Arches National Park in Utah

A stop off at Vail, Colorado

We left Denver and stopped for morning coffee in Vail, Colorado which is a lovely alpine ski resort. It was very quiet whilst we were there, since ski season hadn’t started. The main area of the town is pedestrianised and Gore Creek drive is lined with restaurants and ski wear shops. A nice feature of Vail is that it is has a village wide wifi network.

Arriving at Arches National Park

We then continued onto the Arches National Park, which lies to the north of Moab in Utah and is adjacent to the Colorado river. Arches National Park has over 2000 natural sandstone arches, within a 76,359 acre area.  The definition of an Arch is a hole in a rock which is at least three foot long, regardless of its height. I was intrigured to know how these arches were formed.

Arches National Park

The Natural Science

300 million years ago, this area was the sea which over time evaporated, leaving thousands of feet of salt bed. Slowly over many hundreds of years, the salt was covered with sand and other sediment which compressed and compacted into sedimentary rock. The weight of the rock caused the salt layer to move and where there were cracks or cavities in the rock, the salt moved upwards to form domes.

When the salt domes collapsed, the rocks on each side would crack. Wind and water erosion formed fins of sandstone and during a gradual process of continual freezing and thawing, mother nature created the rock arches we see today.

Arches National Park

Courthouse Towers

Arches National Park

The North Window

Arches National Park

Double Arch

Arches National Park

Courthouse Towers

Arches National Park

Left most arch is called Delicate Arch

 

 

Impermanent structures
It is worth noting that this process still continues and that the arches are not permanent, with one of the most famous arches “Wall Arch”, collapsing in 2008.

 

Name an Arch

If you visit Arches National Park, keep a look out for new arches because if you find a new one, you will get to name it! Sadly I didn’t find a new arch, but maybe next time!

 

Please take a look at my YouTube video for my photos from my visit.

 

 

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  • 1AdventureTraveler

    Stunning photos of the Arches in the National Park. Fascinated on the history of how they were formed. With all those arches are people allowed to hike among them? I pinned this for later. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you! There are a number of hiking trails through the park, which take a hiker to arches which cannot be seen by road and to some stunning viewpoints. Visitors are requested to stick to the trails to protect the arches and their surroundings.

  • This national park looks amazing. Some of the arches are gorgeous. Just a question (since I don’t know the area… at all!) Is it hot there? You mentioned ski resort but it looks so dry, a bit like the Australian outback.

    • Sam H Travels

      Thank you for your question! I have updated the map on this page to show the location of Vail. There is a distance of approximately 250 miles between Vail and Arches National Park.
      Arches National Park is roughly 5000 feet above sea level. Its winters are cold with temperatures dropping to below 0 Fahrenheit. In the summer, temperatures are often recorded over 100 Fahrenheit, The park has approximately 10 inches of rain a year. I hope this helps answer you question 🙂

  • What a fabulous National Park to visit and I love the story of how it was formed! I am rather partial to natural wonders and (as Kelly has said) it’s not too dis-imilair to the outback in Australia and did remind me of when I visited Uluru and the Olgas. I have pinned this so I can visit! #feetdotravel

  • I’ve always wanted to go there. Never been, despite the fact that I lived relatively close in Southern California. How cool that you can name an arch! I wonder how many un-discovered arches there are. 🙂

  • philandgarth

    This is so weird, just done the quiz Angie posted and saw a pic of Arches National Park, and thought we should add this place to our bucket list! Well, really enjoyed reading your post, and looking at your great photos! really fancy doing all of the National Parks one day, that would be one big road trip!! will pin this for future reference

  • Oana A. Nicolescu

    This National Park looks great, I loved the history lesson – it’s crazy how this was formed. I would love to name an Arch, it would be so cool 😎. Thank you for sharing this with us, I enjoyed reading your post and admiring your lovely pictures.

  • Jennifer Pepple

    The National Parks in Utah have been high on my list for about 2 years now and we just haven’t made it that way yet, which is ironic considering I live in a neighboring state! Arches looks amazing! I really want to take a week-long roadtrip and go!!!

  • Wow never knew this existed, how interesting. Thanks for sharing. #feetdotravel

  • Elisabeth Caraballo

    I’ve only been to Bryce Canyon in Utah but after reading your post and seeing your photos of Arches National Park I want to go back and experience this. I wish I would have known about it when I went to Bryce Canyon, I would have taken a detour and went there also. But, I really loved Utah, it’s so pretty. So, I’m sure I will go back there one day and Arches National Park will be on the list. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Lisa

    Another great wonder of Utah! So many wonderful places like this in the area to enjoy and hike. Will be back out there sometime next year again.

  • Tracy McConnachie Collins

    We would love to do this road trip – bizarrely I think we flew over it last year – next time I would like to be on the ground to really admire it. The more I see of the US the more I want to have a 6 month road and rail trip around it – so much to see!

  • ThriftyTrails

    Isn’t mother nature an artist?! Some of these photos reminded me of Death Valley. I didn’t even know this place existed. I have so much left to see right here in my home country! Great photos! You are making me want to go on a roadtrip haha

  • Jennifer Ambrose

    Looks so cool! We’d planned to go to Arches earlier this year and unfortunately had to cancel – I hope to make it there eventually!

  • I have heard so much about this national park recently, but no one has ever explained how the arches become the arches we see today. Thanks for clearing that up for me! Love that you have added a video of the photography in the end too! Can’t wait to visit the beautiful national parks in the states some time in the future! I would do so much hiking there, it’s not even funny ha!

  • Travel Lexx

    Wow, another national park that I didn’t get a chance to visit but is absolutely making my bucket list! Beautiful formations and a dream-like landscape. Super cool!