Landscape Arch: Landscape Arch stretches 296 feet across the high desert landscape in Arches National Park. The arch is the longest in North America and fifth longest in the world. Landscape Arch trail does require a hike of about two miles out and back but is well worth the time. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Double Arch: Double Arch in Arches National Park is unique in that two arches formed using the same stone as its foundation. This is a very popular stop in the park and is an easy .3 mile walk from the parking area. Several hikers in this photo illustrate how massive the arch is as people appear like ants compared to the size of the arch. The larger arch has a span of 148 feet wide and 104 feet tall making it the tallest arch in the park. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
By GARY WARREN
Formerly of Los Alamos
Southern Utah is home to some of nature’s most creative and beautiful handiwork. The magnificent landscape of the Colorado Plateau is unlike any other landscape in the country.
The red rocks country of Southern Utah provides visitors with unbelievable vistas and scenic views that cannot be found anywhere else. One of the unique areas is Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. With more than 2,000 documented arches, the park has the world’s largest concentration of natural arches.
Some of the arches in Arches National Park may be as small as a few feet or they can be as large as Landscape Arch, which spans an amazing 296 feet. The arches have formed over millions of years of erosion from the forces of water and ice, wind and temperature changes.
Besides arches, Arches National Park has a variety of other formations such as pinnacles, spires, windows, fins and hoodoos all formed by the forces of nature.
Arches National Park began as a National Monument in 1929 and was upgraded to a national park in 1971. This popular national park is host to more than 1.5 million visitors per year. Like many of the more visited national parks, Arches National Park requires visitors to have reservations to enter the park.
Visitors can drive the Arches Scenic Route, which is an 18 mile drive from the entrance and leads visitors by most of the park’s most well-known formations and arches. There are many view points along the road which allow one to stop for viewing or photos as they drive the route.
Many of the popular arches and formations are close enough to the road that visitors can hike to the arch in a few minutes. Some may take longer depending on abilities and time spent viewing the formations. If a visitor has only one day at Arches, it is possible to see many of the well-known arches and formations given an early start to the day.
The Arches National Park Visitors Center is located just inside the park entrance and gives visitors a chance to learn about the different areas to visit while at the park. There is a gift shop and book store as well as park rangers to answer questions about the park.
Arches National Park is a beautiful and unique park which all should try to visit at least once. The magnificent formations and arches seen throughout the area are some amazing works of nature. In addition to the national park Moab offers visitors an opportunity to see and experience many amazing sites in the beautiful red rocks country of Southern Utah.
The best time to visit Arches is April-May and September-October. The park is open all year but it should be noted that summer temperatures can be very hot and visitors should plan accordingly. Winter visits can be cold but it may give one a chance to see the arches and formations with snow.
It is recommended that one plan their visit by visiting the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/arches to make reservations when planning their trip.
Editor’s note: Longtime Los Alamos photographer Gary Warren and his wife Marilyn are traveling around the country, and he shares his photographs, which appear in the “Posts from the Road” series published in the Sunday edition of the Los Alamos Daily Post.
Hikers: A closer view of Double Arch in Arches National Park shows a couple of hikers as they make their way across the rocks between the two arches. These formations must be seen to fully appreciate their size and mass and the view under the arches is spectacular. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Park Avenue: This area of Arches National Park exhibits some of the other formations seen around Arches National Park. Visitors can hike a short distance into the canyon area of Park Avenue and get a feel of the height of these sheer walls much like walking through sky scrapers in a city. The viewpoint at this stop is wheelchair accessible but to hike into the canyon requires one to walk down steps as you drop lower to the canyon floor. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Sand Dune Arch: Sand Dune Arch is a smaller arch but tucked between high walls in the Devil’s Garden area at Arches National Park. The arch is an easy hike and a fun stop for children as the sandy floor gives the young ones an opportunity to play in the sand. This is a good stop when its hot out because the area is often shaded and cooler than the surrounding area. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com
Balanced Rock: The Balanced Rock formation stands 128 feet high and is easily visible from the road. The stop allows visitors to take an easy walk to view the formation up close. Seen in the background of this photo are the La Sal Mountains, which are southeast of Moab. Photo by Gary Warren/ladailypost.com