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Windows Section of Arches National Park

Windows section of arches national park 3
Turret Arch seen through the north window at sunrise

The Windows, Turret Arch, and Double Arch are the star attractions you won’t want to miss when visiting this section of Arches National Park, however, there is more to see which I will reveal.


The Windows section of the park is very scenic and loaded with arches, fins, and interesting tower formations and gets lit up and glows at both sunrise and sunset.


The trails are short and easy and the trail to Double Arch is wheelchair accessible, along with the first 100 yards of the Windows Trail.


For those who want to see more, you can also explore a little further to see The Parade of Elephants, Cove Arch, Ribbon Arch, Elephant Butte, and the Cove of Caves which are within half a mile of each other.


The Windows Section is accessed by a north and a south paved parking lot that is connected by a short path between them. You can park in either one and just walk between them to see all the sites, or park in the one closest to the sites you want to see.


South Parking Lot
Is the closest access to Windows and Turret Arch


North Parking Lot
Is the closest access to Double Arch, The Parade of Elephants, Turret Arch, Cove Arch, Ribbon Arch, Elephant Butte, and the Cove of Caves

Getting there
Drive 9.2 miles into Arches National Park, 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 Section Trails. The road dead-ends here and forms a loop, there is a parking lot on the north side of the loop (Double Arch)  and one on the south side (Windows). There is a trail connecting the two parking areas
  • No dogs, national park
  • The windows area is popular and can get crowded, visit early or late to avoid the crowds
Photo Notes

Map of the Windows section of Arches National Park


The Windows & Turret Arch

The Windows look like a pair of eyeglasses and have a north and south arch (the north and south window). The trail is a loop that takes you to both arches of the Windows formation and Turret Arch which stands by itself just to the east.
The north and south windows in arches national park
The Windows
The trails circle between the arches with three spurs to the base of each arch and give you unique views from inside, in front of and behind the formations.
1.3 miles total loop, 150 feet of elevation gain
From the parking lot head south, turn left at the first junction, and climb the steps to the base of North Window Arch, keep walking and you are inside the arch, with views of the landscape to the east and south. 
Windows section of arches national park
Behind the windows
The landscape on the other side of the North Window at sunrise
Leaving North Window Arch, head toward Turret Arch on the other side of the loop trail. You can climb up into the arch of Turret Arch and look back for a view of the Windows framed by Turret Arch.
Walking the trail to Turret Arch
Turret Arch
Windows section of arches national park 5
Now head back the way you came heading east to South Window Arch. The south arch is higher up so the view is from the trail below.
Continue the loop now behind the windows, with views of the backside of them, as you continue north on the trail and it will loop back around to the south parking lot.

Visiting Double Arch and the other sites

Windows section of arches national park 8Double Arch

Visiting Double Arch can be a quick and easy out-and-back walk on a sandy trail to this stunning twin arch formation, or you can add some other close-by sites to the walk if you want to see more.

The trail takes you right to the base of the arches, or you can climb up under them for a better look. The smaller arch is 67 feet wide and 86 feet tall. The larger arch is 112-foot tall, with a 144-foot wide span, and is the tallest in the park.
Geologists believe these arches started off as just a pothole on the surface above that enlarged over time and formed an alcove that eventually eroded with water and wind into these two spectacular arches.
If they look familiar it might be because they were used as a backdrop for the opening scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Double arch went by a few other names over the years, like Double Windows, Jug Handles, and Twinbow Bridge.
0.5 miles total out and back, 80 feet of elevation gain plus a little more if you go back to Cove of Arches
From the north parking lot, you should see the trail with lots of interesting rock formations spread out in a sweeping panorama in front of you.
The trail to double arch
Parade of Elephants rock formation
Parade of elephants
On your left is the large formation called Parade of Elephants envision a line of elephants holding each other’s tails.
As you get about halfway to Double Arch keep an eye out for the small unnamed arch sitting in a picturesque scene to your right.
Unnamed arch near double arch
As you approach Double Arch, look around at all the piles of rock and alcoves that are forming in this area, these are all arches in the making.
Once you’ve climbed around Double Arch and are ready for more, look for footprints in the sand heading up hill to the left of trail just before you get to the base of the arch.
If you climb up this small sandy hill and go to the saddle to the left of Double Arch you will stand in an area where you can look behind Double Arch. This is the Cove of Caves and Cove Arch
Windows section of arches national park 9
Behind the arches is Elephant butte, at 5653 it’s the highest point in the park and is a popular rock climbing area. Look to your northeast, there are intersting rock formations to see in the distance before heading back.

Windows section of arches national park 2


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