Utah really does a good job at being beautiful. Other than Zion National Park, it’s home to Arches National Park. And Arches National Park is home to the highest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the WORLD.
It’s hard to fathom how these babies are formed. Basically, over millions of years, erosion causes the softer rock in a formation to gradually wear away from underneath the ridge. Most of these arches have been around for ages.
Delicate Arch might be the most famous of the arches. It’s bit of an anomaly – a giant bright-red arch set against the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the distance. The hike up here is pretty leisurely, although I was exhausted and so the steady incline felt almost worse that Angel’s Landing. It’s about 5 kilometres round-trip from the parking lot.
I like Delicate Arch’s big reveal. First you scramble up some slickrock with only cairns to guide the way, and then you walk with trepidation along a very narrow ledge against a sheer rock wall…
…and THEN you round a corner…and voila!
My Trek America crew and I brought a picnic with us, and watched the sunset. It was one of the highlights of my trip, even if we shared it with dozens of other people. There were cupcakes.
Double Arches is another big draw, and was featured in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” There’s not much of a hike here – hardly anything, really. But it’s a pretty spectacular feature, because it’s literally TWO arches in one…as the name suggests.
No surprises there.
Not far off is Balanced Rock. Gee, the Mormons were creative with their names.
The entire pinnacle is 128 feet, but the massive balanced rock is 55 feet from its base. It’s pretty impressive, and also pretty phallic.
We didn’t get to do everything in Arches National Park, and missed a few things like Landscape Arch, the longest natural arch in the world. But we eventually ran out of time and it was COLD in that park. I guess I just assume that everywhere outside of Canada is warm, especially south of Canada. How wrong I was.
Moab is the town located next to Arches National Park, and is a ridiculously adorable little hippie town. I LOVE all national parks towns…just like Jasper and Banff. There’s always such a diverse and eclectic bunch of people who come here.