How about stepping into a setting so impressive it has been the backdrop for movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusades. It has 2000 natural sandstone arches within the parks 76,518 areas. Other unique geological formations include balanced rocks, sandstone fins, soaring pinnacles and spires.
Driving into the park you encounter an incredible introduction to massive formations creating a dream like setting. It’s difficult to believe its real. It’s so stunning as you enter you don’t even think about taking photos. But be certain to have your Kodak camera ready, it will get plenty of use.
There is much to see in the park so here are a few highlights. Each formation has its own personality so selecting the best of the park is difficult. Delicate Arch has the highest fame as the symbol of Utah.
From the Courthouse Towers Viewpoint one can see The Organ, Sheep Rock, the Three Gossips, and the Tower of Babel. Balanced Rock is one impressive geologic formation, soon sighted after entry into the park. It is a huge rock the size of several buses, 128 feet high. It appears to be insecurely balanced. It looks as if one could walk up and push it over.
The next turnoff on the paved road is to the windows section of the park. Here are the three massive arches of North Window, South Window and Turret Arch. It’s a half-mile walk by gravel trail from parking area in a gradual ascent to the three arches. There is an alternate route behind the back of the two windows.
Turret Arch is rather young and small but over 100 feet wide. A secondary arch directly beside the main arch creates a dual arch effect. Nearby Double Arch consists of two arches with a common foundation. It was caused by water erosion above sandstone rock.
In addition to hiking the park allows rock climbing and mountain biking. Mountain biking is a popular activity in the park, but not permitted on hiking trails or established roads. Climbing is banned on named arches, but permitted and regulated on other formations. Astronomy is popular in the park because of the dark skies.
The Arches National Park is 119 square miles just 5 miles north of Moab in eastern Utah. The highest elevation of 5,653’ is Elephant Butte and lowest point of 4,085’ at the visitor’s center. Arches National Monument was created by presidential proclamation in April 1929.
The park is located 475 miles from Las Vegas Nevada, on US 15 north then east on US 70. It is 123 miles west of Grand Junction Colorado and 184 miles east of Richfield Utah.
Prior to arriving at Arches National Park it will be important to review park literature and plan an itinerary. There are so many sights it will be difficult to see it all, even staying several days. Since it is 2,000 miles from Rochester New York it’s a long drive back.