With sandstone walls that rival New York City skyscrapers, this easy, 1.9-mile out-and-back along the Park Avenue of Arches National Park, shows how wind and erosion can create a variety of rock sculptures. From the Park Avenue parking lot, check out the La Sal Mountains in the distance before heading down a paved trail to the Park Avenue overlook.
At the overlook take in the expansive views of the 300- to 400-foot-tall red rock walls that line the wash below. To the right is a deep notch carved into a fin; bulky rock formations sit to the left, and Courthouse Towers (an assortment of tall stone columns) rises in the distance. Take the stone steps from the overlook to continue the hike.
Once on the canyon floor, look around in all directions. Beneath your feet are ripples in the rock and above are towering red cliffs, balanced rocks, and tiny holes in the rocks. Desert shrubs and juniper trees are sprinkled in the red sand throughout the canyon. As the trail makes its way to the road, Courthouse Towers comes into view. Once the trail meets the road, turn around and hike back.
Note: This hike has parking lots at both ends, so if you’re short on time and have two cars, you can turn this into a shuttle hike.
-Mapped by Sarah Curry