When I first moved to the Moab area my friend immediately texted me and told me I HAD to hike Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park. I initially went to Arches, looked at the brochure featuring all of the hikes and didn’t see it listed anywhere. After a bit of googling, however, I discovered that Fiery Furnace is an amazing 2.5 mile hike that takes you through canyons, around fins, over rocks, and through sandy washes. In order to explore this incredible part of the park you either have to go on a ranger lead hike OR pay $6 for a permit that allows you to do it on your own time. After doing a bit of research I knew I had to do this hike. All of the reviews said it is one of the most beautiful hikes in Arches, but to be wary since it is incredibly easy to get lost. You see, Fiery Furnace is still very much a wilderness area and NPS wants to maintain and protect the integrity of the landscape. So the “trail loop” is only marked by fun size candy bar sized arrows which only go counter clockwise. These arrows are mostly stuck to the rocks and quite easily blend in to the landscape. I initially wanted to go on a ranger lead hike, to ensure I didn’t get lost. Being as directionally challenged as I am I was a bit nervous to navigate these vast rocks alone. When I arrived at the Arches visitor center to find out the ranger lead hikes were done for the season, I had to strap on my big girl pants and do the hike on my own. After watching the Oscar worthy permit video that gives you an insight into what to expect on the hike and paying the small amount for a sheet of paper to strap on my backpack I headed out.
After parking my car and venturing out on the trail counter clockwise I had my mind made up that this would be a lovely adventure. Immediately I scrambled down boulders, weaved through some monstrous rocks, and started my quest to search for the tiny white arrows. It started off pretty easy, navigating my way through the canyons on a the sandy wash floors and I couldn’t help but be completely overwhelmed by the absolute beauty of this area. With each sign of a dead end I decided to rush over to see the magic that was hidden at the far side of the tunnel. After exploring for around an hour I ran into a lovely couple from the midwest who were a bit lost at a particularly confusing bit of rock. Trying to figure out which way to go we opted to join forces and help one another to avoid getting super lost within the canyons. Each new feature of the landscape was more breathtaking than the one before. I was completely in awe with every picture perfect snapshot of rockscape that stood before me. Everything seemed to be completely out of this world. Soon my hiking companions and I found our way to the end of the hike. We had made it through the Fiery Furnace with only a few mishaps, but at the end of the day the “mishaps” were just part of the adventure. Each time we got a bit “lost” we got to see a part of the trail ( or lack thereof ) that otherwise would have remained a mystery. Fiery Furnace is a hike that is not for the faint of heart. It is for all those seeking adventure, those who above all else have a sense of wonder.