Spring Break Part 1: Arches National Park

For spring break this year, some friends and I headed down to Moab, Utah and tent-camped on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands right outside of Arches National Park!

Pine Tree Arch
Pine Tree Arch

We spent the day hiking around the park – and I could not believe how big the arches were and how close we were allowed to get to some of them.

Navajo Arch
Navajo Arch (overlooking part of the park!)

According to the National Park Service, the arches form from because sandstone cracks and erodes (through wind and rain) over time. Here is a photo from the NPS that shows how the arches form!

Stages of arch formation: Rainwater dissolves sandstone, widening cracks to form fins. An alcove eroded in the base of a fin might grow to form an arch before finally collapsing.

Also according to NPS, there are over 2,000 documented arches in this park, and I saw a few while hiking. Our hikes consisted of Devils Garden (Double O, Navajo, Partition, Landscape, Pine Tree and Tunnel Arch), Skyline (Skyline, Broken and Sand Dune Arch), Wolfe Ranch (Delicate Arch) and the Balanced Rock Viewpoint.

Broken Arch
Me under Broken Arch

My favorite by far was Delicate Arch. After a one mile hike straight up a rock face (okay, maybe it wasn’t straight up), we made our way along the edge of a cliff to a wide open bowl-shaped drop off. On the edge was Delicate Arch, pictured below.

Delicate Arch from afar
Delicate Arch from afar (drop-off into bowl-like area down to the right of the photo)

As I mentioned before, I can’t believe I was able to walk inside the arch! You can see me with my arms up below!

Me standing under Delicate Arch (and avoiding the steep drop off!)
Me standing under Delicate Arch (and avoiding the steep drop off!)

Arches NP is also home to the Fiery Furnace – a “garden” of red rocks, pictured below.

Fiery Furnace
Fiery Furnace

Next outdoor exploration is Canyonlands in Thursday’s post – stay tuned!

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2 thoughts on “Spring Break Part 1: Arches National Park

  1. Pingback: Spring Break Part 2: Canyonlands National Park | Environmental Explorations

  2. Pingback: Earth Week 2014 Thursday: National Parks Week! | Environmental Explorations

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