Jan 24, 2014

National Parks- Arches, the land of red rocks and arches!

The relationship between the landscape and time is always amazing! The forces of nature create wonders in time. The wind has carved thousands of arches in one place- Arches National Park, 6-miles from Moab, Utah. Home for the world famous landmark- Delicate Arch! Arches National Park in the high desert of Utah is a red rock wonderland and is a home for thousands of natural arches, hundreds of massive spires, colossal fins and many other wind-formed sandstone formations. A place to witness vast expanses of breathtaking scenery.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park Utah
World famous landmark Delicate Arch!

The weathering of sandstone domes have left vertical slabs of soft sandstone called fins. And further these slender sandstone walls are weathered by the wind to create spectacular arches in this country of rocks. The extremes of climate high above the Colorado river will keep changing the looks of this seemingly  timeless landscape. Wherever I went my attention was distracted by the wind. Seemed like wind was looking for appreciation from the visitors on what it has created!

Turret Arch at Arches National Park
Turret Arch

The park gets millions of visitors each year for its beauty and also the easy access. In comparison with its neighbor Canyonlands National Park, Arches gets crowds of visitors. May be due to the easy access. There are around 2,000 arches in the park, old ones are collapsing and new ones are formed in time.

Double Arch at Arches National Park
Double Arch
There are many short and long hiking trails. Some are difficult for common tourists because of their level of difficulty. Primitive trails need good navigation skills to scramble over the rocks, cross narrow ledges and climb steep-narrow spines of these sandstone slabs. Most of the sightseeing can be done in a day if you are not hiking much.

I did whatever was in my capability up to the Double O' Arch. I did spend a day-and-a-half just to do most of the trails except the primitive parts. Hike up to that Delicate Arch is nice. Not very challenging as mentioned in the guides but, in hot summer care must be taken to cope with the heat. With tiny increments one can climb the all uphill trail to be there at sunset and sunrise. I went up at sunset and was disappointed to see so many hikers. Then I climbed up next early morning in the limb-stiffening cold for a crowd-free picture of the arch. It was worth drowning in that cold wind! I thought I was accompanied only by the ghost of movement. Was I alone there at that time?! You can see the pic! There was a couple to snoop into the picture!! Well, they might have thought same about me :) One could see the delicate arch from a viewpoint which is nice too.

Landscape Arch at Arches National Park
Landscape Arch
Landscape arch is the largest in the park measures 306ft wide base-to-base. Up to here the trail is well maintained and easy. From here to Double O' arch I did some scrambling which was hard for me. Because this part is challenging there were many hikers here too tp prove their ability.

Double arch is the most beautiful after the Delicate arch in my opinion. You don't have to hike long to reach it. There are many other arches ... Tunnel, Skyline, Sand Dune arches, North and South Windows and so on which can be reached easily.

Fiery Furnace is an area which doesn't have any marked trails and needs a permit ($4), navigating ability to hike on your own. Guided tours are available for a fee ($10) which need to be booked in advance. Seems like a great activity to do in the park, though my reservation was cancelled due to government shutdown. Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth landform with a great concentration of high vertical fins. Navigating through the narrow and complex passages is difficult and needs physical strength. GPS doesn't work here due to the high standing walls.

Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park
Fiery Furnace landform

The park has an entrance fee of $10 which is valid for 7-days. Visitor center has an information kiosk and gift/souvenir shop. Officers are very friendly and give good advice on weather and activities. The shop is loaded with souvenirs, guide books, maps, DVDs and posters. Weather-wise October was a bit cold that is when I visited the park. Moab- the nearest town is nice and has all the amenities. 

Landscape from Arches National Park
Fins and spires of Arches, La Sal mountains in the backdrop!

I had been wandering for a month around Utah and Arches National Park is one of the best but not so remote places. Driving in the park looking at those huge vertical red rock slabs and spires, petrified dunes, mysterious labyrinths and the spectacular red color at the sunset was a great experience. Climbing up to the delicate arch early in the morning was a divine experience.

To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice- Elizabeth Gilbert

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Related articles-
Canyonlands National Park, A Forbidding landscape!
Bryce Canyon National Park- A giant amphitheater
Zion National Park -A peaceful sanctuary
US Route 89A and a stalker!
American South-West: A road trip
State Parks of Utah

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Loved this post. I have been wanting to visit this national park for a long time now. Thanks to your detailed post, I know what to expect when I go there.

    1. Thanks Avada, I hope you will visit the park soon!

  2. Just a suggestion: Maybe you can put smaller watermarks and maybe at the edge of the photo. That way we can enjoy the photographs too without our eyes getting distracted.

  3. It is indeed and awesome and beautiful place, Kusum, and your captures are superb as always!! Such dramatic scenery!! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Beautiful skies and I love the Arches. This is a great national park to visit. Have a happy weekend!

  5. Beautiful erosion structures and a stunning place.

  6. Your photos of Arches are wonderful. I've hiked there many times and also biked through the park. Great captures of a beautiful place!

  7. so unique, so spectacular, so breathtaking, it's almost unreal.

    great shots.

  8. It is the beauty when landscapes are not destroyed by earhquakes and volcanoes thru time, spectacular works of nature and the elements. I am glad to see this especially your inclusion of person as size reference. Thank you.

  9. Gorgeous shots of the sky and red earth!

  10. Wow! Great pictures - and I think the way you have included a person in the Delicate Arch is great!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  11. Great informative article! landscapes looking wonderful, such sounds interesting place to visit..

  12. Wow! it's nice place, thanks for great article

  13. This is a wonderful article with a lot of geological information. Loved the arches. Thanks, Kusum.

  14. Wonderful shots. Those arches and structures are amazing.
    Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend.

  15. Very informative post and exquisite photography ~ thanks for visiting also ~

    carol,xxx, www.acreativeharbor.com

  16. Incredible! This is high on my list of places to visit.

  17. Wonderful set of images. We were in Arches in 1980 and I shot many of the ones you are displaying; and now I know their names - so, special thanks for your post. I especially like the last one in the series --- beautifully composed and captured. Kudos!

  18. Beautiful beautiful pictures of one of my favorite National Parks.


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