Arches National Park
On our quest to eventually visit all the national parks, we quickly realized that Utah's Mighty Five would require a special trip all it's own. Last year we visited parks in states surrounding Utah and saved these amazing parks for this year. Their time finally came and we were very excited to finally get to see them. We approached the parks from Denver with our daughter in law, grandson and grand daughter along to see the two closest parks, Arches and Canyonlands, before parting company so they could return to Denver while we continued on to the other parks. In addition to Arches and Canyonlands, the remaining big five are Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion. The next five posts will be these unique Utah parks.
Our first stop....Arches...so much for saving the best for last! The small tourist town of Moab is located just minutes from the entrance and visitor center and supplies all needs such as hotel, restaurants, grocery, and gas services. In addition to Arches, Canyonlands, as well as Dead Horse Point State Park, can be easily reached from Moab. As soon as we left the visitor center and drove the first switchbacks, the oohs and ahhs began. Panoramic vistas of snow capped mountains, soaring red rock features and miles of hiking trails greeted us. The famous rock formations often have names. Examples are the Gossips, Balanced rock, Double Arch and the Park's signature formation, Delicate Arch.
Kaye and Sawyer are ready to hike!
This massive formation is best appreciated from a distance. The people on the trail in the foreground provide a scale. The double Arch is to the left of the formation.
Jamie and Aubrey are still far from the formation, but it already fills the camera frame.
Sawyer and Aubrey had a good time running and climbing here!
We wonder why this formation is called "The Gossips"?
Believe it or not there is a trail out there. In some places you can see a worn path across the rock face. In other places, cairnes mark the way, but it's easiest to just follow the crowd on the 1 1/2 mile trail to Delicate Arch.
Nearing the top and Delicate Arch, the trail begins to get steep and very narrow with a ledge next to a dropoff of hundreds of feet.
The payoff... hundreds of people sitting quietly soaking in the majesty of Delicate Arch, waiting patiently in line to get "the shot" under the arch and making their way around to get the view from all angles.
Near the parking lot at the foot of the Delicate Arch trail is a small side trail with a pioneer cabin alongside evidence of an even earlier culture who left petraglyphs as evidence of their time here.