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Arches National Park in Utah - Natural Landscape Wonder near Moab

Updated on July 31, 2017
Peggy W profile image

Utah is a fantastic state filled with natural wonders including many beautiful state and national parks. We loved vacationing there!

Double arch
Double arch | Source

Greatest Density of Arches seen in the World!

Moab, Utah is the gateway to both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. It became our home away from home for the time that my mother, niece and I explored that part of the country. Natural wonders awaited our discovery.

Moab sits at an elevation of 4,025 feet and is situated on the Colorado River with the LaSal Mountains at it's feet.

Interestingly Moab gets it's name from the Bible which refers to it as being an isolated place. Isolated it probably was for many years! There is evidence of native Indians being there in earlier times and they have left some evidence of their existence by leaving pictographs and petroglyphs behind.


This area now called Arches National Park was officially settled by homesteaders in 1879.

The discovery of uranium and oil and potash brought more development to the area.

What makes the town of Moab popular today is tourism as well as the making of films because of it's proximity to the national parks.

We choose to stay at the Cedar Breaks Condo in Moab. It was a fully furnished 2 bedroom condo with food for breakfast provided. We could prepare our own breakfasts each morning and enjoy hot coffee while still in our pajamas and planning our day. Nice!

We had dinner the first night at Eddie McStiff's Brew Pub & Restaurant. It is Moab's oldest legal brewery. We enjoyed some delicious pizza, pastas and salads.

The next day our goal was to see as much of the park as we could.

Moab is a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah.
Moab is a city in Grand County, in eastern Utah. | Source

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located in high desert country and very little water hits the fact, less than 10 inches a year on average. The temperatures can soar well over 100 degrees in the shade of the summer!

From freezing temperatures and blizzard-like conditions in the winter to blistering 150 degree temperatures in the summer, this rocky desert supports only the heartiest of plant life and insects and animals who know how to cope with those disparate temperatures and living conditions.

Scraggly pinon and juniper trees seem to predominate. Other vegetation also grows in sandy areas actually serving to hold some of the shifting sands in place and also offers to provide some shade and sustenance to insects and small rodents and other creatures that reside or pass through here.

We actually saw some deer cross our path while on one of the trails to view some of the arches. One moment they were there, and the next, they had disappeared into the rocky landscape almost as apparitions.

My niece walking on a trail in Arches National Park.
My niece walking on a trail in Arches National Park. | Source

Early Settlers

The history of this park is interesting. It is located in the southeastern red rock country of Utah. The Colorado River borders some of the park and there is a remnant of the Old Spanish Trail.

An early settler named John Wesley Wolfe tried operating a small cattle operation there but only stayed for about 20 years before vacating. His original cabin is no longer there but another one that he had built still stands in the park today. It was a hard way to earn a living in this extremely rugged country.

My niece standing under the Sand Dune Arch in Arches National Park
My niece standing under the Sand Dune Arch in Arches National Park | Source

Arches sits atop an ancient salt bed.

It was deposited over millions of years when a sea flowed into the area and, just like in Salt Lake, it eventually evaporated and disappeared. During this time, much residue was deposited on top of this salt and finally compressed into rock.

Salt under all this pressure of rock became liquefied and shifted and the earth was thrust upwards creating domes, faults and valleys.

Erosion over millions of years has created and is continuing to create what we view today.

Partition Arch in Arches National Park
Partition Arch in Arches National Park | Source

Streams of water swept debris into the Colorado River and took the younger rocks which were on top with it. Exposed are the older Entrada Sandstone layers. Water and ice have altered this landscape over time in slow but ever progressing fashion.

Water, whether in the form of rain, snow or ice is slightly acidic. It slowly dissolves the calcium in the Entrada Sandstone.

Water also expands as it freezes and becomes ice and bits of sandstone are chipped away from existing formations creating the arches and other rock structures seen in this area. This is a continuing process and the arches viewed today may not be there tomorrow.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park
Delicate Arch in Arches National Park | Source

All of this geologic and corrosive action has created the sights viewed in Arches National Park.

It has the greatest concentration of natural arches that can be viewed in a relatively small area in the entire world.

Composed of 114 square miles, Arches became a National Park in 1971 when President Richard Nixon signed this into law.

Herbert Hoover first started the process by making it into a National Monument in 1929.

The world can now benefit from the foresight of these and intervening Presidents by their safeguarding these lands for future generations.

Double O Arch in Arches National Park
Double O Arch in Arches National Park | Source

We enjoyed hiking to many of these arches. The trails can be rocky with one needing to scramble over rocks to continue on the path; others are quite sandy and since we were there in the summer, it was definitely HOT!

One needs good walking shoes. It is also a smart precaution to wear protective clothing or sunscreen and carry lots of water.

The three of us only allotted one day to view this park. Obviously one could spend much more time and there are many back country trails where one can take 4 wheel drive vehicles and also do some extensive hiking.

