is relatively compact and you can see many of the best arches and stone
from the road. Hiking the park's trails is the only way to see
some of the most interesting of the arches and other landforms, but the
hikes are relatively easy and always rewarding. Arches is a great
park for family exploration.
geology of the park is comprised of numerous layers of sandstone that
an underground salt bed. The weight of the sandstone layers, which were deposited
both by wind and water, eventually deformed the salt dome,
resulting in faulting of the surface materials. Over long periods of time
these crustal movements were
responsible for the formation of the numerous arches in the park.
The current theory of arch formation is that
erosion of the sandstone by freezing and thawing within faults and along the
cracks caused by faulting, created small openings that enlarged over
time to form sandstone fins. Some of the fins were further
eroded into arches by additional freezing and thawing, as well as the
influence of gravity. Regardless of the process, the
result is a wonderland of natural sandstone arches in a collection that
is unique in
all of the world.
is a relatively small park and can be toured in a day by the casual
visitor. It is easy to spend two or more days in the park, if you
want to explore its many vista and trails. If you are a
photographer, Arches National Park will provides scene after scene of
unique, colorful and often, unexpected views.
The Park Service offers walks to an area called the Fiery Furnace twice
each day. The group size is limited and reservation can only be made at the Visitor Center. Commercial
tours of the area are offered by local outfitters, principally in Moab.
See the official
for details on visiting, hiking, and camping. By the way, the Park
averages around the 4,000 feet elevation.
entrance fee to the park is $10 per private vehicle, $5 for pedestrians
or cyclists. Admission is for 7 days.
The park is open year round 24 hours a day, while the Visitor Center, which is closed December 25, is open form 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. from April to October and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from November through March.
There are a number of interesting displays at the visitor center as well
as a video that is worth seeing.
In-park camping is available at the Devil's Garden Campground, which is limited
in size. See this section of the
Arches Website for details on
campsites and camping. Stargazing and
astronomy are exceptional here due to the lack of neighboring lights, but
perhaps not as good as
Bryce Canyon National Park.
The park is a cold weather area from November through April and warms up
from May through August, with summer temperatures often exceeding 100 F. However, nights are usually cool year round and very cold during the winter. Precipitation is spread evenly throughout the year, with snow in the winter and
thunderstorms possible the rest of the year.
The best times of the year to visit Arches are the temperate
months of April, May, and mid-September through October (although
September and October are the rainiest months at the park, the amount of
precipitation is relatively low). During these periods, the
temperatures are pleasant, the weather usually clear and the combination
makes the park a pleasant place to tour.
nearest major airport is Salt Lake City, Utah (226 miles).
Arches is located in a remote section of Utah and you will either need
to stay in Moab or Green River (40 miles).
(6 miles) is the nearest town that offers accommodations, as well as
outfitting, river rafting and access to other outdoor adventures.
Moab for more information.
Arches National Park is, also, close to
Canyonlands National Park, another of the area's scenic wonders.
We do not cover Canyonlands because access is limited to 4-wheel drive
vehicles and even then the road to the Park may be impassable. If
you are interested in Canyonlands, you might consider taking a tour
offered by one of the many outfitters located in Moab,
Because Arches is a small park and may not take a lot of time to tour, you will likely want to combine your
visit here with other national parks in Utah or Colorado. Arches is a good park
to visit from
Mesa Verde, at least if you intend to tour
Zion National Parks, both in Utah. If that is your plan, try
to see Arches in the morning (it's spectacular) and drive to Bryce
Canyon later in the day.
to see the locations of the Best National Parks in the American