Monday, January 28, 2013

Arches National Park, Utah


The Arches National Park is a Red Rock wonderland. Located in state of Utah, just few miles outside of Moab, it has highest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the country.


The forces of nature have acted in concert to create the landscape of Arches. The park lies atop an underground evaporite layer or salt bed, which is the main cause of the landscape here.




The scenic drive takes through several viewpoints. Some of the amazing attractions would require hiking ranging from small to long hikes. 
There was some snow during our visit in December. Visit during the off-peak certainly had its advantages ! The crowd was minimal, plenty of parking spots at all view points.


 The Park Avenue view point


The three gossips with Sheep rock on the right.

A closer view of the Sheep rock. The inward curve of the left side suggests that Sheep Rock was part of an arch at one time.



The small hike to the windows section. The reference of the person standing at the window might give you an idea of how huge the window is !


Turret Arch at the windows section.


The Balanced Rock ... one of the popular attractions of the park.
The total height of the Balanced Rock is about 128 feet. The big rock on top is the size of three school buses !



Double-Arch ...another popular feature of the Arches National Park.


  Delicate Arch is the most heavily visited of all the arches. It is no doubt the icon of the Arches National Park.
The trail to the delicate arch is approx 3 mile round trip and moderately strenuous trek. With icy conditions on the trail during our visit, it was really an adventurous hike. Kudos to my 4 year old daughter who pretty much walked most part herself.


The trailhead starting at the Wolfe Ranch.


The first half-mile is wide and has well-defined trail.



Upon reaching the slick-rock,  the rock cairns kind of guide you ! The trail climbs gradually with an elevation  gain of approx 500 feet. No where during this trail would you get a glimpse of this arch.  At the end, the trail goes along a rock edge for about 200 yards opening to a breathtaking view of this magnificent arch.



Walking this 200 yards was perhaps the dangerous and highlight of our trek. It was a narrow path which was super icy !!! Thinking about it now, it feels crazy we did this. I am so glad we made it back safely  !

All Photographs by - Anupama Puneeth

Information Courtesy :
http://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arches_National_Park
http://www.arches.national-park.com/

Some Useful Information :

~ Delicate Arch is best at sunset. However hiking back in the dark isn't easy. 
Recommend carrying torch lights.




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