Friday, November 28, 2014

The Mecca of Arches

We visited Arches National Park at Utah on November 21st and 22nd. It turned out to be the best time to see the art of nature 100 million years in the making without a crowd, and to enjoy intriguing rock formations under the Sun without heat!

The sandstone fins, spires, balanced rock. and arches at Arches national park are 100 million year of work from water, wind, temperature and sand. In fact the park sits on top an underground salt bed, and the salmon colored entranda sandstone is the main reason that Arches national park has one of the greatest density of natural arches in the world with over 2000 arches within its boundary.

Three gossipers - fins 

The Needles  - spires
Balanced Rock
A window - Arches
One can drive along a scenic road to view the various rock formations from distance or hike to the arches for an up close look.We did a bit of both - and our hiking is primarily on easy to intermediate difficulty trails. 

The main easy trail is the so called Widows Section. The windows are only a couple hundred yards away from parking area. There are actually two windows! Nearby there are a couple more named arches - Turet Arch and Double Arch. Climbing onto the Double Arch is a bit hard

south and North Window
Turret Arch

Double Arch

The trail to the most famous Arch in the world - Delicate Arch - is much longer and harder. Part of the trail is on slickrock and the last several hundreds of yards is a ledge exposed to cliff! It is worthwhile for the effort to view the Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch with snow capped La Sal in the Background

a distant view of Delicate Arch
It took us about a full day to visit the Windows Section and Delicate Arch area in a leisure pace with stops at many roadside attractions.

The second day was dedicated to Devils Garden area - with hiking on Double O Arch trail (4.2 mile round trip) as the main activity. We also stopped at Fiery Furnace, Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch, Landscape Arch, Navajo Arch and Partition Arch.

Landscape Arch is the longest arch in the park - 306 feet long, and it had a recent rock fall in 1991. 

Landscape Arch

The hiking on the Double Arch trail was quite thrilling for me - because part of the trail is a narrow pathway on top of fins!

Walking on fins
Double O Arch  - Can you see the small O?
Partition Arches

Arches National Park is a unique land of natural rock sculptures! Excellent Trails, Awe Inspire Views.

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