Arches NP

About half way between Colorado and Nevada on I-70, if you take the turnoff to Moab, Utah, you will eventually  arrive at Arches National Park. This is a very busy place, especially in the summer months, so the sooner you get there the better. Wait time to get into the Park can be lengthy so allow extra time. In addition, there are no services inside the park, so be sure you have gas, plenty of water and some snacks with you.

If you watch much TV, you will already be familiar with some of the sights in the park; most usually seen in adds for RVs and other vehicles used in the wild lands. Wherever you look there are enormous pillars of solid rock erupting from the desert floor straight up to the sky. Gigantic plateaus with shear vertical sides loom large next to the roadway and in the distance. Looking at these formations you realize that the only route to the top is to be a bird and fly or learn rock climbing.

The road runs through the Park, passing points of interest and has turnout for the most popular. Driving from one location to the next you anticipate seeing your first arch for which the Park is named. It will be a long wait, especially if you have mobility issues. As shown on the Park map, the ADA facilities in the park are quite limited; those few trails that are designated as ADA compliant were closed for construction during our visit.

The photo above shows the Windows trail (photo from the Arches Web Site) which is listed as compliant; but only for the first 100 yards. After the first 100 yards it is said to have some rough surfaces and steep inclines. It is the only ADA trail listed by the National Park Service, and was closed at the time we were there.

Of all the arches in the Park, the only one that we, or anyone else with mobility issues could see, was at the far end of the road at Sand Dune Arch.

From the standpoint of seeing the arches, we were very disappointed that practically all of the them are inaccessible to those of us with mobility issues.

Having said that, I would still recommend at least a day trip to this Park. The other geological features, although not arches, are just as impressive.

Hoodoo geology is also sometimes referred to as Gobblin in this part of the world. It is rock that because of erosion due to water, wind, rain and other factors produce pillars of as little as 10 feet and up to over 100 feet in height.

Often, the pillars will be topped with huge boulders that seem to be on the verge of toppling. Others like the Three Gossips are formed on top of a seemingly solid platform.

 

Many of these images would have been much better had the Park hours been different. Due to construction, the park closed at 7pm and reopened at 7am. Because of this restriction, and because we were not camping in the Park, the “golden hours“ were lost to the brilliant cloudless skies.

 

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