Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ring Arch Trail

The Ring Arch is visible from the main Arches National Park Road, with binoculars, from the pull over area on the north side of the Courthouse Wash bridge. The arch is to the west and slightly south about 1.5 miles away.The trail going that way is in the sandy Courthouse Wash. Down in the wash the banks are deep and steep and the view to where you are headed is obscured.

A side wash comes in from the left after about a mile and the trail to Ring Arch goes that way, but there isn't a sign so you have to watch for it. The trail up Court House Wash continues past the unmarked Ring Arch turnoff.
It is possible to climb up and get under the arch but look carefully for the right spot to climb. I only saw one feasible place to scramble up.

Looking up at the blue sky angle, it looks like during heavy rain this arch would get a spectacular flow of water funneled through it.

The view from the arch back toward the main road shows some of the panorama that is Arches. I spent about 1:45 on this 3 mile round trip. It was somewhat exhausting hiking due to all the sand.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Tree Arch Trail

Christmas Tree Arch is located in the Windows Section of Arches National Park in southeast Utah. It is vaguely visible along the short trail to Double Arch to the right, past the formation that looks like the Sphinx. The Park has a sign at that point telling visitors that there isn't a trail going over to it from Double Arch.

From the west side of the North and South Windows parking area there is a route along a small wash and between some rock fins that leads to the back side of Christmas Tree Arch.

From the Windows Primitive trail you can see between these fins. The path I walked is connected to the Windows Primitive Trail by an obscure trail junction. Going this way I didn't see any "This is not a trail signs."
There is a little climbing but it's not too hard to get between the fins, and then get up under the arch and look through back toward the Double Arch area. From there, the Sphinx like formation is visible and there is a minor arch up to the right looking through the opening.

Looking the other way from Christmas Tree Arch, a drainage allows the hike to continue and the view to the north is toward the Delicate Arch area. There is another arch, Ribbon Arch, down the drainage and to the left around the corner.
I thought that I scanned carefully but somehow missed Ribbon Arch, unless it is here and I'm not seeing it. I see some alcoves and almost arches, but I didn't go up closer. Ribbon Arch is supposed to be a thin strip near the top of the cliffs. I hiked in this area for about 1:30 hours.