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch is the longest natural stone arch in the world. It has a span of 291 feet. It is a 0.8 mile one way hike to get back to see it from the paved road but well worth the effort! Someday it will come crashing down to the ground and will no longer retain that status.

Landscape Arch in Arches National Park
Landscape Arch in Arches National Park | Source

We saw what we could from the road and also took several of the trails to see some of the other arches.

If you get a chance to visit this part of Utah and enjoy national parks as much as I do, then put Moab down as a great place to make your headquarters. Strike out and explore Arches for a day or more of sightseeing, hiking, taking pictures or just enjoying natural wonders of nature.

Where Arches National Park is located...

© 2008 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Shyron,

      Arches National Park is a gem as are the other 4 national parks in Utah. If you ever get a chance to visit there again, I would highly recommend seeing them. Thanks for the votes, pin and share. We certainly do have a beautiful country! :))

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago from Texas

      Wow, I would loved to have visited this place. Love the Junipers I guess they can grow just about anywhere. We have the most beautiful country in the world.

      Thank you for showing parts of it. We were in Utah but I don't remember seeing the arches.

      Voted up UABI shared and pinned to Amazing HP and shared.



    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Homeplace Series,

      We visited all 5 national parks and some of the state parks as well in Utah one year on vacation. Capital Reef is a spectacular park. Loved it! Actually I loved visiting all of them and they each have their own distinctive character as well as some similarities. Appreciate your comment.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for bringing this fine park to our attention. My daughter lives a bit to the southwest, in Wayne County, near the entrance to Capital Reef National Park, another fine Utah park. So happy to read this neat hub! ;-)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Phyllis,

      So very glad you enjoyed these photos taken in Arches National Park. As you so nicely stated "The beauty and mystery of Nature is profound." Thanks for the share.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Peggy. I read this hub early this morning and forgot to leave a comment. I was so amazed with the photos and the information you provided. Going back to see the photos again is why I forgot to comment. Voted up, across and sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Jackie,

      So happy to be able to show these photos and share some of our experiences there in the beautiful Arches National Park. I appreciate your comment and the share!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 3 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Awesome photos and a great hub. The beauty and mystery of Nature is profound. I so enjoyed this hub, Peggy.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Breathtaking beauty! Will never be out that way so appreciate getting to live it and see it through you; thanks. Up and shared.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi moonlake,

      Utah is a spectacular state to visit and spend some time vacationing. So much of it is public lands be it either national parks, state parks or other reserves. Glad you liked this. Thanks for the share.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      Utah must be a beautiful state. My cousin is always putting photos on that she takes and they are so beautiful. I haven't been there, but enjoyed your hub. Voted up and shared.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Thanks for the pin on your travel board. Fortunately I did not spot any scorpions when we were there. Of course I was not looking for them either. We really enjoyed our visit there. Wish I could have seen it a number of times like you got to do. I would love to do more hiking there.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      Visited this place several times -- every time relatives came to visit us when we lived in Grand Junction. It was just over the border and always interesting to see. They have some pretty good sized scorpions there too.

      Pinned this to my travel board with a different picture this time. I think my travel board is even more popular than my purple boards. I should really call it my Peggy Wood board. :) Shared also.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      You are fortunate that you have been able to visit Arches National Park many different times. We loved what we got to see of it on our one day tour of the vast park. You have undoubtedly seen much more of it. Thanks for the votes and shares.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      This used to be just a little way over the border from where I lived in Grand Junction Co. Have been here many times. Every visitor who came to see us got to see these scenic and interesting places. Spectacular photos as always, and packed with information. Voted up, BAUI, gave you another 5 stars, pinned this article to my 'Travel' board and will share!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello anglnwu,

      Nice that you have personally experienced visiting Arches National Park. I agree that it is nice to experience the shade of the arches especially if it is in the heat of the summer months. Thanks for your comment and vote up.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 5 years ago

      I was there a while back and I've to agree--it is spectacular and awe-inspiring. I love the rock formation and I marvel at how cool it is under the arches. Great hub and detailed information. Rated up.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Rajan,

      We really enjoyed doing a bit of hiking in Arches National Park. It is a beautiful place and anyone liking natural landscapes...such as you...would surely enjoy it. Nice to know that you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for the votes and share.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Such natural beauty, the pictures speak for themselves. I loved reading the history and have always have had a fascination for natural landscapes.

      Voted up, awesome and interesting. Shared as well.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi vespawoolf,

      We actually stayed in a furnished condo where we could have breakfast in our pajamas each morning. That was nice! Perhaps someday you will follow in your father-in-law's footsteps and get to see Arches National Park for yourself. Am certain that you would love it. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Deborah,

      Seeing Arches National Park from the air would give one an overview of its size and would be interesting to see the stone arches from that perspective. You would also have probably viewed Canyonlands National Park since they are so close to one another. Thanks for letting me know that you appreciated the photos and information in this hub.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      What beautiful desert scenery! My father-in-law visited and also enjoyed himself immensely. I'm all for the Italian restaurant and hotel that serves breakfast so you can talk about the day's plans in your pj's. : ) Another great Hub!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      I've always wanted to visit this park but the closest I've come is seeing it from a plane on the way home from Vegas. (We had a great pilot who pointed out all the landmarks below.) Thanks for taking me there with this informative hub and the wonderful photos.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Eddy,

      Thanks for journeying with me back to Arches National Park. It is quite a place as you could see from my photos. Thanks for your comment.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      You are a brilliant travel guide Peggy and I have learnt so much from you, please keep them coming.


