DescriptionArches National Park lies 5 miles northwest of Moab on US 191. The rugged area contains the largest number of natural stone arches in the country. Along with more than 2,000 arches are many red rock canyons, spires, fins and balancing rocks. The erosion of the Entrada Sandstone, a 300-foot-thick layer of rock that was deposited as sand 150 million years ago, created these formations.
The arches were formed by the weathering of openings in vertical slabs of sandstone. Opinions vary as to how big an opening must be before it can be classified as an arch, but park officials consider arches to be any opening extending at least 3 feet in any one direction.
General InformationThe park is open year-round. It is particularly photogenic in the morning and evening light, when the sandstone formations take on a fiery glow. Many highlights can be seen from the road, but short foot trails lead to some of the most impressive features. A few trails entail strenuous climbs, and hikers must carry water.
Two miles past the visitor center at the park's entrance, the main road passes the Park Avenue viewpoint. Park Avenue offers an easy 1-mile hike through a red rock canyon whose walls resemble a city skyline. Those who have taken the hike can be picked up farther along the road at the end of the trail.
One of the most accessible areas is the Windows section, where visitors can study the basic geology of arches. Grouped together at the end of a side road 12 miles from the visitor center are Double Arch, Turret Arch, the North Window and the South Window. The route to this area leaves the main road 9 miles past the visitor center.
A paved road passing the Wolfe Ranch and ending at a viewpoint for Delicate Arch leaves the main road 2.5 miles farther. From the Wolfe Ranch a strenuous, 3-mile round-trip trail leads to Delicate Arch. At the ranch are the weathered remnants of a homesteader's 20-year sojourn in this barren land in the late 1800s.
The Devils Garden section extends from the end of the paved road 18 miles from the visitor center. Only Skyline Arch is visible from the road, but many more arches, including Landscape Arch, can be reached by a 1.6-mile round-trip trail. Camping spaces can be reserved March through October and are on a first-come, first-served basis the rest of the year; phone (877) 444-6777, or TTY (877) 833-6777 for reservations.
ADMISSIONADMISSION is $25 (per private vehicle); $15 (per person arriving by motorcycle); $10 (per person arriving by other means). The above fees permit entrance to the park for 7 calendar days from date of purchase. An annual pass is $50. The annual permit also is valid for Canyonlands National Park and Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments. The camping fee is $25. Fees also are charged for some interpretive programs and ranger-guided walks March through October.
Note: Devils Garden Campground will close Mar. 1, 2017 for a major construction project. Phone for construction updates and for information about the Canyon Wren and Juniper group campsites.
PETSPETS are permitted in parking areas or on roads only if they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet, crated or otherwise physically restricted at all times. Pets are not allowed on trails or in the backcountry areas.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Superintendent, Arches National Park, P.O. Box 907, Moab, UT 84532-0907; phone (435) 719-2100. The superintendent's office is open Mon.-Fri. 8-4:30.
Points of Interest
Things to SeeDelicate Arch
GEM DescriptionDelicate natural sandstone and impossibly balanced rocks are among the amazing geological features at this national park near Moab.