Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located just north of Moab in southeast Utah. It and neighboring Canyonlands are an amazingly unique part of the world. The canyons, arches, spires, fins, needles, and other bizarre formations in these 2 parks are unlike anything else I've ever seen. Unlike Canyonlands, Arches is small and easy to get around. Most of the best features are no more than a mile or two from the road and most of the hikes are fairly flat. 

As with all the pages on this site, click any image to see a higher resolution version.

 

 

This is Landscape Arch, one of the longest and most delicate arches in the world. It stretches 306 feet from base to base. I got really lucky with this series of pictures. The arch faces east and, due to the big ridge just behind it (to the west), it only gets good light at sunrise. Unfortunately, there are also two large fins just east of the arch blocking the sunrise most of the year. Luckily for me, there is about a 30 yard gap between the 2 fins to the east so about 2 weeks a year the arch gets beautiful light at sunrise. I happened to be there during one of those periods. The picture on the left was taken within a minute of the sun peeking above the horizon, the one in the middle about 2 minutes later, and the one on the right about 2 minutes after that. You can see from these three pictures how quickly that great sunrise light vanishes. 


 

This is The Windows, North Window is on the left and South Window on the right. The middle picture is both windows. Looks to me like God's eyeglasses. 

 

 

 

These shots are from an area of Arches called The Fiery Furnace. The Fiery Furnace is several square miles of interconnected fins and canyons forming a perfect hedgerow maze in rock. It's a wonderful place to poke around but entry is strictly limited. You need a permit and the National Park Service makes you watch an informational video. The video, unfortunately, is all about how not to damage the delicate environment. I would have preferred a video on how not to get lost! On the left is Surprise Arch, a great place for a picnic lunch in the shade.

 

 

These are some of the fin formations in Arches. On the left is The 3 Gossips and Sheep Rock. On the right is one of the Courthouse Towers. Arches form from these fins as they erode.

 

 

This is Delicate Arch, probably the most famous arch in the world. It's the one on the Utah license plate. The three pictures on the top do a great job of showing how the light changes on the arch as the sun sets. Delicate Arch at sunset is absolutely not to be missed. Perched on the edge of a canyon with the snow capped La Salle Mountains in the background, it is one of the most sublimely beautiful displays of nature I've ever seen. Note Karen in the shot on the top left for scale.

 

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