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Sites and Attractions in Arches National Park

Updated on July 10, 2011

Utah's World Famous Sandstone Formations in Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located right outside Moab, Utah, and actively preserves over 2,000 beautiful sandstone arches, like world famous Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch, as well as the strange rock formations like Balanced Rock and the gigantic Courthouse Towers. Read on to find a list of these ancient natural arches and formations, along with photographs and information about them.

Photo top left by Gleb Tarro filed under Creative Commons Attribute 2.0.

Petroglyphs in Arches, near Delicate Arch.

Photo by ginsnob on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Arches is listed in the book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and with good reason. The magnificent sandstone arches aren't collected in this small area just by coincidence. The salt layer underneath all of the sandstone in Arches pushed upward around 300 million years ago, causing the sandstone crack, and eventually erode. Some of those cracks eroded into the arches that are left today.

The Courthouse area of Arches.

Photo by Paraflyer on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

The park has a small collection of Native American petroglyphs to compliment the amazing scenery. Each of the arches in the park can be reached via a short hike, or long hike in some instances. Loop trails will provide views of several arches, while others are easily seen right from the scenic drive. You'll see the most arches if you plan a hike or two in the park. Hiking is best reserved for the early morning or late afternoon, when the sunlight best compliments the sandstone.

Plan Out Your Trip to Arches with These Highly Rated Books! - A trip to Moab needs a lot of planning..

Do you know where you're going to be camping or hiking? Which trails are the best in Arches? Are you aware of some of the desert photography tips? Are you taking advantage of the other National Parks nearby? Do you know what permits you need to get when hiking and climbing? These are questions that can be answered in a trusty guide like the ones below from Amazon.

Scenic Driving in Utah, Volume Two - The well reviewed book about southern Utah roadside sightseeing

Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion and Capitol Reef.. that's what is covered in this incredible guide to scenic driving in Utah. Along with driving, you'll see some amazing color photographs, recommendations on where to go, what to do, and what not to miss. This is one of the best guides out there for southern Utah by far.

Scenic Driving Utah, 2nd (Scenic Driving Series)
Scenic Driving Utah, 2nd (Scenic Driving Series)

From the lush alpine terrain of the Uinta and Wasatch Mountains to the fantastic rock formations of Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, and Bryce Canyon National Parks, discover Utah's treasures. This guide features twenty-eight drives that highlight the natural and cultural history of the land of the Great Salt Lake.


Broken Arch

In the Fiery Furnace area, near Sand Dune Arch

Broken Arch lies in the Fiery Furnace area of the park. Named because of the crack that runs down the center of the arch, it looks structurally sound for now. This arch is best photographed during the early morning hours, when the reds, oranges, and browns of the sandstone look their most colorful.

Sand Dune Arch is an easy 0.4 mile roundtrip hike in a slot canyon of sorts. From the same trail, you can also access Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch.

The ground surrounding the arch is made of fine pinkish sand, making an enjoyable departure from the rest of the wide open park.

A Video Tour of Arches - Photo's by award winning photographers, Dale and Connie Carey

Ring Arch is located near the Courthouse Towers area and is only viewable by hiking to the area. You're unlikely to see much of a crowd flocking to this arch. The formation is on a giant piece of rock sandstone, and is an easy 1 hour hike.

Photo by Equanimity on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

2,000 + Arches Strong

The park contains over 2,000 ancient natural sandstone arches. The more hiking you do, the more arches you'll be able to see.

Have you been to Arches National Park?

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Arches Book: Where Rock Meets Sky - A pictorial book on Arches

It's all about the photos! "Where Rocks Meets Sky"

Arches National Park: Where Rock Meets Sky (A 10x13 Book©)
Arches National Park: Where Rock Meets Sky (A 10x13 Book©)

Award-winning author Nicky Leach began visiting Utah's national parks more than 20 years ago and is constantly pulled back by the region's remarkable blend of natural beauty and human history. Born in England and trained as an educator, Nicky uses her writing to both educate and inspire people to connect more deeply with nature in their daily lives. Her many books on national parks include Sierra Press guides to Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, and Olympic National Parks, as well as Columbia River Gorge National Recreation Area. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


A Road Trip in Arches National Park

More Destinations in the Grand Circle

Visit more of America's southwest

Read more about the best road trip destinations in the United States at Road Roamer today!

