Arches National Park
Out of a number of national parks around the state that hosts a wide variety of extra-terrestrial looking landscapes, Arches National Park definitely holds the first place in terms of the serenity. Gigantic arches reminiscing different shapes and sizes, red rocks bejeweling the foreground and background with no trace of greenery in the horizon.
A park full of arch like structures with the center eroded making it see through! Natural wonders are abundant like McDonalds stores in this area, only that the flavors and taste differ so significantly. We drove through the park first just to scale the area and to prioritize our hikes. This is a popular park and a lot of visitors actually stay overnight camping. We heard that the starry nights are fascinating because of the lack of air and light pollution.
There are tens and thousands of arches of various kinds here. The popular and our favorite ones are – Delicate arch, Double arch, Window/ventana arch, and Turret arch. The
geology behind the formation of the arches is intriguing. Million years ago, this land was under the sea indicated by the discovery of fossils of oceanic creatures, mollusks, shells. Once the seas receded, the large basin covered with thick salt beds was covered in turn
with large rocks carried in by the streams and rivers. The salt levels being lighter, pushes up the rock layer to create higher rock formations from the valleys. After groundwater dissolved the salt layer, the top layer collapsed into wall like structures. After 100-150 million years’ of weathering, these tall wall like structures took shape of these arches which are made of soft red sandstone. These arches are not permanent structures; new arches are being formed every day while old ones collapse.
The hike to the Delicate arch is a strenuous one, but extremely rewarding. The other arches have their own charm with various structural intricacies, and variation of grandeur. One can easily spend a week here just soaking in the charm of the delicate natural wonders. Find out more about the park from the National Park Services.