Fiery Furnace, Utah
The Fiery Furnace is truly unique amongst the sights in Arches National Park. It is a exotic labyrinth of sandstone fins, towering rock walls, and narrow passages that offer a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience for adventurous visitors.
The history of Fiery Furnace dates back millions of years to the Jurassic period when the sandstone formations were first deposited in the area. Over time, the natural forces of erosion sculpted the rocks into the intricate maze that we see today. The name “Fiery Furnace” is believed to have been inspired by the glowing red color of the rocks at sunset, which resembles the flames of a furnace.
The best time to visit Fiery Furnace for capturing photos is during the late evening. If you wait until sunset you will find that the land between the horizon and the furnace casts shadows on the entire area. As such you need to get to the viewing overlook approximately 90 minutes prior to sunset and then keep a close eye on the creeping shadow line. The prime color (the “fire”) will only occur for about 10 minutes so time is short to capture your photos.
Hiking in the Furnace
It’s important to note that Fiery Furnace is a highly regulated area, and visitors are required to obtain a permit before entering. Hiking in Fiery Furnace can be a challenging and potentially dangerous activity, as the maze-like terrain can be confusing and disorienting. The National Park Service strongly recommends that visitors hire a guide or join a ranger-led tour to ensure their safety and to learn more about the area’s geology and history.
There are several hiking routes in Fiery Furnace, each with its own unique features and challenges. The most popular route is the “Fiery Furnace Loop,” which is a 2-mile trek that takes hikers through narrow passages, up steep rock walls, and over natural bridges. Other routes include the “Chimney Rock Loop,” the “Fins and Things Loop,” and the “Crack-in-the-Wall Loop.”
Obtaining a permit to hike in Fiery Furnace can be a bit of a challenge, as the area is limited to a maximum of 50 people per day. Permits can be obtained online or at the Arches National Park Visitor Center, and it’s recommended that visitors book well in advance to ensure availability.