Bryce Canyon National ParkBryce Canyon is located in the southwestern portion of Utah, and is home to the famous red and white hoodoos spire formations, with remarkable hiking trails and scenic opportunities.

Capitol Reef National ParkA 70 mile wrinkle in the earth's crust resulted in the massive Capitol Reef area and National Park. Giant sandstone domes line the tops of this beautiful Utah plateau.

Canyonlands National ParkWind and water carved stone resulted in the area near Arches known as Canyonlands. The area boasts impressive, wide canyons, unique desert wildlife, and unmatched hiking.

Zion National ParkThe majestic Zion region has been eroded over time by the Virgin River, which slims down to the challenging hiking area of the Narrows.

Mesa Verde National ParkRemnants of a long lost culture can be found in the Colorado ruins of Mesa Verde National Park. Visit to gaze upon the incredible Puebloan Cliff Palace and ancient petroglyphs.

Monument ValleyDeep in the four corners region of the southwest is the often filmed Monument Valley reservation area. Now under the rule of the Navajo tribe, the area is open for touring, hiking and photography.

Arches National ParkSee the most natural sandstone arches anywhere in the world in Arches National Park of Moab, Utah. Erosion has left thousands of these unique stone structures standing in the park.

Black Canyon of the GunnisonDeep, black canyons leave a lasting impression in Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison, with an impressive 2700 foot drop over into the Gunnison River.

Great Basin National ParkGreat Basin National Park contains the beautiful underground Lehman's Cave, and the mammoth peak of Mount Wheeler. Hike the area from its 13,000 feet peak, to beneath the earth's surface.

The Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, with an unforgettable hiking, photography, and road trip experience.

Thanks for Visiting!

Have You Been to Arches National Park? - Tell us about your experience in the park here!

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    • Kiwisoutback profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      @Pat Goltz: The National Parks Pass saved us a lot of money on our trip. It was worth every penny. The hotels in Moab compared to the rest of the country were pretty affordable, but it all adds up. Hope you get to see it someday.

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 

      5 years ago

      I had hoped to get to Arches. I went to Canyonlands, and finished about as late in the day as you can get away with, and spent the night in Moab, but I didn't have the money to stay longer, so I had to go home without seeing Arches. I hope to go back when I have more money.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      6 years ago

      Lovely photos. It is on my must see list when I get to the US. I have just written a book review about Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey which is all about his experiences working as a park ranger at Arches National Park.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Loved Arches, it's a great park!

    • LDWorld profile image


      7 years ago

      Thank you for great info, taking my family there next year.

    • Bella Stella profile image

      Bella Stella 

      7 years ago

      This is an interesting lens especially as far as the topic you have picked is concerned. I had never heard about this park and now I really want to visit it in the future! Great job! Thank you for letting us knowâ¦

      I am currently trying to complete a project with the museums of Greece. I would appreciate it if you stopped there for a while leaving your opinion comments and it would be very important for me if you liked it. Here is my lens .

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love that photo of the moon through Delicate Arch. I did not stay out there that late, but did see an amazing sunset up there.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow! Beautiful lens! I've been there when I was about ten years old. My parents took my oldest daughter on a trip out west last summer for a graduation present. She had her picture taken at the windows section, the same place I had my picture taken when I was ten! Both pictures now sit side by side in my moms scrap book!

    • purplesheep lm profile image

      purplesheep lm 

      9 years ago

      It takes a long time to scroll all the way down here!! Stunning pictures.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Your lenses are always so beautiful. Such an easy read and enjoyable read. Each picture was more breathtaking than the last. Incredible!


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