|Elevation Gain||266 ft|
|My Time||52 min|
|Food Nearby||Moab Diner|
Park Avenue Trail
The Park Avenue Trail in Arches National Park is one of the first trails upon entering the park. While it doesn’t have views of any of the iconic arches, it has plenty of amazing rock formations to look at. There is an observation deck and also a trail that is relatively easy but a steep staircase might keep some away from the hike.
As you enter Arches National Park the first thing you will come to is the visitor center. If you didn’t bring water, make sure to stop here and top off your jugs because it is the only spot for water in the park most of the year. The next step will be to drive into the park which starts with a winding road that climbs into the park. Just over two miles into the park you will come to the Park Avenue trailhead on the left side of the road.
There is a paved section of sidewalk that leads to an observation point for those that don’t want to do the full hike. Next to the observation point is a rock stairway that leads to the bottom of the valley and is the start of the Park Avenue Trail.
Once you have made it to the valley floor the surrounding rock walls are bit intimidating but also awe inspiring.. The first half of the trail has a very identifiable sandy trail that leads between some desert plants. The trail is narrow but as you get to about the halfway point that changes a bit.
As you make your way further along the path the ground turns to a more rocky base. The trail disappears and you have to rely more on cairns on the ground. I found the biggest challenge was keeping my eyes down on the ground with so much to look at around the trail.
The hike is essentially a mile on the valley floor until you come to a small staircase that leads back to the main park road. Across the road is the Courthouse Viewpoint parking lot so if you have two cars you could have one at each trailhead to do this as a point to point. If, like most, you are doing this as an out and back, remember the big staircase you will need to get back to the trailhead. Other than the stairs there is no real elevation gain to speak of other than a couple of small rocks to step up on.
Because the trail is flat it is easy to just take your time and enjoy all the amazing views around. I really enjoyed this. As someone who has been to Arches before it was nice to see a different part of the park and if you have never been it will be a great introduction to the park!
Video of the Park Avenue Trail
I have put together this time lapsed video of the Park Avenue Trail to give you a feel of what the hike was like. If you enjoy the video, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get updates on the latest videos.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 1.91 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 166 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 4,547 feet. I was also moving for a total of 52 minutes.
Note: The high point was actually at the start of the hike as it immediately heads down.
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The Park Avenue hike wasn’t that challenging from a hike standpoint but there are some tough elements. The first and foremost was the fact that it was about 100 degrees. The hike is exposed and you will have to prepare for the heat. The hike also starts with a steep staircase to walk down, but that means you have to walk back up it at the end of the hike so make sure you save some energy. Overall, I am going to keep this as an easy hike but if you are new to hiking or not used to the heat it may be much harder.
Arches is pretty much a desert and the terrain matches that on the Park Avenue Trail. The trail is cross between sandy and rocky. The trail gets a little hard to keep track of as well especially in the rocky sections. It is important to stay as close to the trail as possible and make sure you aren’t walking near any of the plant life. Shoes with good grip are important on the sandy rocks.
The Park Avenue Trail is one of the first places you can stop when entering Arches National Park. It is 2 miles after passing the visitor center. There is a parking lot for about 20 cars and no restrooms available at the trailhead. As of 2022 Arches has a timed entry ticket system. You need a reservation to enter the park at a designated time. Information can be found on Recreation.gov. There is also a fee of $30 for a private vehicle to enter the park.
Wrapping up the Park Avenue Trail
I had been to Arches before. This trip I only had a couple of hours to run into the park as part of a road trip. I wanted to get in a short hike and Park Avenue was perfect. It was only two miles and didn’t take too long but was really stunning.
The Park Avenue Trail is a great introduction to the park. It shows what the terrain is going to look like, gets you accustomed to the heat and allows you to see some amazing rock formations. Plus, if you aren’t in the mood for the hike, you can always get the views from the observation platform at the start of the hike. I really enjoyed this hike and it was great for a quick stop in the park.
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