Arches National Park is a U.S. National Park located in eastern Utah near the Moad city. This park covers an area of 76,679 acres. The Arches National Park has a high elevation of 5,653 feet at Elephant Butte, and its lowest elevation is 4,085 feet at the visitor center. The Arches was first declared a National Monument on April 12, 1929. On November 12, 1971 was redesignated as a National Park. It has an average of 769,672 visitors per year. You can see over 2,000 arches in this area.
Arches National Park is famous for his red sandstone arches that occur there in great profusion. On the map that you can buy from the visitor’s center you can find over 1000 arches, ranging in size from Landscape Arch to small openings one meter across. There are numerous rock formations sprinkled on the park area and could take days to see them all. The Park entrance is on US191 located at 20 miles south of I-70 and just North of Moab, which is the biggest town in southeast Utah.
This rocks have that shape because they lies on a top of underground evaporate layer or salt bed. This is also the cause of why this arches look like that. Over time, water seeped into the surface cracks, joints, and folds of these layers. Ice formed in the fissures, expanding and putting pressure on surrounding rock, breaking off bits and pieces. Winds later cleaned out the loose particles. Wind and water attacked these fins until, in some, the cementing material gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out. Many damaged fins collapsed. Others, with the right degree of hardness and balance, survived despite their missing sections. These became the famous arches.
To visit all the rock formations spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths in the area you will need a 4WD vehicle because of the deep sand and steep grades. You can go hiking but during summer the temperature here can reach 110°F and it will make your job harder. The temperatures in Arches National Park vary by month, as well as the precipitation. The hottest month is July and the coolest month is January. In October you could see the most precipitation in the park. Also here it’s not a surprising think to see that is snows.
The Delicate Arch is the most famous arch in Arches National Park and has been adopted as the state symbol, appearing on Utah vehicle registration plates. You can see Delicate Arch by going on a 1.5-mile foot trail from Wolfe Ranch which crosses the creek via a small, swaying suspension bridge and leads across smooth exposed slick rock. The major concentration of arches and other formations can be seen in the Windows Section, where you can find formations like Double Arch, Cove Arch and Balanced Rock. This arches and rock formations from this area can be seen from the road or along short hikes.
Here humans lived until about 700 years ago and have occupied the region since the last ice age which took place 10,000 years ago. Alexander Ringhoffer and his two sons were the first who discovered this scenic area in 1922. Then Ringhoffer had written to Frank A. Wadleigh which works at the railroad company, in an effort to interest them in the tourist potential of these lands.
Climbing on known arches in this park is not allowed due to the regulations. If you want to climb on any other formation you can do that but regulated. You can practice auto touring, backpacking, biking, camping, and hiking, some of which require permits. You can pay a guide and benefit from his services to learn and see interesting things about Arches National Park. Those of you who are interested in astronomy is a good place to observe the dark sky because is a large area here without lights.
The main attraction of the Arches National Park is the Landscape Arch. It has over 300 feet. The arch was named by Frank Beckwith, leader of the Arches National Monument Scientific Expedition. You can admire this arch among Devil’s Garden in the North area of the park. The Landscape Arch is considered by the Natural Arch and Bridge Society to be the second longest natural arch in the world.
Also this area is full of wildlife. You can see 52 species of mammals, 6 species of fish, 186 species of birds, 6 species of amphibians and 21 species of reptiles, species like the spadefoot toad, scrub jay, peregrine falcon, many kinds of sparrows, red Fox, desert bighorn sheep, kangaroo rat, mule Deer, mountain lion, midget faded rattlesnake, yucca moth and rattlesnakes. You could also find 483 species of plants like the prickly pear cactus, the Indian ricegrass, bunch grasses, lichen, moss, liverworts, Utah juniper, Mormon tea, blackbrush, cliffrose, four-winged saltbrush, stemless woollybase, evening primrose, sand verbena, yucca, and sacred datura.
Although activities like hiking, camping or driving are limited within park boundaries, I still think is a great scenic park that worth a visit.