Arches is known for its vibrant color, whimsical shapes and vast, desert landscape. In this jubilee of red rock and blue sky, the Fiery Furnace takes its place as one of the more unique attractions in the park.
Its long parallel rows of alternating canyons and fins create a maze of rock that, when seen from above, makes it seem like the landscape's been scraped with a giant rake. Here at ground level, this wonderland of rock beckons visitors seeking shade, solitude and adventure.
Because the Fiery Furnace harbors rare plants and fragile soils in a confined area, the National Park Service limits the number of people that can enter it each day. In order to visit the Fiery Furnace, you must obtain a permit at the visitor center, or join a ranger on a guided walk.
However, a guided walk through the Fiery Furnace isn't for everyone. The tour route is roughly two miles long and takes about three hours to complete, so a moderate level of physical fitness is needed.
Along the way, you'll encounter a few, body-scraping passageways, exposure to steep drop-offs, lots of rock scrambling and tricky sections that require using your hands, feet, even your rear-end, to maneuver. While injuries are rare, some areas may make people with a fear of heights or narrow spaces uncomfortable. Due to the difficulty and length of the tour, children under five years of age are not permitted.
Believe it or not, there are absolutely no water fountains, snack machines or bathrooms in the Fiery Furnace. So you'll have to make do with what you can carry from the trailhead. Speaking of which, you should plan on bringing at least one quart or one liter of water, a snack, some sun protection and an extra layer of clothes.
Scared yet? You shouldn't be. You'll forget all these minor inconveniences once you're winding your way through this improbable landscape of fins, spires and hidden arches.
Fiery Furnace tours are offered daily from March through October and tickets are usually purchased online. Now these walks often fill up a couple months in advance, so it's best to plan early to reserve your spot.
On behalf of the National Park Service, we hope you join us soon in the Fiery Furnace.
Wondering what to expect on a guided hike through the Fiery Furnace? This video will give you a quick glimpse at some of the challenges encountered on the tour.