Friday, September 18, 2015

Arches National Park (Part 2), 9/16/2015

Our second day in Moab marked our second visit to Arches. The park is located just a few miles from the RV park where we are staying. We picked up the scenic drive north of Balanced Rock.  

Our first stop today was Panorama Point

Taking the road to the right towards Wolfe Ranch, we learned that the road to the Delicate Arch Overlook is still closed due to debris on the road caused by recent rains. In the late 1800s, John Wesley Wolfe settled here with his oldest son Fred, on 100 acres where there was water and grasslands for cattle. A one-room cabin, corral, and root cellar can be seen here where they lived in very primitive conditions. In 1910, they abandoned the ranch and returned to their home state of Ohio.

Near the cabin is Salt Wash where the Wolfes built a small dam. We also saw these lizards on the rocks near the water.

A short trail from the cabin takes you to a rock panel of Ute petroglyphs. They represent a horse and rider surrounded by bighorn sheep and dog-like animals.  Very cool.

Salt Water Overlook. It is only a short walk to this fantastic view.

Fiery Furnace is a maze of shady canyons between towering sandstone walls. The red color in the rocks is caused by iron. The bands of white occur when the iron has been removed by water. Also shown are the many cairns stacked here by visitors. 

Sand Dune Arch was one of our favorite locations. It is an easy .3 mile hike to see it. The arch is located in an area surrounded by fins (vertical sandstone rocks) 

From Sand Dune Arch to Broken Arch is an easy, 1.3 mile trail across open grassland. It was incredibly windy once we reached the arch, which helps to understand how these arches are formed.

A large boulder suddenly fell out of Skyline Arch doubling the size of the opening (now 71' span and 33.5' height). A short .2 mile hike will take you to the bass of Skyline.

Our final stop of the day was at Devils Garden. The Devils Garden Trail is a difficult, 7.2 mile hike. 

We only hiked a portion of it to see first, Tunnel Arch, and then Pine Tree Arch. 

As we were making our way to Pine Tree Arch we saw this Western Gopher snake slithering among the brush of the desert floor. They hunt for small rodents during the day and are not poisonous. He was quite large (5-6')!

We continued our hike to Pine Tree Arch

Part of what is so fascinating about this park is that once you start looking for them, it seems that arches can be seen everywhere!


We have wanted to visit this park since we began RVing. I had really high expectations, but it is truly as beautiful as I have always heard it would be. My photos do not do it justice...there are lots of great ones online, though.

Because the road to Delicate Arch was closed, we will continue to check in at the Visitors Center to see if it has been cleared. Meanwhile, we will be visiting Canyonlands National Park, other National Monuments, and state parks in the area.

For additional information about Arches National Park, see their website.


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