Distance: 1.25 miles
The Windows Trail of Arches National Park is one of the most popular areas the park, attracting many of the visitors to the area for its spectacular sandstone arches and formations. Found here are some of the most iconic formations inside of the park, including the North Window and Turret Arch. This easy trail also gives panoramic views of the La Sal Mountains and the Colorado River canyon northeast of Moab.
The Windows Hike Trail Description
From the parking area, begin by climbing the stairs along the trail through an open field as it ascends up toward the North Window. You’re led to easy access into the North Window where an expansive and wide view opens up eastward, revealing a landscape of rock stretching as far as the eye can see, broken only by the mighty La Sal Mountains.
You’re then led around a small butte where you can also spur off the trail to access the iconic Turret Arch, and it’s highly recommended that you do. Once you’ve explored the arch and it’s surroundings, heading back south on the trail will bring you to an overlook of eroded sandstone fins with a gaping view eastward. Here a more primitive trail will guide you below to the south, below the lesser known but equally impressive South Window, seen as a massive eroded hole in the enormous rock wall rising high above you.
The trail meanders between a number of slickrock formations as you pass nearby the backside of the monstrous North Window. The trail continues to lead you through a forest of juniper trees as increasingly open views to the north open up, revealing the Book Cliffs far off on the horizon. Continuing ahead, the Colorado River comes into sight off to the east, marked by a giant canyon slicing through the rocky landscape.
You’re soon led up toward a small sandstone pass revealing even more fantastic vistas to the southeast. As you emerge on the opposite side, you pass through a large field of sand and sagebrush before being brought back to the parking area.
From the Arches National Park Visitor Center, turn right onto Arches Scenic Drive (aka, the main road), and follow that for 9 miles. Turn right onto Windows Road, and follow that to its terminus at a large looping parking area. Park and look for the trailhead to the south of the parking lot.