Arches National Park is located in the western United States in the east part of the state of Utah. The national park boundaries encompass an area of 119.8 square miles (310.3 sq km) and run along the Colorado River.
The park is part of the Colorado Plateau with a high desert biosphere. The elevation ranges from 4,085 feet (1,245 m) to 5,653 feet (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte which is the highest point of the park. Elephant Butte is a picturesque sandstone rock formation rising above the surrounding area.
Arches National Park is renowned for the over 2,000 naturally occurring sandstone arches found within the park. The most famous is Delicate Arch which reaches a height of 52 feet (16 m). There are numerous rock formation attractions found within the park.
Balanced Rock, Courthouse Towers, Dark Angel, Devils Garden, and Double Arch are just some of the many targeted attractions of the park. Fiery Furnace is a scenic area of narrow passages surrounded by towers of rock similar to a sandstone created maze.
The naturally occurring sandstone arches are the highlight of the national park. The most renowned is Delicate Arch, but with over 2,000 arches and rock formations, there is an abundance of nature’s art on display.
Hiking is the best way to experience the outdoors but touring, biking, backpacking, and canyoneering are all popular ways to explore Arches National Park. Climbing on the arches and certain rock formations like Balanced Rock is forbidden.
Arches National Park Trails
There are several trails through the national park that allow you to experience the abundance of arches in a more personal way.
This is an easy half-mile (.8 km) loop that travels from the parking to the viewing point of the arch. Once you reach the arch, you can climb up to view alternative sides of the arch as well as climb down below to experience the bowl beneath the arch.
Sand Dune and Broken Arch
This is an easy trail travels a distance of only .3 mile to experience amazing sandstone walls. Some visitors will call it done and return back to the trailhead; however, the journey continues for a total of 1.7 miles (2.74 km) to Broken Arch. This arch is not broken but it is wearing thinner.
Delicate Arch Trail
This three-mile round trip trail takes you to Delicate Arch which is one of the most iconic attractions of the park. Although it is a more challenging hike, it is almost a mandatory endeavor. The last portion of the trail features a steep ascent.
Devil’s Garden Trail
This loop trail is 7.2 miles (11.58 km) and is more of a rough trail but another one that is worth exploring. Visitors who embark on the trail will see Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, Wall Arch, Double O Arch, and Landscape Arch. Each of these arches is fairly unique to the park.
This is one of the more intimate outings that take hikers through a series of paths along narrow canyons. The sandstone pillars and walls encompass hikers from all angles and provide an intimate encounter with the colorful rock formations. A permit is required, or you have the option to go on a guided hike with one of the rangers.
- Delicate Arch
- Balanced Rock
- Double Arch
- Skull Arch
- Britannica, Arches National Park, https://www.britannica.com/place/Arches-National-Park, retrieved March 2020.
- Discover Moab, Arches National Park, https://www.discovermoab.com/arches-national-park/, retrieved March 2020.
- Lonely Planet, Arches National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/southwest/arches-national-park, retrieved S March 2020.
- National Geographic, Utah’s National Parks, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/national-parks/arches-national-pa…, retrieved March 2020.
- National Park Service, Arches National Park, https://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm, retrieved March 2020.
- Visit Utah, Arches National Park, https://www.visitutah.com/places-to-go/parks-outdoors/arches/, retrieved March 2020.