3 Reasons You'll Absolutely Love the Fiery Furnace Hike

The Fiery Furnace hike is 1 of 5 hikes at Arches National Park rated as difficult. Many people wonder if the they should go on the Fiery Furnace Hike because there are only two options: obtaining a Fiery Furnace Permit or joining the ranger-led Fiery Furnace hike.

To make our decision we decided to speak with a ranger at the Visitor’s Center. The ranger we spoke to highly encouraged the hike to anyone who was in reasonably good physical condition. Our initial thought was to join a ranger-led hike, but those were filled up past our last day in Moab. She informed us that they really encourage you to go down and really explore, and that they had recently installed guiding arrows in the Fiery furnace.

That sold us. The idea of exploring and the failsafe the arrows would provide led us to pay for our Fiery Furnace permit and return two days later for our hike. We absolutely loved the experience and cannot wait to go on more hikes that require permits and maybe try out some backcountry hiking.

Here’s why we think you’ll love the Fiery Furnace too:

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1. You’ll Feel Like a Kid Again

The National Park Service describes the Fiery Furnace as “a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons” and boy does it feel like you are in an adult-sized maze. With some of the climbing and scrambling that you do on the hike you could almost describe it as an adult jungle gym.


The ranger explained to us that you can follow the arrows to follow the old trail through the Fiery Furnace. However, the arrows were made small enough so that someone who wishes to find the way through without the arrows’ aid can. It seems there was much debate over whether these arrows should be included as they could be seen as stripping the adventure out of the Fiery Furnace hike.


We felt that even with the arrows, you really did get the sense that you were really exploring. That sense of exploring something unknown really let us tap into our inner child. Quite the treat when you're always adulting!


2. It’s a Fun Way to Challenge Yourself

As an adult so many of our challenges end up being mental. It’s a nice change of pace to challenge yourself physically as well as mentally. The National Park Service describes the Fiery Furnace as “requiring agility to explore”. There wasn’t anything that was too crazy but it was more challenging than your average hike. We enjoy hiking, but sometimes hikes seem to amount to just a long walk. And sure, hikes very much are walks, but in the Fiery Furnace we did have the opportunity to jump, scramble, and do much more than just walk. 


 Jon and I decided to use the arrows for part of the hike, but for a mental challenge we tried not to look for them at other times. We loved that about two thirds of the way in, the arrows became quite difficult to find. We know we aren’t the only ones who found that the arrows became hard to find as a couple ahead of us ended up backtracking to end their hike rather than continuing on.


As fun as it is to challenge yourself, if you feel you have sufficiently challenged yourself, you can always backtrack and go back out the way you came in. 


3. It’s Just You & Nature

Perhaps the best part about the Fiery Furnace is the serenity. You will be completely immersed in Nature. Once you get inside the Fiery Furnace it is quiet, except for the occasional raven’s call. We were lucky enough not to be near a tour group, but the rangers are serious about keeping it peacefully quiet in the Fiery Furnace. There are a limited number of permits and tours allotted each day. They also require everyone to speak softly. In addition, tour groups are limited to a certain size and if they must be broken down into two groups due to the cap, they are not allowed to go through the hike together, they must split up.


We must say the park rangers have done a great job preserving the peaceful solitude of the Fiery Furnace. You can almost imagine what it would be like to wake up the morning after a zombie apocalypse. I know, that’s not a serene thought! But in all seriousness you really do feel alone in nature, in the most delightful way, while in the Fiery Furnace. This is hard to come by at many National Parks with the growing crowds, and it’s certainly a treat to experience this immersion in Nature while at Arches National Park.


The Fiery Furnace was our first hike requiring a permit. We had such a great experience we can't wait to try more permitted hikes. If you are wondering if the Fiery Furnace hike is for you, we are going to get a post up this week to help you know how to decide. For now, if you have any permitted hikes or backcountry hikes you recommend, we would love to hear your suggestions in the comments below!