Sunday, September 8, 2013

Arches National Park at Sunset

After a snowy May morning, spent crossing the Rocky Mountains in a rental car with bald tires, Black Cloud and Worse Luck hurried to cross the Colorado-Utah border. Their destination was soon to be the highlight of their cross country trip: The Arches National Park. The park is located 5 miles north of Moab, UT.
 As Black Cloud steered their vehicle closer to the park, it was almost like a sign. The rain stopped and an amazing rainbow could suddenly be seen over the desert. It was the encouragement that Black Cloud and Worse Luck needed after a stressful day of driving.

As you approach the information center the red hue of the landscape and the sandstone walls are striking. A few switchbacks will take you up into the park where there are several options to explore. Hiking here is a once in a lifetime experience, but be warned it is strenuous and hot. The auto touring roads are very scenic and if you are pressed for time they are your best chance to see everything.

Even though this national park is known for its naturally formed elegant sandstone arches, Black Cloud's favorite stop was Park Avenue. The pinnacles and other rock formations are breathtaking.
As the sun began to set, the couple hurried on. The mountains on the horizon, as you round the park road, are the beautiful La Sal Mountains with clouds lofting near their peaks.

For those that want to see the trademark, often photographed, Delicate Arch the road splits and you'll want to take a left after Balanced Rock... Black Cloud and Worse Luck always take the road less traveled and the one that is not filled with tour buses... so they turned right to the Window Arches.

Sunset is definitely the best time to see Arches National Park... which we discovered by accident. Photos don't even begin to convey the beautiful blues and pinks, and how they contrast with the sandstone.
Park Info: The Arches National Park is open from sunrise to sunset which varies depending on the season. The phonenumber for visitors is: (435)-719-2299. There is camping, ranger hikes, and many activities, so check the website!
You can even catch at look at some arches outside of the park. We saw this one, Wilson's Arch, on our trip to Durango the next day.

Roadtripper Wisdom: Don't rely on your cellphone or GPS in this area, they may function on the highway, but if you venture down side-roads you'll be out of luck. It is notoriously hot in this climate and that means that dehydration is a real threat. Carry lots of water. Wear your sunscreen and all that. The actual town of Moab is very touristy. It has some nice hotels and good food, but book in advance because it is always packed! The Canyonlands are nearby and this area has a lot to do, so you may want to spend more than a day if you can.  

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