tourist park and day hikes. Worth a visit AFTER a backpacking trip IMO.If you want some backpacking, consider the relatively nearby Canyonlands NP. The Needles district in particular. The Maze is remote and hard to get to and Island in the Sky is similar to Arches.I did a wonderful backpacking trip there over Thanksgiving a couple of years back:http://www.pmags.com/four-days-in-abbey-countryIt was a bit cold at night (single digiti temps), but the temps are usually more moderate...more like this trip I also did over Thanksgiving week the following year:http://www.pmags.com/four-days-on-the-colorado-plateau-canyonland-arches-and-colorado-national-monumentHope that helps.....
Arches has great backpacking. It's not easy, so the park service won't be too helpful, and there isn't much water (even by SW standards). The Needles is good but has too many people.Thru-hiking Courthouse from highway to highway is a worthwhile endeavor, though it's very doable in a day. The real backpacking gem is Upper Salt wash and Lost Spring Canyon.
I found Arches to more crowded than Canyonlands NP by far. Maybe it was just perception, but the two times I was backpacking in Canyonlands I saw no one other than at The Confluence.Island in the Sky has more traffic than Needles (more accessible).Maybe because I can comfortably do larger miles, but did not find Arches too appealing for backpacking. Even in November, was surprised at the traffic. Seems more for 'windshield tourists' than hikers. Needles takes two hours just to get to from Moab; Arches is practically in Moab.Guess it is a matter of point of view (and perhaps time of year) as much as anything.
I did an absolutely brilliant day hike--about 12 miles I think--at Island in the Sky some years ago in November. I'm at work and can't quite remember the name of the trail, but it's not one that drops down to the river. The scenery was stunning and the highlight was using a fixed "wire" in the rock as a handhold in order to negotiate an otherwise technical area of rock. This last may help to identify the hike. As usual no trails but some ducks to indicate the way. This trail did utilize a dry creek bed for some of the way. There were also some alternate routes in this area that could make an over-nighter worthwhile. No water though. My hike was a loop. Wish I could be more helpful with a name!
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