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Christmas in Arches 2019

Christmas Day | Wednesday, December 25, 2019

It’s Christmas time again and that means it’s time for our annual Christmas trip to Arches National Park! We left home early on Wednesday morning and headed west into Utah during the tail end of a winter storm that left a little snow, ice and fog in its wake. This slowed down our drive just a little bit, but we still made it to Arches in about two hours. We headed straight to the Devils Garden Trailhead so we could start off the day with our annual hike to Landscape Arch to make sure it’s still standing after another year.

I think I take a photo of this large fin from the Devils Garden Trailhead every time I arrive here for a hike, which is usually only on Christmas Day.

First Fin

There was a thin layer of snow on the trail as we hiked between fins into Devils Garden.

Between Fins

Landscape Arch is still standing after yet another year.

Landscape Arch, Christmas 2019

After returning to the trailhead we went searching for another arch nearby and found this rippled sand in a slot between fins.


Diamond Arch was larger and nicer than I was expecting it to be.

Diamond Arch

Exploring another slot nearby.

Snow Slot

Snow & Fins

Snow & Fins

We stopped and hiked out to the Fiery Furnace Viewpoint as we drove to our next destination.

Fiery Furnace Viewpoint

We also made a quick stop at the Salt Valley Overlook.

Salt Valley Overlook

After hiking all of the official trails in the Island in the Sky earlier this month, I decided to look at a map of Arches National Park to see if I was missing any of the ‘official trails’ there. While I have hiked almost all of the trails in Arches multiple times, there was one that I had neglected to hike before. I’ve hiked to Delicate Arch a number of times over the years, but I had never visited the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint, so I made a point to hike that final trail today while we were in the park.

The view from the actual end of the Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trail was pretty disappointing. You couldn’t even see through the arch from here.

Viewpoint Trail End

I continued past the end of the trail onto a sandstone slab for a better view. Honestly, the views from here just don’t compare to actually hiking to the arch.

Delicate Arch Viewpoint

There was a nice view over Winter Camp Wash from up here, though…

Winter Camp Wash

Next up we went searching for a new petroglyph panel I had not been to before. This one took us longer to find than I was expecting since we started off looking in the wrong place. We did eventually find the small panel, but it’s very faded and almost impossible to see now.

Here’s a better photo of the panel from back when it was easier to see: In A Dream

The Dream Panel

The Dream Panel

A view of Balanced Rock as we headed over to The Windows Section for our last hike of the day.

Balanced Rock View

The Parade of Elephants and Elephant Arch

Parade of Elephants

A nice view of the North Window from the Primitive Trail.

North Window

We hiked along this long sandstone wall to a short pass in the shadows ahead.

Along The Wall

We were on our way to find Ribbon Arch, but when we crossed over the pass we were surprised to find Christmas Tree Arch which was unexpected and fitting for the day!

Christmas Tree Arch

Then we spotted Little Duck Arch a little further away.

Little Duck Arch

There was a nice view of the La Sal Mountains from this side of the butte.

La Sal Mountains

Sandstone wanderings as we made our way over to Ribbon Arch.

Sandstone Wanderings

Finally we spotted Ribbon Arch high above on top of Elephant Butte. It was a little tough to get a shot of it since the sun was right behind it while we were there.

Ribbon Arch

During our hike back I climbed up for a closer view of Christmas Tree Arch.

Under Christmas Tree Arch

Hiking back over to the pass we had come through.

Christmas Tree Pass

The view of The Windows Section from the pass was pretty nice and a great way to end the day!

Exploring The Windows Section

>> Christmas in Arches 2019 Photo Gallery


  1. Roger Cook
    Roger Cook December 30, 2019

    I happened to be in Arches on Christmas also. It was really spectacular and not very crowded. Love your pictures.

  2. Randy Langstraat
    Randy Langstraat January 2, 2020

    Thanks Roger! I always enjoy spending Christmas at Arches, although it does seem to get busier each passing year.

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