Top 8 Sites to See on an Arches National Park Tour
By Redtail Air Adventures
Located just outside of Moab, Utah, Arches National Park is a bucket list destination for many Americans. It is accessible by car, or by plane! There are connecting flights into Moab from Las Vegas, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Grand Junction, Colorado. If you decide to make a road trip out of your vacation, directions are fairly simple! If you’re driving from the direction of Salt Lake City, you can take the I-15 South in the direction of Las Vegas. Merge onto US HWY 6 East, followed by US 191 South towards Crescent Junction and Moab. Make sure to keep right on US 191 South to get to Moab! From Las Vegas, you can take the I-15 North towards Salt Lake City. Make sure to get off at exit 132 towards I-70 East. Get off the highway at exit 182 towards Crescent Junction towards US 191 South and you will soon see signs pointing you straight towards Arches National Park!
Arches National Park is unmatched by any other landscape in the world! There are so many incredible features and formations in the park and in surrounding areas, it can seem impossible to see everything during a short vacation. Driving and hiking around the park is a great way to see the amazing sights close up for the first time. Especially on weekends, the roads and trails around the notable formations can be quite crowded with tourists. Taking an Arches National Park tour on an airplane will allow you to see the sights from a whole new and unique perspective. Taking a flight with Redtail Air can allow you to see even more of the natural beauty that this park has to offer in a short period of time, without the hassle of being around a ton of people!
Top 8 Sights to See in Arches National Park!
1. Delicate Arch
Perhaps the most famous of the iconic arches located in Arches National Park, Delicate Arch is one that you won’t want to miss! While Arches National Park has over 2,000 arches to see, Delicate Arch is the largest free-standing arch in the whole park! It is widely recognized as a symbol of Utah for its remarkable beauty.
From the Ground: while Delicate Arch is visible from a distance at pull-offs along the road, you will probably want to park and take a little hike to get the full experience! You can park at either Wolfe Ranch, or if that is full, the Delicate Arch Viewpoint parking lot (the name is self-explanatory!). From the Wolfe Ranch lot, you can take a relatively easy, 3-mile round trip hike to get up close and personal with the gorgeous arch.
From the Air: Delicate Arch is a site that you won’t want to miss out on while you’re flying high up in the air! From your unparalleled airplane view, you will see sides of the arch that folks on the ground will never have the opportunity to lay their eyes upon. There is absolutely nothing like seeing Delicate Arch from a bird’s eye view- the experience of seeing and photographing it from a plane is unmatched by any other!
Delicate Arch from the ground
Delicate Arch from the air
2. Courthouse Towers
The Courthouse Towers make up another feature that you won’t want to miss during your trip to Arches National Park. The ‘towers’ are made up of massive monolithic sandstone towers that loom over the contrasting flat desert floor. They are a sight to behold!
From the Ground: Taking a 2-mile round trip hike beginning at the Park Avenue viewpoint will afford you a great up-close view of these amazing sandstone structures. The Courthouse Towers are made up of four separate formations: The Organ, The Tower of Babel, The Three Gossips, and Sheep Rock.
From the Air: Viewing the Courthouse Towers from an airplane will give you an even greater perspective on the sheer size of the rocks, and a greater appreciation for the area. From above, you can truly gain a greater understanding of the geologic history before you. Seeing the towers aerially will give you a great view that is unrivaled by what you can see from the hiking trail.
Courthouse Towers from the ground
3. Balanced Rock
As the name might suggest, Balanced Rock is a massive 3,600-ton sandstone boulder that appears to be precariously balanced on top of the eroding pedestal of mudstone beneath it! One of the most iconic sights in Arches National Park, witnessing the famous Balanced Rock for yourself is an experience you won’t want to miss out on- by foot and by airplane!
From the Ground: there is an easy loop hike on a partially paved trail that will take you right up to, and around- the iconic Balanced Rock! At only 0.3 miles roundtrip and less than 50 feet of elevation gain, most people can complete this short trek with ease. A hike along Balanced Rock Trail will also offer you views of the Windows portion of Arches National Park.
From the Air: beholding the infamous Balanced Rock is one thing from the hiking trail and a totally different experience from the air. Out of the airplane window, you can truly appreciate the size and magnitude of this otherworldly rock formation. Once you see Balanced Rock from a plane, you won’t want to put your camera down!
Balanced Rock at night
4. Devil's Garden Area
While there are so many different types of rock formations to see while you are traveling in Arches National Park, Devils Garden offers an amazing variety! Here you can gawk at numerous arches, spires, and fins. In this area, you can also camp or take a backpacking trip if you are up for it! You can park your car in the parking lot at the end of Devil’s Garden Road, where you will find the well-marked trailhead. There are a variety of hiking options to choose from here- from short and lowkey strolls to longer and more strenuous hikes! Whatever path you choose, you can rest assured the views you find will be well worth the trek. The entire Devil’s Garden loop is among the more difficult of the Arches National Park hikes, but you can make it as long or as short as you need.
From the Ground: Setting out to hike the Devil’s Garden loop will take you on a gorgeous trail that affords you views of not one, but nine different arches! This hike is more lengthy and difficult than many others in the park, so be sure to carry water. The full trail along with all of its side spurs is about 9 miles long, but you could easily modify it to make it shorter if you wanted! This hike also gives you great views of the nearby La Sal mountain range in the distance.
