I cannot believe all the beautiful arches at Arches National Park. Originally we had planned to do Arches on Saturday, then Canyonlands Natural Park on Sunday. Well, we quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. The park is actually 76,679 acres and has over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. There was no way we were going to be able to see everything we wanted to in one day. So we went back on Sunday and here are a few our favorites:
This was Gene’s favorite arch over all. It was formed differently from most of the arches in the park. It is what is known as a pothole arch. it formed by water erosion from above rather than more typical erosion from the side. The larger opening has a span of 148 feet and a height of 104 feet. It was actually one of the easiest arches to get to. It was only 1/2 mile round trip from the parking lot. What I thought was really cool was that there weren’t any fences to prevent people from exploring directly beneath and through them. It was a different perspective. Another interesting fact was that it was used as a backdrop for the opening scene on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Thinking about it now, that may have been why Gene like it so much, lol.
Sand Dune Arch
One arch that we both really liked and enjoyed was the Sand Dune Arch. Not only is it interesting, it is located in a sandy slot canyon between two fins, thus shaded. Great place to visit when it is an extremely hot day. The sand is very soft and has a pink or red hue to it. It was a very short ¼ mile hike into the dunes and very easy for most people. I wanted to stay around and play in the sand awhile (especially since it was so cool), but we had others things to do. Definitely a must stop on any visit to Arches National Park.
North Window Arch
Here we are in front of the North Window Arch. It is amazing. It is a gentle climb up a gravel loop trail that leads to three massive arches (North and South Windows and Turret Arch). An alternate return, slightly longer, is by way of the primitive loop around the back of the two Windows. The primitive loop trail starts at the South Window viewpoint and is about a mile round trip. Amazing views everywhere you look.
This was my favorite arch by far. It grabbed me as soon as we came around the corner and came into view. I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough to take a look and take some pictures. It was absolutely breathtaking. It measures 71 feet across and 33.5 feet tall. In 1940 a large block of sandstone fell from arch doubling the size overnight. Boulders from the collapse remain, and can still be seen below the arch. It is a very short ¼ mile round trip hike from the trail head and you can see the arch the whole time you are getting closer. The thing that I really loved about this arch was that we were able to get fairly close and take pictures for the ground looking up. It was a gorgeous day and the sky was so blue. Against the red sandstone, it almost looked purple. It was amazing. I was truly in awe and wish we had brought lunch and set for a while. We will have to remember this next time.
We had an amazing trip and definitely want to come back and do more exploring. Maybe next time we will take a week and do some camping, really experience Moab! Learn more about the park and pricing on their website. Happy travels.
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