Lewie's Travel Web
Roads and Trails
Arches National Park
Our visit to Arches National Park was on Saturday, 9 August 1997. We arrived in Moab, Utah at 1:30 in the afternoon and were lucky to find a room at the Virginian Motel. Most motels had No Vacancy signs lit this early in the day. Moab is popular for reasons other than being just south of Arches NP, and is likely full up most summer weekends.
Our park visit was from about 2 PM until dark, about 8 PM.
The sandstone formations that are found in Arches were much larger than I expected. Post card pictures of the various arches usually do not have people in them. Almost all our pictures do have people that give an idea of the size of the rocks. Both arches above have people in the openings. We did not place the people in the pictures, there was just no way to take pictures of the popular formations that did not include people. The place was crowded until almost dark.
Many interesting formations can be viewed from the road and observation areas with parking lots, or by short easy walks. However, a some of the more famous formations do require a lengthy walk for viewing. There is an excellent, but long trail to view the largest arch, Landscape. Landscape is 300 feet long. The trail is the Devils Garden Trail. You cannot now get close to Landscape since the arch is shedding. This walk is worth the effort because of the trailside rock formations and other sights along the way, and you do get close enough for a good view of the arch, and for pictures without people. Who knows, you might even see the arch fall as it is expected to do sometime in the future. Two other arches are passed on the way to Landscape, and several more can be seen by continuing past Landscape. However, the trail past Landscape is primitive, and I did not take it.
One of the popular arches that can be seen at a distance from a parking area, or from up close after a long walk is Delicate Arch. Both of the views shown above were after a long walk along a trail to a marked viewpoint, and then a continuing walk over a slick rock where the trail is marked by rock cairns. This walk ends at a drop into a deep canyon with a sheer bluff on the far side as seen in the right picture above. Those little bumps in the skyline to the left are people that have walked to the arch from a different parking area than the one I visited.
One of my favorite formations is Balanced Rock. I am standing in the shadow at the base of the pedestal just left of the green vegetation in the right picture. I am wearing a blue jacket. The rock over my head is reported to weigh 3000 TONS. I did say the formations are large.
There are other colorful rock formations to see besides the arches and Balanced Rock. There is little vegetation to see since there is little moisture. However, all the park is beautiful. If you are up to more walking than I like, and have the time, there are trails to see much more than we saw, but there is enough to see with easy walks to spend a long day.