Relaxing on the National Mall in Washington DC

We were back in Washington DC last week, which is a place that we are very familiar with. The National Mall is a park that extends between the Lincoln Memorial and the United States Capital, which is approximately 1.9 miles long. It is obviously a huge draw for tourists that visit Washington DC as the Washington Monument sits at the heart of the park and the White House and Jefferson Memorial are also very close by. There are several walking paths throughout the park and vendors are there selling ice cream, water, and other items. There are also many food trucks in the surrounding area.

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Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool
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Lincoln Memorial
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Lafayette Square, Andrew Jackson Statue, and the White House
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World War II Memorial

It isn’t just a location for tourists, but the National Mall is also a popular place for locals to come and enjoy the scenery and to walk, jog, and bike along the many paths. On nice days, you will find many families and couples out enjoying the weather and relaxing in the park. Since we have been to all of the museums and seen all of the important sites on previous visits to Washington, we decided to enjoy the park as the locals do, simply walking along the Reflecting Pool and having a relaxing day in our Nation’s Capital.

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Another View of the Washington Monument
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Andrew Jackson Statue in Lafayette Square
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Enjoying a Relaxing Day
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Walking Towards the Lincoln Memorial

Many of the most important museums are located in the general vicinity of the National Mall as well, including the Smithsonian Museums. We also walked through Lafayette Square, which is on the other side of the White House and then walked passed the White House on our way to the National Mall. If you’d like to go to one of the historic restaurants in Washington, we’d recommend going to the Lafayette Square area where you can find many restaurants with a colorful history. Even if you are visiting Washington DC for the first time, it is worthwhile taking your time while you are at the National Mall and taking your time to truly enjoy it and relax.

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White House
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Looking Up at the Monument Through the Trees
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Fountains at the WWII Memorial
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View from Lafayette Square
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One of the Many Statues

 

Devils Garden Trail in Arches National Park, Utah

Another extremely popular hiking trail in Arches National Park is the Devils Garden Trail. One of the reasons for its popularity is the diversity of the trail as well as the number of arches that can be seen on the trail. The first part of the trail is considered easy and also provides views of three arches, including the Landscape Arch, which was one of our favorites. After reaching the Landscape Arch, the trail becomes more difficult as you head toward Double O Arch and then the second half of the loop is extremely difficult where you need to rock scramble and there a steep slopes. For obvious reasons, many people only go as far as Landscape Arch, which was what we did as well.

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Landscape Arch – One of Our Favorite Arches
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Not a Difficult Trail
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Interesting Scenery on Devils Garden Trail
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Pine Tree Arch
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Tunnel Arch

In addition to hiking Devils Garden Trail, there are also some shorter trails in the area just before you reach Devils Garden that are worth exploring as well. We did the short hike to see Skyline Arch, which was definitely worth seeing. We also hiked to Sand Dune Arch, which was a short trail, but the sand was deep making it a little harder on the legs. We did not hike all of the way to Broken Arch, but it is clearly visible from the parking area near the Sand Dune Arch. As with any trail in Arches National Park, long or short, you will want to be sure to bring plenty of water. With temperatures climbing above 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, it is important to where sunscreen and stay hydrated.

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Sand Dune Arch
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Entrance into the Sand Dune Arch Area
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Skyline Arch Was Another Favorite
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Broken Arch
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View from Devils Garden Trail

In addition to all of the tourists that were enjoying the trails, we also saw several lizards during our hikes. They seem to be quite used to the crowds and didn’t run away as people gathered around to take their photo. Snakes are also common in the park, as it is a desert environment, but we did not see any during our hikes. You will definitely see your share of birds as well from hawks to ravens. People should be sure to stay on the trails and not climb on the arches in order to protect the beautiful scenery for future generations to enjoy.

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Lizard Standing on a Rock
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First View of Landscape Arch
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Another Arch Near Landscape Arch
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Lizard on the Trail
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Walking on Devils Garden Trail

We hiked the Devils Garden Trail on our second day in Moab, Utah, so we had learned to get out early in the day to avoid as much of the heat as possible. The entrance to the park is only seven miles from Moab, but there were long lines of cars waiting to enter the park that took as long as thirty minutes before getting through the gate. Once through the entrance, it will take about another thirty to forty minutes to drive to Devils Garden if you don’t stop at any of the many pull-offs along the way. With so many arches in the area, Devils Garden is definitely a highlight of any visit to Arches National Park. If you have enough time in the park, we would also recommend hiking the Delicate Arch Trail to see one of the most well known arches in the park.

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Beautiful Arch and Blue Skies
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More Rugged Scenery Along the Trail
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Surrounded by Rock Formations
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A Raven on Delicate Arch Trail
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Trees and Rocks in Arches National Park

 

Delicate Arch Trail in Arches National Park

One of the most popular trails in Arches National Park in Utah is the 1.5 mile trail (one way) that will give you an up-close experience with one of the parks most iconic arches, Delicate Arch. The trail is listed as moderate and, with the exposure to the sun, steep rock faces, and some narrow ledges towards the end, it is definitely not an easy trail. The views are definitely worth the effort as you gain a little over 600 feet in elevation with panoramic views in all directions. The highlight, of course, is Delicate Arch, which is the arch that is depicted on Utah’s license plate.

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Delicate Arch without Any Tourists
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Hikers Heading Up the Exposed Rock Face
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Mountains in the Distance

We hiked the trail starting at mid-morning and the temperatures were already starting to soar. It is very important that you take plenty of water, at least 1 liter per person, to help combat the heat and dehydration. We had both a Camelback with 3 liters of water as well as a power drink with electrolytes. As we reached the end of the trail and had the opportunity to see Delicate Arch, we were glad that we decided to do the trail, although we probably should have started a little earlier. People were lining up to get their pictures taken standing inside of the arch, but at least while we were there, we had opportunities to get photographs of the arch without anyone as they changed places with other tourists. We weren’t worried about having our photographs taken inside of the arch, so we opted for panoramic views and yes, we did take a selfie.

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Smiling Despite the Heat
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Panoramic Views
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Another Arch Seen in the Distance from the Delicate Arch Trail

The Delicate Arch Trail is certainly a worthwhile hike within Arches National Park. It is extremely popular, especially at dawn and dusk when photographers come in droves, but it is busy all day long. The parking lot can get very full, but we were fortunate enough to find a spot near the trailhead. It was the first of our hikes in the park and we certainly learned some lessons about getting on the trail as early as possible and stopping in whatever shade we could find to help ourselves cool off. Seeing Delicate Arch was definitely one of favorite memories of the park.

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A Raven Joining the Tourists
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Nearing the End of the Trail
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Rock Formations and a Clear Blue Sky

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