    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Au fait,

      How lucky you were to be living so close to Arches National Park! Since you have been there many times with guests, you have probably seen even more of the park than these photos show. It surely does have great hiking paths! Thanks for your comment, votes and the share.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 5 years ago from North Texas

      A fantastic hub with superb pictures and videos! I've been to Arches National Park many times. It was about an hour's drive from where I lived in Colorado and whenever guests would visit, Arches National Park was one of the tours we always took them on. Great scenery and hiking trails.

      Voted you up, beautiful, and awesome! Will share.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Alicia,

      If you ever decide to travel to Utah to see Arches National Park, you will want to see Canyonlands National Park also since they are close to one another. We were there in the summer but it would be cooler at other times of the year. It is so well worth a visit! In fact all 5 national parks and other state parks that we visited in Utah were each and every one of them unique and interesting. To think that rocky places could be so different and each have a character of their own is hard to fathom before seeing them in person. Thanks for your comment.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The photos in this hub are fascinating and beautiful, Peggy! What an awesome park this must be. I would love to visit it, even though I don't like traveling through hot areas. It would be worth putting up with some discomfort to explore Arches National Park!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Don,

      As they is in the eye of the beholder. We enjoyed seeing Arches National Park as well as the other national and some of the state parks in Utah. Great place to see much undisturbed natural beauty! Thanks for your comment and votes.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Desert climates have a beauty of there own, although first look is not always this up,beautiful and interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi jaclin,

      I would agree...spend AT LEAST that much time there. With 5 national parks and a multitude of state parks that entire state of Utah has so much in the way of public land to see and enjoy that you will come away with an overview in that length of time.

      For people who want to spend more time in each area hiking, for instance, that is not nearly enough time. My mother could do some walking but could not do extended hikes. I actually walked a bit further in Arches National Park and saw a bit more but again, not nearly what serious hikers would have seen.

      Each national park is so very different from every other one. You would think that once you have seen rock formations, they would all begin to look alike. Wrong! Each park has a distinct look and flavor.

      Hope you get to spend time like you would like in Utah. We did not even get to see everything...but did our best in the time alloted! :-)

    • profile image

      jaclin 7 years ago

      another very interesting hub... thank you for all that you put into them - I actually find your hubs, with so much information, really exciting in terms of looking at the various books recommended, the various you tube links that you put on... all add to the overall experience... I have discovered that before planning our next holiday I need to explore hubs... as the advice and information is just fantastic... Utah was not on our route for our 2010 road trip - but everyone that we know that has been to Utah suggest at least two weeks in the region to explore all the wonderful national parks... so it is on the route for our next road trip... hopefully in 2012...

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi again SEM Pro,

      Will have to look for your hub with those plants mentioned. Personally I think that all plants pretty much reduce stress. Gardening and enjoying nature, in general, does that. Don't you agree? What is the name of your hub with those adaptable plants?

    • SEM Pro profile image

      SEM Pro 8 years ago from North America

      The plants (have on one of hubs) are so adaptable, they help us adapt and decrease our stress levels dramatically! Great stuff - there's a networking company that makes a juice of a few of them together. It's called "Tunguska Blast". I'm still looking for another place to get the plants themselves.

      Comments were very true - deeper than flattery :) Thanks again and for visiting my latest "dream come true" lol

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello SEM Pro,

      That is very interesting what you have added...the harvesting of plants that can adapt to living in other places.

      Wow! A houseboat on Lake Havasu...something that I would love to experience sometime. Have you written a hub about that? Would be great to read.

      Thanks for you flattering comments.

    • SEM Pro profile image

      SEM Pro 8 years ago from North America

      WOW Peggy - this is an incredible hub!!! The research you put into it, explaining it all so well, added so much to the already spectacular scenery! Well done - great share - THOROUGHLY APPRECIATE IT!!!

      There are plants now from the Siberian Desert that they are harvesting as "adaptogens" - phenominal natural capabilities for withstanding such brutal extremes.

      I have explored the Anza Borega desert and rented a houseboat to meander through Lake Havasu in awe - but it was HOT! Then, as soon as the sun went down, the temp dropped over 20 degrees almost instantly.

      Again, thank you for sharing and your research and great pics!!!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello loveroflife,

      Thanks for being the first to comment on Arches National Park. Moab, Utah is conveniently located between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and we got to see them both. Hope you have seen them or get to see them someday. Truly "spectacular!"