A visit to Arches National Park in the summer? No way!

The heat is intense and so are the crowds. And there is no parking at the pullouts.

In the summertime, the lines to get in are usually so long that vehicles are backed up from the park entrance onto Utah Highway 191. There’s often a Utah Highway Patrol officer telling drivers the park is closed.

But I had family visiting from the East Coast earlier this summer, and they were hoping to see Arches.

A check of the weather showed a day with temperatures in the low 90s, so we took a chance and headed to Utah.

My backup plan was to go to nearby Canyonlands National Park or Dead Horse Point State Park.

After taking a scenic drive along the Colorado River on Utah Highway 128 and turning north onto Highway 191 toward Arches, I was very surprised to see no cars waiting to get into the park. And this was on a Sunday morning in the middle of tourist season!

We found open parking spaces at the turnouts, and the trails weren’t packed.

After enjoying Arches’ views, we returned to the Grand Valley and went to Colorado National Monument the next day.

Incredibly, the lines were much longer than they had been in Arches.

If you decide to visit Arches in the near future, I hope you have the same luck we did.

In the meantime, happy trails!