77°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Popular Arches Park’s views inspire awe

Arches National Park, just outside of the town of Moab, Utah, is a feast for the eyes. There are more than 2,000 natural stone arches in the park, the largest density in the world. But you will also be amazed by natural windows, balanced rocks, pinnacles and other stunning formations.

Just driving through the park along the Scenic Drive is a great experience. It’s a 36-mile roundtrip with plenty of pullouts to view the arches and other fantastic formations. But, if you set out on foot you will get a closer look at some of the park’s best features, and these views will inspire awe.

Elevations in the park range from 4,085 to 5,653 feet, and temperatures in April and May are considered perfect, with average daily highs in the 70 and 80 degree range. Wildflowers will be at their annual best.

In short, now is the best time to go, but unfortunately, it is also one of the busiest times of the year. So if you want any solitude head out to the trails or roadways in early morning.

There are a variety of trails in the park ranging from short and easy to more strenuous. Most of the trails have no shade so be prepared with proper attire and carry plenty of water and replenishing snacks.

Landscape Arch is the longest in the park, and the hike to see it up close is only 1.6 miles roundtrip. It’s also easy, a mostly flat gravel trail starting in the Devils Garden parking area. The arch’s span measures more than 300 feet from base to base. It is now a mere 11 feet thick in the center. Back in 1991 a 60-foot-long piece of rock fell off the bottom of the arch. No one can predict accurately how long this arch will stand as the rock is subject to gravity and constantly eroding.

In 2008, the Wall Arch along the popular Devils Garden Trail collapsed during the night, when no one observed the event. The arch was ranked 12th in size in the park; it was 71 feet wide and more than 33 feet high.

Another classic hike is up to see Delicate Arch, one of the most famous arches in the park. The trail starts at Wolfe Ranch parking area. It is a three miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of about 480 feet. There are some drop-offs so if you have small children along, be extra vigilant on this trail.

For even more adventure try the Devils Garden Primitive Loop, the longest maintained trail in the park. It is 7.2 miles roundtrip, well worth the effort because along your journey you will be treated to eight arches. The trail involves some rock scrambling and there are also narrow ledges to walk across, but you will find more solitude here than on other, shorter trails.

The Devils Garden Campground, with 50 sites, is the only camping in the park. It is usually reserved well in advance during the busy season from March through October, but try your luck at www.recreation.gov.

Many other camping and lodging choices outside the park, but still in the Moab area, are listed at www.discovermoab.com.

Arches National Park is open year-round, 24 hours a day. The visitor center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. through October with reduced hours through March. You can get further information at www.nps.gov/arch or at 435-719-2299.

Many of Deborah Wall’s columns were recently compiled with new information and photos in “Base Camp Las Vegas” and published by Stephens Press. She is also the author of “Great Hikes, a Cerca Country Guide.” Wall can be reached at Deborabus@aol.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pickleball proves popular; city to add courts

The sport of pickleball is expanding faster than the dry areas at Lake Mead, with over 5 million players nationwide. Boulder City has noticed this and, in a recent City Council meeting, approved $160,000 of the American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 relief funds for additional courts in the city.

Fishers angle for best spot

Anglers covered the shorelines at Veterans’ Memorial Park on Saturday, June 11, as Boulder City hosted the Southern Nevada free fishing day event.

94-year-old still out on the green

Feeling younger than ever, 94-year old Virginia “Birdie” Hurst is an avid golfer who has no plans to slow down.

Catalina evokes visions of romance, nature

For many who grew up in the 1950s or ’60s, the name of Santa Catalina will always evoke the vision of California at its most romantic, thanks to the Four Preps’ influential pop song of the same name. But the actual island has helped city folk enjoy romance, nature and elegant surroundings in their preferred proportions for nearly a century.

Waterfall standout of Grand Staircase-Escalante

While it would take a lifetime to see all the extraordinary wonders of the 1.87-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, even on a short visit you can hike to some of the highlights. One of the standouts, that most people are eager to visit, is Lower Calf Creek Falls.

Orchards highlight visit to Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef National Park in Utah boasts some of the finest rock formations and geologic wonders in the West, including the Waterpocket Fold, a wrinkle in the Earth that extends 100 miles. It is also one of the top choices for visitors to hike; its 150 miles of trails take in slot canyons, natural arches and bridges, waterfalls and petroglyphs.

Desert living heralded in Palm Springs

For outdoor lovers who are looking for a family or multigenerational weekend, Palm Springs, California, will certainly fit the bill. While there are hundreds of wonderful things to do here, three places should top any list for those traveling with people of different ages.

Park features more than namesake Joshua trees

Joshua Tree National Park, California, lies about 185 miles from Boulder City, but the scenic route seems just a hop, skip and jump, for it consists partly of a drive in the remote and visually stunning Mojave National Preserve, along a short section of Route 66 and through the ghost town of Amboy.

Bridge extends welcome to Havasu visitors

Moving one of England’s tourist attractions to the American Southwest sounded far-fetched until somebody did it. Now it has become the second most popular tourist destination in Arizona, only being outdone by the Grand Canyon.