Thank you all who voted for which park the #TravelingTalleys should visit next. Arches National Park was a fantastic adventure, especially since it snowed! When we arrived in Moab the day before our trip we had read that there was a chance of snow, but didn’t take it too seriously. When we woke up the next day there was already about two inches of snow on the ground!
The last time Clinton and I have been to Arches was back in 2011 when we hiked to Delicate Arch. This time we opted for a scenic drive, especially since it was snowing! One of the reasons that we love this area so much is the gorgeous red rock and the rock arches that are throughout the park – a fitting name indeed! A rock arch, or natural bridge, are formed from sandstone or limestone that become narrower through time due to erosion. After the softer rock erodes an arch forms with the harder, stronger caprock on top. It is important to note that even though this rock is harder, it continues to erode and will ultimately collapse with time. Do not speed up this natural process by climbing, harming, or removing rocks from any structures found in these types of parks. You may not see the erosion taking place but it is happening. Be respectful!
We stopped at a few iconic places along the way, including the Windows Section. This area contains the North Window, Turret Arch, and Double Arch. Fun fact – the Double Arch is the tallest and second-longest arch in the park at 112 ft! Other beautiful featured areas are the Garden of Eden and Parade of Elephants. We also really enjoyed the Great Wall – a beautiful structure that truly seems like an impenetrable wall of beautiful red sand stone that cuts through the park. The Windows Section includes an easy gravel trail to these iconic beauties and while I could only make it so far, Clinton was able to make it further for photographs.
Balanced Rock is another location to visit if going for a drive through the park, and it is also another iconic feature that stands 128 ft tall and weighs over 3,600 tons. The Entrada Sandstone boulder on top appears to balance or sit on top of a pedestal of Dewey Bridge mudstone. These two rock strata layers are exposed on this feature as an example of an ideal arch formation. As with all of these formations, one day Balanced Rock will no longer “balance”. Erosion consistently takes place and the park is changing every day.
Arches National Park did not enter the park service until April 1929 when newly elected President Herbert Hoover signed a presidential proclamation creating Arches National Monument to protect the arches, spires, balanced rocks, and other sandstone formations for scientific and educational value. It wasn’t until 1971 when President Richard Nixon signed legislation by Congress to change the status of the park to a National Park.
It was magnificent to visit Arches when it was snowing – it opened up a whole new side of the park that we’ve never seen before! If you ever get a chance make sure you put Arches National Park on your trip list when visiting Utah. Moab is a great little town that is easy to navigate and is close by to the park. We hope you continue to #TalleyYourAdventure at the national parks this year!