November 05 2014
Written By
Josey Orr
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The Great 59 - Part 2: Arches National Park

The Great 59 is a series on America’s National Park Service.

Arches National Park

State: Utah

Created: November 11, 1971

Size: 76,768mi

Arches National Park looks like it could be on the surface of Mars. There are literally more than 2,000 natural stone arches, bridges, and other formations within the range of this park. It’s a desert landscape, but it sure as hell isn’t desolate. There are plenty of things to see, hikes to take, and it’s distance from artificial light makes it one of the best places in America to stargaze.

The entrance to the park is located just 5 miles north of Moab along highway 191. The fee to enter is super low – costing just $10 per vehicle. The best part? Your ten dollars is good for 7 days worth of entry. The campground has 50 individual sites, which are $20 per night and will accommodate up to ten people.  You can only reserve your spot between March 1st and October 31st.  Reservations must be made no less than four days and no more than 180 days in advance.

What To Do:

Hiking- There are a variety of hikes that you can do at Arches. The hikes range from easy, to moderate, to long trails. You can also hike guided trails if it suits your fancy.

Photography- The crazy landscape of this place combined with the thousands of rock formations lend themselves really well to photography. Especially at the peak photography times of day: early mornings and late afternoons.

Scenic Drive – There is actually a great scenic drive that you can take around the park. It offers great views and is completely paved.

Stargazing – As mentioned earlier in this post, Arches offers some of the best stargazing in the country. If you are going to be camping out here, we recommend checking out the spectacular nighttime views.

Places Of Interest:

Delicate Arch - A 1.5 mile trail leads to the base of Delicate Arch, possibly the most famous arch in the world and a Utah state symbol. Did we mention that there is a 500ft altitude gain and that you can look through the arch to see the La Sal Mountains across the way?

Balanced Rock- This thing is pretty astronomical. It’s a giant rock the size of three school buses sitting atop a 128 foot tall spire.

Park Avenue Trail: This trail descends a mile down to the bottom of a valley. From the bottom you get a great view of the gigantic Monoliths aptly named Park Avenue.

The best time to go to Arches is either during the spring or during the fall when the weather isn’t as harsh. However, if you want to make a winter trip to Arches, it looks beautiful with a light dusting of snow overtop the burning red desert landscape.


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