The Windows Trail
Also known as the Spectacles, these two arches stand side by side, though separated by some distance, cut from the same sandstone fin. A large “nose” separates the Spectacle arches visually from the southwest, made of a gigantic fin remnant over 100 feet wide. Directly southwest of the Windows sits Turret Arch with its vigilant tower standing beside. The whole Windows area is full of unique and captivating stone formations, with many arches among them.
Trail Type: Hiking
Length: 1 mile round trip
To get there, drive 9.2 miles up the Arches Entrance Road, and then take the first right after Balanced Rock into the Windows section of the park. You will follow this road 2.7 miles to its end at a circle for the Windows Trail. This is a leisurely trail, and visitors can easily extend their visit to include Double Arch, the Parade of Elephants, and the other features of the Windows area of the park should they have the time and the desire.
The Windows Trailhead
There is ample parking here for the many visitors that frequent the Windows section of the park.
The fin that Turret Arch is carving away is over 100 feet wide, but the arch itself is relatively young and small. There is a secondary, smaller arch directly to the right of the main arch, and maybe within a few hundred thousand years or so the two of them will join to create a larger arch.
The two Spectacles are formed of the same sandstone fin, one of the farthest reaches of the collection that sits below Elephant Butte.
Double Arch takes its name because of it consists of two arches that share the same stone as a foundation for both of their outer legs. Double Arch was formed by downward water erosion from atop the sandstone, rather than from side-to-side water erosion.
The Parade of Elephants
To the south of Double Arch lies a lone section of sandstone, the remnants of the fin to which Double Arch used to belong. The rock formation appears to be a herd of elephants, holding each others’ tails, traveling single file. The formation consists of a few small arches within the elephants’ ranks that seem to give the impression that they were actually carved to appear as the pachyderms.
Click here for more information about Arches and the surrounding area.