by Jake Wilhelmsen

The Colorado River, world-renowned mountain biking and License Plate Arch. A trip to the Arches National Park area would last a month if you explored all the geographical/geological oddities, but we made a list you can check off in a long, memorable weekend.

Here are our top 5 outdoor adventures in and around Arches, with quick access from nearby Moab.

5. Raft the Colorado at Fisher Towers

This trip down a lovely little stretch of the Colorado River puts in east of Arches and takes out right on the southeast of the park. It’s calm enough to accommodate kiddos but a couple sets of rapids will keep it exciting, with water fights spicing up the flat sections. Most people do it in half a day but it can be stretched into an overnighter.
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4. Hike to Delicate Arch

It looks organic but unnatural, like an alien in a movie. It’s too big, leans at odd angles and it’s unlike any of the other 2,000 arches in the park. The 3-mile hike (round trip) will be the most beautiful part of your day until Delicate Arch steps out from behind the mountain at the top. (Or you can grab a sneak peek five minutes earlier through a window in the ridge.) If you haven’t seen it, believe the hype.
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3. Mountain Bike Slickrock

Everyone remembers their first time on Slickrock. The (ironically named) super-grippy sandstone trail makes for a hundred mini-adventures in technical riding. It will never not be fun -- if you’re a novice, it’ll be the most intense ride you’ve done; if you’re an expert, try to pound through it in 90 minutes.
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2. Fiery Furnace

For professional wanderers. This garden of fins, buttes and canyons makes a human-sized rat maze that will get you hilariously lost. Or maybe just sign up (in advance!) for a ranger-led tour.
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1. Devil’s Garden

An easy walk to Landscape Arch, which will probably crumble if you raise your voice, gets challenging if you continue on the primitive loop to Double-O Arch. This is the longest maintained trail in the park with the largest concentration of natural arches in the world. The. Whole. World.
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