Arches National Park Journals

Magical Arches in the Rain

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An October 2006 trip to Arches National Park by btwood2

Travel Photo by IgoUgo memberMore Photos
Quote: Under piercing blue sky and blazing sun, muted by clouds, or pummeled relentlessly by rain, Arches never disappoints. Join us for a romp in Abbey-land.

Magical Arches in the Rain

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Overview

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Arches National Park is a small portion of the vast Colorado Plateau, but it packs a wallop in sheer beauty of landscape. It captured a piece of me three years ago, during a balmy Indian summer October, highlighted by an idyllic Colorado River float trip. What a difference this time! October 2006 presented us with storm after storm after storm. We got to see firsthand the interplay between water and red rock that sculpted these distinctive landforms into the shapes they hold now, temporarily, in geologic time. Ed Abbey was an American icon, his name synonymous with this region. Irascible and opinionated, he’s best known for writing Desert Solitaire, describing his two seasons...Read More

Big Mesa Campground

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Hotel

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Big Mesa is one of my all-time favorite vehicle-accessible camping places. West of Arches and north of Canyonlands, we first spotted it in 2003 on our way to Canyonlands National Park. "Is that a motor home up there on that bluff?" I asked my husband Bob incredulously, squinting at the tiny speck. We drove closer, turning off on a dirt road in our car. Soon we found ourselves astride Big Mesa, a section of red rock country in which it’s simply impossible to turn in any direction without awe-inspiring views. After speaking with the inhabitants of the motor home, who confirmed that this was indeed as good as it looked, we determined to return some day, when we could spend a bigger c...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 12, 2006

Big Mesa Campground

Arches National Park, Utah
N/A

The Park Avenue Trail

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Attraction | "Park Avenue - Courthouse Towers Hike"

The Park Avenue Trail Photo, Moab, Utah
Quote:
Though there are no arches on this hike, it’s a good introduction to the landscape and geological layers that give birth to arch formation. The hike can be taken either downhill or uphill, if you shuttle your car at the other end, or both, if not. We hiked the round trip, first down, then up. The narrow canyon walls of Park Avenue are formed of Entrada sandstone, which originated in Jurassic era tidal flats, deserts, and beaches. Fantastically shaped structures loom on both sides of the canyon. Two figures near the top remind me of Star Wars aliens talking to one another, one with a big head and elongated brains, the other a tiny-headed reptilian. I later learn that the big-headed one is named Ne...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 13, 2006

The Park Avenue Trail
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah 84532
(435) 719-2100

The Windows Area

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Attraction | "Windows Section"

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Balanced Rock is about halfway up the main park road. Park in the lot and take the easy 0.3 mile loop trail around it and its neighbors. The slickrock boulder on the Dewey Bridge mudstone pedestal (two different layers of Entrada sandstone) weighs a whopping 3,500 Tons! The softer pedestal is weathering faster than the boulder. When it is no longer able to support the boulder’s weight, it will collapse. Approaching Balanced Rock, it looks otherworldly; from the back it appears eerily like a giant mushroom. A short ways further along the road, take the turnoff into the Windows area. You’ll be richly rewarded with an incredible array of unusually shaped rock formations and numerous ar...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 13, 2006

The Windows Area
Arches National Park
Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch

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Attraction

Delicate Arch Photo, Moab, Utah
Quote:
Distance: 1.0 mile round trip Elevation gain: 200 feet The ranger was skeptical that the road to Delicate Arch would open soon. More rain expected; road and trail damage already extensive. She and her truck were guarding the closed gate past the turnoff. A sign warned of massive flooding, and prosecution of those caught attempting to walk in. We’d missed this famous arch last time, and it appeared we’d miss it again now. Not so fast. Six days later found us attempting access again, after learning at the visitor center that the road had opened. The trail to Delicate Arch is moderately strenuous, steadily uphill on slickrock. It’s the only way to get right to and underneath De...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 13, 2006

Delicate Arch
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah

Wolfe Ranch Historic District (Turnbow Cabin)

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Attraction | "Wolfe Ranch Historic District"

Wolfe Ranch Historic District (Turnbow Cabin) Photo, Arches National Park, Utah
Quote:
At Wolfe Ranch you can ponder the human history of Arches country. White Mesa Utes and Southern Paiutes used the Salt Valley long before white men to hunt wild game, gather plants for food, medicinal purposes, to make dyes, and make tools out of the abundant chert. Boundaries between the two tribes were blurred; they often intermarried. Some well-preserved petroglyphs a short stroll beyond Wolfe Ranch provide tangible evidence of their presence long ago. They depict horses with riders, and bighorn sheep, perhaps drawn in rock to illustrate a memorable hunt, or bring luck for future hunts. Dating puts the petroglyph’s creation some time past 1650. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 13, 2006

Wolfe Ranch Historic District (Turnbow Cabin)
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah

Devil's Garden - Beyond Landscape Arch

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Attraction | "Devil's Garden - Landscape Arch"

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Because we arrived so late in the day, we only viewed three of the eight major arches on this trail. I want to return another time, earlier, and spend a good half-day here, at least. There are numerous spurs on this trail, to Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches, a small loop to Landscape Arch, separate spurs to Navajo and Partition Arches, and a spur off the primitive loop to Private Arch. The monolith Dark Angel stands at the end of the trail. You’ll actually find two arches at Tunnel Arch, the bigger one, and a smaller one above and to the left of it. Tunnel is a young arch, meaning, a smaller hole with thicker rock around it. As erosion continues, arches enlarge until finally, the surrounding r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 13, 2006

Devil's Garden - Beyond Landscape Arch
Arches National Park
Arches National Park, Utah

Colorado River Float Trip

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Attraction

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
A full-day float trip down the Colorado was the highlight of our 2003 visit. Western Rivers was one of the few outfitters offering river trips the last week in October, so we jumped on it. It was a good deal: $37 seniors/youths, $49 adults, including snacks, beverages, and picnic lunch along 13 miles of Colorado River. Checking back in 2006, prices had gone up to $43/55. We arrived early morning at Moab Adventure Center, and with our group of ten (including guide), were shuttled by van to our launch point at Hittle Bottom. The inflated raft was loaded up with huge coolers, and all of us. Our guide, whose name I didn’t write down or recall because ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 13, 2006

Colorado River Float Trip

Arches National Park, Utah
(866) 904-1163

About the Writer

btwood2

btwood2
Rodeo, New Mexico

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