Summary

Arches National Park is located in Utah, about 5 miles north of Moab and bordered by the Colorado River to the southeast. This icon of the wild beauty and vastness of the American West is famous for its massive, red-hued Entrada Sandstone formations including Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, Devils Garden, Balanced Rock and more than 2,000 sandstone arches. Over 65 million years, a combination of uplift, water, ice, and wind sculpted the spectacular fins and arches that are the park’s namesake. These supernatural-looking formations have inspired millions of visitors, including Disney designers. The high desert environment results in huge seasonal and daily temperature fluctuations, and favors wildlife that can tolerate arid conditions. Mule deer, coyotes, and whiptail lizards are common along with sagebrush, pinyon pine, and Utah juniper. Seasonal rains in the spring and late summer result in brilliant patches of wildflower blooms. The vast high desert, massive sandstone towers, and sweeping blue skies leave you standing small, in quiet reverence. Arches National Park brands every visitor with an indelible love for the untamed American West and an urge to protect these last wild places.

Highlights

Delicate Arch Trail

Although Arches National Park boast over 2,000 stone arches, Delicate Arch is by far the most famous, even appearing on Utah’s licence plates. This free-standing arch is one of the most recognized geologic features in the world. Beginning in the Jurassic Period, when Dinosaurs dominated the Earth, many geologic forces acted to bring about the rare conditions that could produce Delicate Arch. Wind and water, acting over thousands of years, patiently sculpted the arch we see today. Delicate Arch Trail, a 3 mile round trip, allows you to get right up to the arch. Along the route, you’ll also pass a wall of 400 year old Ute Indian petroglyphs. The National Parks Services has not put up barriers to these natural wonders, but has instead trusted in visitors to aid in their preservation by enjoying them gently and respectfully.

Devil’s Garden hike

Surrounded by red rock, you’ll see spires, fins, and of course, arches. You’ll find Landscape Arch here, the longest arch in North America spanning 306 feet. Large segments of this awe-inspiring formation crashed down in the 1990’s, reminding visitors that these geologic features are continuing to change. While many other arches have fallen, Landscape Arch remains in tact for the moment, although it measures only 6 feet in diameter at its narrowest point.

Balanced Rock

This iconic 128 foot formation has inspired many artists from Looney Tunes to Disney designers. It can be seen from the park road and is 9.2 miles from the Arches Visitor Center. A 3,600 ton boulder seems to defy gravity as it appears to be precariously balanced on top of the formation below. Eventually, this boulder will erode off, just like its smaller sibling, Chip-Off-The-Old-Block did in 1975.  

Windows and Double Arch Section

This area has the largest concentration of arches and is one of the most scenic locations, especially at sunrise and sunset, in the park. Double Arch Trail is a 0.5 mile round trip and is a relatively flat, gravel path leading to the base of two huge arching spans. Double Arch is the tallest at 112 feet and second longest arch in the park. Other named formations include: Noth Window, Turret Arch, Garden of Eden, Elephant Butte, and Parade of Elephants.

Fiery Furnace Canyoneering

The Fiery Furnace ia a natural labyrinth of narrow passages-some so narrow you must squeeze past-between massive sandstone walls. To access this area of the park, you must either obtain a permit or take a ranger-guided hike. This amazing hike will leave you with lifelong memories as you thread your way past the orange-hued sandstone.  

Lost Spring Canyoneering

3,140 acres of canyon country and plenty of solitude await you at Lost Spring Canyon. If you long for an experience of having Arches National Park all to yourself, this remote area will not disappoint. A permit is required to access this area and you must be prepared to survive on your own in this wild country. There are no services and access by car can be impossible due to rain or other weather conditions. You will truly be on your own in this untamed landscape.

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