Capitol Reef National Park is certainly the most popular outdoor attraction for visitors to Cougar Ridge. But while it’s true that this beautiful national park is well worth a visit, it’s far from the only place to explore.
There are endless state parks, national parks, and other outdoor destinations that make for great day trips or afternoon adventures during your Cougar vacation. One popular day trip is to Arches National Park.
Arches is located less than three hours away from Cougar Ridge, making it a great choice for a day trip. This iconic national park is one of the most popular in the nation, thanks in large part to the natural stone arches that it’s named for.
Thinking about planning a day trip during your next Cougar vacation? Keep reading to learn a few Arches National Park facts you might not know.
It’s Home to More Than 2,000 Stone Arches
The name of this national park is no mistake. Arches covers more than 76,000 acres, making it roughly twice the size of Capitol Reef National Park. Within those acres, the park is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches.
These arches vary in size and shape. Many have names that reflect their location or their shape. For instance, Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch are a few of the most popular to see.
Delicate Arch is by far the park’s most iconic arch. It’s even featured on Utah state license plates and is often used as a symbol of the state. It stands 52 feet tall and is perched at the edge of a cliff, with views of a wide canyon below it. Getting to Delicate Arch is a challenging hike, but the trail is popular and well worth the effort.
If you aren’t making a trip to Arches National Park, you can still see an arch during your trip. Of the many Capitol Reef National Park facts that first-time visitors don’t know, the fact that the park is home to its own natural arches is often the most surprising. Hickman Bridge is a 125-foot-long natural bridge and one of the most popular hikes in the park. Cassidy Arch is another natural arch in Capitol Reef.
You May Need a Reservation to Get in
You won’t need a reservation to visit Capitol Reef National Park in 2023. But you may need one to get into Arches.
In the decade between 2011 and 2021, visitor numbers to Arches National Park swelled by more than 70 percent. The park has experienced severe crowding and traffic in recent years. That’s why in 2022, the National Park Service decided to implement a timed entry system at the park.
Now, visitors looking to enter the park between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. will need to have a timed entry ticket to do so. Reservations are required from April to October each year. Reservations for each month open three months prior. For instance, if you want to visit in August, you’ll need to purchase your reservation starting May 1. A limited number of additional reservations are available each day for the following day.
Reservations may sell out quickly. If you want to visit Arches on a specific day, you’ll want to be ready to purchase your ticket as soon as the window opens. Visiting during the off-season, when reservations aren’t required, is a great way to avoid the crowds and plan a last-minute visit.
It Has Served as a Backdrop for Many Hollywood Films
As far as Arches National Park facts go, this one might be the most fun. Arches has been used as a backdrop for a variety of popular films. Perhaps the most popular are Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Thelma and Louise. But the park also appeared in the 2003 movie, Hulk, and The Greatest Story Ever Told.
In fact, the park ranks sixth on the list of the top 10 most-filmed national parks in the U.S. With 41 film credits, it’s second only to Zion, with 46 credits, as the most filmed park in Utah.
Learn These Arches National Park Facts Before Your Visit
Whether you’re hoping to hike to an iconic arch or want to see the spot a favorite film of yours was filmed, make sure to check out these Arches National Park facts before your next visit. A day trip to Arches can be a great addition to your Cougar vacation. But there’s also plenty to see and explore even closer to Torrey.
Ready to start planning your next visit to Cougar Ridge? Now is a great time to do so. Right now, when you book a stay of three or more nights before June 30, you’ll enjoy a 25 percent discount on your stay. Book today to take advantage of this deal!