Turret Arch: Short Hike, Big Payoff

One thing I love about Arches National Park is there are several short yet spectacular hikes. The hike to Turret Arch is one of them. This hike doesn’t require much of your vacation time but still has that WOW factor you’ll remember long after the trip!Turret Arch Trail Arches National ParkTurret Arch Arches National Park- 5 trips

You may actually be more familiar with Turret Arch’s neighbors – the North and South Windows, aka the Spectacles. And while the Windows might be the more well known kids on the block, don’t discount Turret Arch.

Windows Trail sign showing the trail to Turret Arch.
Windows Trail sign showing the trail to Turret Arch.

The trail to Turret Arch is a short spur off the Windows Loop Trail.  The whole loop trail is only a little over a mile with minimal elevation gain, so it is quite family friendly.  While Turret Arch is purported to be smaller than the Windows, it didn’t seem that way to me. Perhaps its the arch’s vertical shape that makes it seem so massive.Turret Arch Trail Arches National ParkTurret Arch Arches National Park-18 Trips

The path to Turret Arch includes an easy set of stairs.  Once you reach the top, you can walk through the arch and view it from the other side.  This is a great place to just sit and enjoy the scenic view of rock formations and the La Sal Mountains.Turret Arch Trail Arches National ParkTurret Arch Arches National Park-11 trip

Turret Arch is a castle-like rock formation which actually contains two significant openings. While walking through the large arch, you’ll notice a second smaller opening. The smaller more circular arch is adjacent to the large vertical one.Turret Arch Trail Arches National ParkTurret Arch Arches National Park-9 trip

While Turret Arch might not be the most famous arch in Arches National Park, it is one of the one of the most dramatic.  Standing under this massive rock formation you can appreciate its scale while taking in outstanding views of this unique National Park.

5 Awesome Summer Experiences in Big Sky, Montana

As you might have guessed from my logo, I’m a fan of the mountains!  So, it is no surprise that I love Big Sky, Montana!  Big Sky, Montana may be best known for skiing in the winter, but it is an awesome place to vacation in the summer!

Here are 5 incredible summer adventures that may make you rethink your view of Big Sky as just a winter destination.

  1. Hike Ousel Falls Trail:  Ousel Falls Trail is a fantastic hike which is easy to access as it is just south of the Big Sky Town Center.  It is short and not very strenuous which makes it a great hike for families!  In my experience, there aren’t many hikes that boast such a big payoff with so little effort.  Ousel Falls Trail is approximately 1.5 miles out and back and the reward is not only great Montana scenery but also a beautiful 30 ft waterfall!

    Ousel Falls near Big Sky, Montana
    Ousel Falls
  2. Explore the Slopes:  Riding the Big Sky Resort ski lift in the summer is a real treat! It provides spectacular panoramas of the mountains and ski runs which are carpeted in green. The journey is relaxing as you take in the spectacular views while moving slowly to hum of the ski lift. Once on top, you can hike until your heart is content. big-sky-ski-liftbig-sky-resort-slopes-trip
  3. Take a Yellowstone Day Trip:  There is no doubt that Yellowstone National Park has so much more to offer than is possible to see in one day!  But, don’t let that dissuade you from a taking a day trip! The drive down from Big Sky is fairly short and quite scenic.  A day trip can provide a taste of the park for future visits or an opportunity to hike a new trail.Yellowstone National Parkyellowstone-trip
  4. Enjoy Resort Activities:  I love the fact that ski resorts try to balance seasonality by offering summer activities.  In my mind, a mountain is a big playground.  When you consider the mild summer weather along with off-season prices, a ski resort is a great place to visit during the summer!  The Big Sky Resort is no exception.  There are many activities to enjoy.  Golf (traditional and disc), rock climbing, zip lining, bungee trampoline, and mountain biking are just a few of the adventures that are available.  We also really enjoyed Lake Levinsky with with its paddle boats, canoes, and a small beach.

    Big Sky Resort
    Bungee Trampoline
  5. The Gallatin River: If you picture in your mind how a river in Montana is supposed to look – the Gallatin River is that river.  This winding waterway is almost surreal.  The Gallatin River parallels Highway 191 and provides many recreational opportunities such as fishing and white water rafting.  The highlight for my family was relaxing riverside while we skipped rocks and stepped the river’s smooth stones.  Note to parents: Bring backup clothes! 

    A Montana Stream
    The Gallatin River

Big Sky, Montana is a spectacular mountain destination with many great options for accommodations in the summer.  Because of it’s popularity with the snow skiing crowd, there are cabins of all sizes dotting the mountains along the ski slopes.  So, Big Sky’s adventures are practically right outside your door!