Arches National Park, Utah — for travelers

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Arches National Park (photo: frank schrader; www.frankschrader.us)
Arches National Park (photo: frank schrader; www.frankschrader.us)

Arches National Park is located right outside the town of Moab, Utah, which is an ideal town to start discovering Utah’s surrounding like Arches National Park, Dead Horse State Park, Canyonlands, and Monument Valley.
Off-roading with rental Jeeps and ATV’s are just one of the outdoor possibilities. Of course, the area is a Mountain Biking and hiking paradise.

Besides that there is a campground (Devils Garden Campground) within the Arches National Park, there are plenty of camping and also RV sites in the area, check out www.discovermoab.com/blm-campgrounds/ for more information.

Arches National Park in a nutshell

The forces of nature have acted in concert to create the landscape of Arches, which contains the greatest density of natural arches in the world. Throughout the park, rock layers reveal millions of years of deposition, erosion and other geologic events. These layers continue to shape life in Arches today, as their erosion influences elemental features like soil chemistry and where water flows when it rains. Arches is located in a “high desert,” with elevations ranging from 4,085 to 5,653 feet above sea level. The climate is one of very hot summers, cold winters and very little rainfall. Even on a daily basis, temperatures may fluctuate as much as 50 degrees. The plants and animals in Arches have many adaptations that enable them to survive these conditions. Some species are found only in this area. The diversity of organisms reflects the variety of available habitat, which includes lush riparian areas, ephemeral pools, dry arroyos, mixed grasslands and large expanses of bare rock. Cryptobiotic Soil Crust is the bumpy layer that grows on top of the sand at Arches. “Cryptos” are a very important part of the desert ecosystem. Cryptos hold sand grains together (preventing erosion), absorb water, give seeds a place to grow, and provide nutrients for plants (they fix nitrogen). Cryptobiotic crust is very fragile. One footstep may destroy it. Since it lives everywhere, it is important to stay on trails and not “bust the crust” while at Arches. Cryptobiotic crust grows in places throughout the world.

Visitor Center

Located only ca. 100 yards behind the entrance of the park. From here the road winds through the park and many of the highlights can be seen from the car. But for Delicate Arch you have to walk 30-60 minutes. Same with Landscape Arch. But both are worth it. Visitors who come during spring or in fall will enjoy the snow covered La Sal Mountains which can be seen in the distance from the higher elevations of the park.

Park Entrance Fees

Admission to Arches National Park is good for seven days. You can pay your fee at the entrance station.
If you plan on visiting multiple National Parks then consider an Annual Park Pass for All National Parks, called: America the Beautiful for $80.oo.

Find more info in our article: America the Beautiful , the Annual U.S. National Park Pass helps saving money

Private Vehicle- $30.00
Admits one private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less) and all its occupants.
Motorcycle – $25.00
Admits a private, non-commercial motorcycle and its riders.
One individual with no car – $15.00

Website: www.nps.gov/arch/

Top attractions in Arches National Park

It’s convenient to discover the park by car – many of the stone formations can be seen from the park road. If you don’t make the 30-60 min walks to Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch, which are of course highlights of the park, then you would need approx. 4-5 hrs to see most parts of the park. That includes about 10 min stops at most of the parking lots.

Your first stop should be the Visitor Center, which is directly located behind the entrance.

The park roads winds up to the plateau and after a couple of minutes one gets the first impressions. After a while you pass the Fifth Avenue viewpoint, Courthouse Towers and Balanced Rock, then not far from here are The Windows section with the adjacent Double Arch

Double Arch -- Arches National Park
Double Arch — Arches National Park
Delicate Arch as seen from the viewpoint area (photo: frank schrader; www.frankschrader.us)
Delicate Arch as seen from the viewpoint area (photo: frank schrader; www.frankschrader.us)
Arches National Park (photo: frank schrader; www.frankschrader.us)
Arches National Park (photo: frank schrader; www.frankschrader.us)
Balanced Rock, Arches National Park
Balanced Rock, Arches National Park

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park
Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

A long time ago this was a stone wall – today it’s an arch and stands alone looking over a canyon. You can drive to the parking lot which is approx. 25 km away from the entrance and then you have to take the 30-60 min walk to the arch.
A good sun protection and enough water is a msut during the summer months.
The Delicate arch has a diameter of ca. 12 m (40 ft) and a height of 16 m (52 ft). Best time for pictures is the late afternoon.

Devils Garden  and Landscape Arch

Devils Garden, Landscape Arch, Arches National Park
Devils Garden, Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

Landscape Arch is located in Devils Garden, has a width of ca. 93 m (305 ft) and a height of 30 m (100 ft).

It is the longest natural arch of the world. The path to Landscape Arch is a 3,2 km (~2 mi) loop, that takes approx. 30-60 min.).

At Devils Garden you have plenty of other trails and view points and arches. It is one of the most interesting areas of the park.