Published: February 11th 2009February 11th 2009
The Windows Loop and Windows Primitive Trail is a short loop that goes around the Windows formations in Arches National Park in southeast Utah. The Windows Section is a popular stop and is a place with wide views a number of large arches in compact area. Going counter clockwise, the first part of the trail goes behind the South Window. The Primitive Trail is not lined with easy steps like the main Windows Trail. Continuing around there are views of "The Spectacles" from behind. This view is lacking the large nose like formation that you see well from Turret Arch.
There are more than 2000 arches inside the park, a surprising number at first, but they are counting a lot of small ones. Keeping an eye out there appears to be a small one high above as the trail winds back to the front of the Windows.
The Parade of Elephants formation near Double Arch comes into view toward the end of the trail and gives a clear view of the minor arch there. To the left of the main Windows there is an arch that is hard to see as there is a rock wall behind it, but
sunlight from above gives it away. This is Biceps Arch. This arch lines up with "The Spectacles" and looks like a third eye, but a blind one. Seagull Arch is also in this area.
The Turret Arch Trail is a side loop of the Windows Loop Trail. The short trail offers easy steps up to the large opening with the turret like formation to the left. As this is a side trail there may be a tendency to view it from a distance and go to the North and South Windows, but there are some good views of the surrounding area in addition to the arch itself.
The Turret Arch appears to also be a double arch with a smaller opening to the left. There is a short primitive trail that allows you to get up under the span of the large arch. From the Turret Arch the North and South Window appear as "The Spectacles" with a large nose formation in between. The back side of Turret Arch is accessible and from here you can view The Spectacles framed through the Turret Arch.
The Double Arches Trail is a short route on the west side of
the Windows Section leading to one of the more spectacular Arches in the park.
Besides the large Double Arch there are several minor arches to keep an eye out for. From the start of the trail, the formations to the left are the Parade of Elephants. Two minor arches are visible. The larger one could be imagined as an eye for one of the elephants.
The Double Arch is the third largest in the Park. The larger span is 144 feet long by 112 feet high. The smaller arch is 67 feet long by 86 feet high.
Looking back to the left, I there is a view that looks like a skull with two flaming eyes. The eye to the left is an arch but to the right is just a notch. There is another minor arch to the left of the left eye but it is hard to see from this point as there is rock behind it. A little further forward and blue sky is visible through it.
Looking to the right, the arch visible is Christmas Tree Arch. They are very militant about staying on the trail in the highly visited areas, and
there is no trail going over there to look closer. Closer to the Double Arch and looking up to the left there is a minor arch. The park brochure says that the opening has to be about 3 feet to qualify for the official catalog.
Close up to the massive Double Arch. The major span has a horizontal gap that also appears to be a minor arch, though this angle doesn't show it. So I think I saw eight openings near Double Arch, only two of them famous.
Christmas Tree Arch is vaguely visible along the short trail to Double Arch to the right, past the formation that looks like the Sphinx. From the west side of the North and South Windows parking area there is a route along a small wash and between some fins that leads to the back side of Christmas Tree Arch. From the Windows Primitive trail you can see between these fins. The path I walked is connected to the Windows Primitive Trail by an obscure trail junction. Going this way I didn't see any "This is not a trail signs."
There is a little climbing but it's not too hard to
get between the fins, and then get up under the arch and look through back toward the Double Arch area. From there, the Sphinx like formation is visible and there is a minor arch up to the right looking through the opening.
Looking the other way from Christmas Tree Arch, a drainage allows the hike to continue and the view to the north is toward the Delicate Arch area. There is another arch, Ribbon Arch, down the drainage and to the left around the corner. I thought that I scanned carefully but somehow missed Ribbon Arch. Ribbon Arch is supposed to be a thin strip near the top of the cliffs.
See more Arches as http://4cornershikesarch.blogspot.com
Four Corners Hikes-Arches National Park
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