Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Favorite Arch Trails

The Double Arch is one of the most spectacular formations in Arches National Park and is one of the essential arches to see in this area of unusual carved sandstone formations.

Others arch trails not to miss include the Broken Arch Trail, Devils Garden, Tower Arch, Corona Arch and the famous Delicate Arch.

The Windows Section has several large arches with broad views and short trails. The Double Arch was featured in the opening scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The walk to Double Arch is only 0.8 miles but while in the area you’ll also want to visit the North and South Windows, Turret Arch, and a number of the smaller arches that are in the area. If you only have time for a short visit to Arches, the Windows Section is a good sample of what the area offers.
The Broken Arch Trail is an overlooked 1.3 mile loop route that often gets bypassed for the more popular Devils Garden. There are three good arches along this mostly level with Broken Arch easily visible from the trail head. Not mentioned at the trail head or on the park map is the large Tapestry Arch. Between the campground area and Broken Arch there is a side trail over to this hidden surprise.

Most visitors on the Devils Garden Trail stop at the long and slender Landscape Arch, the one featured on the front of the park brochure. After Landscape, the trail becomes more primitive and leads 2.1 miles to Double O Arch. There are side trails leading to several more large arches such as Pine Tree and Partition. Also this trail passes the site of the recently collapsed Wall Arch. After Double O Arch there is the option of returning the way you came or making a loop on the slightly trickier primitive loop.

The Tower Arch Trail is an overlooked hike as it is well off the main park road along the gravel Salt Valley Road. The route to Tower Arch passes through beautiful canyon country and there are several smaller arches to spot along the way. Next to Tower Arch is the small double arch called Parallel Arch.

While Arches Park has a high concentration of arches, there are many more in the surrounding area. One of the most graceful of all arches is Corona Arch at the end of a 1.5 mile trail that is west of Arches NP along Potash Road. There are two other arches to find on this moderate trail.
The most famous of arches is Delicate Arch. Besides the 3 mile round trip and spectacular views, the historic Wolff Ranch can be viewed near the trail head and there is a petroglyph panel along a side trail. Just before Delicate Arch comes into view, look for Frame Arch on the right and scramble up to view Delicate Arch framed by Frame.

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