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USA: Utah: Arches National Park, Brian Head, Bryce Canyon City, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Moab, Monument Valley, Park City, Salt Lake City, Snow Canyon, St. George, Sundance, Zion National Park
Arches National Park, Utah, USA: State icon
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Delicate natural sandstone arches and impossibly balanced rocks are among the amazing geological features at Arches. Home to the world’s largest concentration of naturally formed rock arches, including the famed Delicate Arch – Utah’s most iconic image.
The town of Moab generally works as a base station to visit the various geological wonders around including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. We arrived in Moab the night before and were hosted at Ramada Moab Downtown.
The next morning, after enjoying our breakfast at Aarchway Inn in Moab we moved towards Arches National Park which is just a 15 minute drive from town – the gate of the Park that is. Thereafter, it’s a steep climb and once you are at the top, you will be neighbours to miles and miles and miles of geological wonders. While amazing rock formations are awe-inspiring, what steals the show are hundreds of arches. In fact, over 2000 catalogued arches range in size from a three-foot opening, the minimum considered an arch, to the longest, Landscape Arch measuring 306 feet base to base. You would need at least a couple of days to truly admire Arches. We just had a few hours on hand!
Today, new arches are being formed and old ones destroyed. Just so you know, as recent as 1991 a rock slab 60 feet long, 11 feet wide and 4 feet thick fell from the underside of Landscape Arch, leaving behind an even thinner ribbon of rock. Whilst the rock was falling, a tourist actually captured the drama. You can see it all in the film at the visitor centre. It’s a good idea to make a visit to parks’ visitor centres before commencing your exploration. The orientation films help you get a better perspective. Scientifically, these are live parks with changes happening every day – albeit slowly. For all I know, my future generations may have a different story to tell about the arches they get to see!
Arches National Park is a great family park with foot trails to many features. You can see a lot from a car, but the special aura of time, silence and scale may elude you unless you walk, too. As mentioned earlier, with limited time on hand there was no way I could see some of the popular arches including the Landscape Arch – that was 18 miles away in what is known as Devil’s garden. However, we made it a point to take a mile long trail to view the famed Delicate Arch. Actually, this arch is best experienced (touched & felt) by taking a 2-hour trail (uphill and tiring).
We were at Arches till about 11AM. After which we began our drive towards Monument Valley – Utah’s another great location. En route, we stopped a while to take a quick tour of Hole in the Rock – no driver on the road will miss this sign. As the name suggests, it’s a 5000 sq.ft. home carved in the rock! Now, it’s a museum that offers quick 10-minute tour of the home that was. Few dollars well spent and certainly has my recommendation. There’s a massive gift-store at the facilities as also a little back-yard zoo that houses many species including a Bavarian camel, zebra and a pair of bison.
We continued our drive to make a quick stop at Wilson’s Arch. It’s just next to the road. You can surely pull your car aside for a few minutes. At 1PM we made a lunch stop at Peace Tree Juice Café in Monticello. Don’t get mislead by the name, the café offers some great food. To save on time, we packed sandwiches to enjoy on the go… we were excited to touch Monument Valley as soon as possible.
Arches National Park Image Gallery Photo viewer
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