Arches National Park
Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations. In some areas, faulting has exposed millions of years of geologic history. The extraordinary features of the park, including balanced rocks, fins and pinnacles, are highlighted by a striking environment of contrasting colors, landforms and textures. Rocks have attracted visitors to Arches National Park for thousands of years. However, sightseeing has not been the main activity for very long. Hunter-gatherers migrated into the area about 10,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age. As they explored Courthouse Wash and other areas in what is now Arches, they found pockets of rock perfect for making stone tools. The forces of nature have acted in concert to create the landscape of Arches, which contains the greatest density of natural arches in the world. Throughout the park, rock layers reveal millions of years of deposition, erosion and other geologic events. These layers continue to shape life in Arches today, as their erosion influences elemental features like soil chemistry and where water flows when it rains.
Arches offers great opportunities for both road and mountain biking. Though there are no bike lanes and traffic can be heavy at times, biking the scenic drive is a great way to see the park. The Salt Valley and Willow Springs roads are less traveled but are more suited to mountain bikes due to washboards, deep sand and other obstacles. Bicycles are only permitted on roads: there is no single track or trail riding in the park. When biking on the main road, please use caution and ride single file on the edge of the lane.
The road system in Arches passes many outstanding natural features. Ts the popularity of Arches has increased, people have begun to park in areas that damage plants and sometimes endanger other visitors. Please park in established lots only. Generally, parking spaces are easier to find before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Ask at a visitor center for suggested driving itineraries.
The Devils Garden Campground is located 18 miles from the park entrance and is open year-round. Facilities include potable water, picnic tables, grills, as well as both pit-style and flush toilets. There are no showers. Bring your own wood or charcoal for the grills. Some sites will accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length. Group sites may be reserved in advance.
The rock at Arches offers excellent climbing opportunities, despite its sandy nature. Most climbing routes in the park require advanced techniques. Permits are not required, unless the trip involves an overnight stay in the backcountry. Climbers are encouraged to access climbing routes via established trails, slickrock or sandy washes. Some closures and restrictions may apply.
Arches contains a wealth of hiking trails. Ranging in length and difficulty, these trails provide access to outstanding viewpoints and many of the park's famous features, including Balanced Rock and Delicate Arch. In many cases, trails travel under arches, affording quite a different perspective than what is visible from a car. Rangers lead walks into the Fiery Furnace twice each day for a fee.
Picnic areas are located throughout the park.
Though the natural quiet of Arches often creates the impression of lifelessness, many animals, including bighorn sheep, call the park home. Birds, lizards and some rodents are seen most frequently, though seasons and weather play a large role in determining what animals are active. Arches is home to mule deer, coyotes, porcupines, desert cottontails, black-tailed jackrabbits, and many songbirds. Nocturnal animals in the park include kangaroo rats, woodrats (also called packrats), and most other small desert rodents, skunks, ringtails, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, bats and owls.
Summer temperatures (June through September) may exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Winter temperatures (December through February) often drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures may range 50 degrees in a 24-hour period.
Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA) is a nonprofit organization assisting the National Park Service in its educational, interpretive and scientific programs throughout southeast Utah. CNHA's goals include enhancing visitors' understanding and appreciation of public lands by providing a selection of quality, educational materials for sale in many vistor centers. Twenty percent of these sales is returned to the National Park Service and other federal land management agencies. To learn more, shop online or become a member, visit www.cnha.org. Staff are also available by phone during normal business hours at (435) 259-6003.(435) 259-6003
The entrance to Arches is located 5 miles north of Moab along Highway 191. Greyhound travels along Interstate 70, making stops at Grand Junction, CO and Green River, UT. Commercial van services operate between Moab and Salt Lake City as well as Grand Junction.
Commercial airlines serve Grand Junction, CO and Salt Lake City, UT. By car, these cities are roughly 2 and 4 hours (respectively) away from the park entrance.
Greyhound bus travels along Interstate 70, making stops at Grand Junction, CO and Green River, UT. Amtrak stops at Grand Junction, CO and Green River, UT. Commercial van services operate between Moab and Salt Lake City as well as Grand Junction. There is no public transportation directly into the park.