In July of 2015 we set out on a grand vacation through the southwest. We traveled for 21 days and over 6,000 miles, visiting 5 states and 9 National Parks. We explored new places and met up with old friends. Overall, it was an incredible journey and everyone learned so much. You can view all posts about our wild west adventure here.
Destination: Hiking Arches Fiery Furnace
Date of Visit: July 2015
Kids: Cole (age 8) & Kiley (age 5)
Length of Hike: 3 Hours
On our last day in Arches National Park we booked a Ranger Led Hike through the Fiery Furnace. This day is also known as the day we all almost died. Not really, but kind of. I had reserved us a spot on a Ranger led Fiery Furnace hike months before our vacation. The spots are very limited and fill up fast. The recommended minimum age for the hike is 5 years old. I would say that is should probably just be a little bit older. This was a tough hike. You have to jump over ravines, wedge your body in spots to get to another location, climb over cliffs… you get the idea.
This is my favorite picture from our entire vacation. This is Cole coming through squeeze through arch.
This gives you an idea of the types of obstacles the kids had to master. There were some that were much more difficult, but I couldn’t take pictures because I was trying to help them not die.
Kiley (age 5 at the time) did amazing with all the technical requirements. The only probably we ran into was that sometimes her legs were too short.
At the very end you come into a secret area where there is an arch directly above you. Appropriately named, Surprise Arch. Overall, if I had to do it all over again I would absolutely take everyone on the hike. My only real complaint is that the Ranger that was leading it was going so fast that we hardly had time to rest. The technical aspect of it wasn’t too difficult. AND even though BOTH kids ended up crying at some point on this hike BOTH of them say that this was their favorite part of our entire vacation. So I guess it couldn’t have been that bad.
Highlights: The kids both said this was their favorite part of the entire vacation. If we had to do it again, I would absolutely take everyone on it.
What We Would Change: If we went again I would try to position the kids at the front of the group of hikers. I felt like we would fall behind and then run to catch up while everyone else was resting. By the time we caught up the group was ready to move on. It was very challenging to try to keep up with the group while paying attention to the technical part of the hike and making sure the kids didn’t fall.
Recommended Reading: I highly recommend the Foder’s guide to National Parks of the West, we used it when planning our trip and it was a great resource. I liked that there were plenty of suggestions to exploring the parks with kids.