From the Air: Because Devil’s Garden can take so long to traverse, it can be much more time-efficient to hop on a plane and enjoy the view! If you aren’t an avid hiker, this option will afford you all of the amazing views- and you won’t even have to break a sweat! From the airplane, you can really take in the incredible diversity of rock formations in and around the Devils Garden area. Not to mention, you will be able to see for miles and miles in any direction!
Landscape Arch as seen during a hike near the Devil’s Garden Area
5. Landscape Arch
While you might think “if I’ve seen one, I’ve seen them all,” this is definitely not true when it comes to the incredible arches of Arches National Park. While there are over 2,000 of them in the park- each one is incredibly unique and beautiful in its own way. Each one may have the power to take your breath away, time and time again! Landscape Arch is especially neat because it spans 306 feet, and is one of the longest spans of stone in the world!
From the Ground: hiking to see the beautiful landscape arch is easy! Simply park at the Devil’s Garden trailhead, and follow the well-traveled, flat dirt trail for a little under a mile to get right up to the Landscape Arch. This hike is rated as easy, and has very little elevation change!
From the Air: Landscape Arch is one of the most popular hikes in all of Arches National Park! If you want to skip the crowds and the bothersome lines and get your own view of this amazing feature, an airplane tour is just the experience you are looking for! The views are stunning, and the memories from the experience will last you a lifetime.
6. Fiery Furnace
Visiting Fiery Furnace will not leave you disappointed! It is a unique assemblage of very narrow sandstone canyons- while you are in it, it feels like a maze of passages within the rock. In the Fiery Furnace area, you can see canyons, fins, and arches! Fiery Furnace is among the more difficult of the Arches National Park hikes.
From the Ground: hiking in the Fiery Furnace area can be dangerous, and requires some planning ahead. If you want to explore this area on foot, you need to obtain a permit or register for a guided hike. Reservations can be really hard to come by, due to the high popularity of Fiery Furnace. Due to the maze-like nature of this area and the difficulty of obtaining a reservation, seeing Fiery Furnace from the air rather than the ground might be your best bet!
From the Air: Fiery Furnace gets its name from the vibrant orange and red hues it exhibits- especially in the sunset hours. Seeing the Fiery Furnace from the air will give you a huge field of vision that you wouldn’t get from the ground, and the bird’s eye view will allow you to fully take in and appreciate all of the brilliant colors this feature has to offer.
The Fiery Furnace as seen from the air. Photo Credit: Tom Till
7. Elephant Butte
What sets Elephant Butte above other attractions in Arches National Park is… its height! This massive butte is 5653 feet in height, making it the highest point in the whole park. If you have a fear of heights, this might not be a hike for you because it requires some rock climbing, scrambling, and rappelling!
From the Ground: The Elephant Butte trail is only 1.6 miles roundtrip, but it is rated as difficult. This is because the trail requires canyoneering, rock scrambling, and climbing and rappelling if you are feeling up for it! For avid rock climbers, the routes are pretty easy- but if you are a novice to the sport you may find this area quite challenging! It is important to know your limits and skill level to keep yourself out of harm’s way.
From the Air: If you wish to avoid any difficult and potentially dangerous canyoneering and climbing experiences, taking in the views of Elephant Butte from the air is your best bet! From the air, you will be able to more fully see the namesake of this incredible butte, and from multiple angles!
Elephant Butte as seen from the ground
8. Three Gossips
The Three Gossips is a rock formation in the Courthouse Towers area of Arches National Park. As the name suggests, this formation looks to be like three beings gossiping to one another! From the Arches Visitor Center, drive for 3.5 miles until you see the sign for the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint. There is a paved parking lot where you can leave your car for a hike or a rock climbing adventure!
From the Ground: The Three Gossips formation tends to attract more rock climbers than day hikers, so if you have climbing gear and experience- this is a great place for you to play! If you simply want to hike up to the base of the Three Gossips to snap some pics, this is easily achievable. The formation is very close to the parking area for the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint.
From the Air: Since the average day hiker cannot reach the top of the Three Gossips (they are steep!), the views are very limited from the ground. From the air, however, is a different story entirely! You can see the tops and sides of this incredible formation, even if you do not have the rock climbing gear or experience that is required to climb up to the top. From the air, this formation is accessible to anyone who wants a view! From a plane, you can truly take in the grandeur of the Three Gossips.
Three Gossips seen on the far left of this image
Explore Arches National Park With Redtail Air!
Arches National Park attracts over 1.5 million visitors each year, and for good reason! This magnificent park is full of natural wonders and incredible rock formations. Taking a trip to Arches National Park is taking a step back in time- to explore all of the unbelievable ways in which wind and water have played upon the rocks for millions of years. See with your own eyes how a simple sea bed was transformed into countless fins, rays, arches, pinnacles, and hoodoos! The formations that you can see here are unmatched by any other place in the world. Grab your hiking shoes, and book a flight with Redtail Air Adventures to fully immerse yourself in all of the beauty and wonder that this park has to offer!