US Road Trip report #8 – Arches park

Our final and possibly our all time favourite park was Arches, in Moab  (although with so much to do and see in every park its almost impossible to pick a favourite – and ask me to tomorrow and i’ll no doubt change my mind).

Our tight as ever schedule meant we had morning travel from Zion through incredible desert and prehistoric lake basins landscape along those long , straight US highways that seem to stretch forever to that cliched vanishing point.

Settling into our driving rhythm, soundtrack playing , the nagging feeling we were nearing the end of our incredible journey we were stilled awed and surprised by the stunning and unique red and yellow rock sculptures to all sides.

Arriving in Arches around lunchtime we dropped our bags at our hotel and then headed into the park to explore and scope out the main focus of the next morning we knew we had before having to head Northeast and “home” to Denver for the very tail of our trip.

Like every US park the infrastructure is superb, a lovely welcome at the gate and visitor and interpretation centre near the entrance to give you some education and sense of what you were heading into.

Arches park with over 2000 arch structures as well as hundreds of rick spires runs  roughly North North West from the park entrance and surrounds a key roadway (Arches Scenic Drive ) but with 1 or two off roads to access other rock formations. Its stunning geology is the product of 65 millions of forces and erosion. Sandstone in nature , what you see today was at one time 1000 feet down and formed a sea bed. The various geological forces warped and bent the rock to start to form what you see today but click here to find out more from the official website . Once exposed wide began to carve at it and formed the arches and spires over time.

As always photos do a much better job than words so ill let the park speak for itself.  The first set are from our afternoon into the beautiful sunset and then the second set are a dawn hike up to see Delicate Arch . I hope you enjoy, picture just don’t do it justice!

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The park is also renowned for its incredible night skies but sadly the moon was so bright that we literally couldn’t see stars despite a good wait , we will be back !

After a chilled meal in  Moab we got an early night to get up early , get our hiking boots on and head back into the park for a sunrise hike up the most famous of the monuments – Delicate Arch

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A reminder to anyone visiting these fragile structures – don’t touch! Don’t climb! leave well alone. Thousands of tourists climbing all over these is NOT GOOD! 🙂

After just sitting and taking all of it in for some time we reluctantly started to head back down…. really feeling our epic journey was closing , sad but feeling very lucky to have experienced such an amazing trip and knowing there was still so much more of the world still to see.

The final stop on our return hike was at some tribal petroglyphs (stone art) from the (one time) local Ute tribe . These were a really important reminder that what is now a national park was one the vast lands of many tribes and we were walking in their footsteps. I can only begin to imagine the sense of wonder and magic that these areas must have given these people who lived off of and revered the land in ways we have sadly lost today. They have all of my respect and a lot of my jealousy for what we will never experience.

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