Photo Essay: Arches National Park

Wow. 

That’s all I could say as we hiked through Arches National Park.

As you probably saw from our previous video, the place was like unlike anything I’d ever seen before. The bridges and arches formed over thousands of years into different rock formations are captivating. Many of the arches are formed as the sandstone falls away from the middle of the rock, leaving a hole that goes through the inner section of the formation.

The park drew us back in a couple of days in a row from our accommodation in Moab, the neighbouring town. We were so in awe of its beauty that we never found the time to make it to Canyonlands, another National Park nearby.

But less writing about it – see my pictures below so you can see for yourself how fascinating these formations are!

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Delicate Arch

Perhaps the most famous arch at Arches National Park is Delicate Arch. Standing more than 20m tall, it is perched on the edge of a cliff which gives spectacular views into a valley and to the white-capped snowy mountains in the distance.

The Windows

North and South Windows at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

The Windows

The North and South Windows are all the more impressive because they sit next to each other, side-by-side. The South Window is on the right and the North is on the left. There’s a short hike you can do that takes you right around the two arches so you can see them on all sides. It’s a popular spot for photographers at sunrise.

Double Arch

Double O Arch at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Double Arch

From a distance you, all you can see is one arch, but as you hike up a small hill it becomes apparent there are two arches, giving this formation the ‘Double’ name.

Faces in the rocks

Faces in the rock at Arches National Park Double Barrelled TravelAs we were hiking around the park I began to see faces in the rock formations, like the one above…

And this one below! Can you see them?

Faces in the rock 2 at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

 Surprise Arch

Surprise Arch in the Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Surprise Arch

A great aspect to Arches National Park is that if you find an arch you can choose the name for it. The only rule is that it can’t be named after a person. Surprise Arch got its name because two rangers were hiking in the Fiery Furnace section of the park and came to a dead end hidden down a narrow gap in the rock. And SURPRISE! This arch was there.

Landscape Arch

Landscape arch at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch used to be a lot thicker on the right hand side but then one afternoon in 1991, a day after a storm, a large section of it came tumbling down. Luckily no one was injured but they’ve now sealed off the area in case it happens again.

Balanced rock

Balanced rock at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Balanced rock

This formation reminds me of an alien’s head – what do you think? Over time a section of this rock has eroded away, leaving the top half balancing on the bottom mass. It’s rather impressive at 37m tall!

Tafoni

Holes in the rocks at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Tafoni

The holes in this sandstone is called ‘Tafoni’. Tafoni is thought to form when there’s heavy rain. The water seeps into the sandstone and then finds the weakest point to escape. This is not necessarily the bottom of the sandstone – sometimes it comes out of the side of the walls forming these circles, otherwise known as Tafoni.

Devil’s Garden

Devils Garden landscape view at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Devil’s Garden

One of the best hikes we did was a 6 hour hike around Devil’s Garden. We saw so many different rock formations that it was probably one of the best hikes we’ve ever done. At one point, we came to a rock that overlooked a valley and I took the above photo with my iPhone.

Trees at Arches National Park

Juniper tree at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Juniper tree

Tree at Arches National Park Double Barrelled TravelI really loved the tree formations at Arches National Park. The Utah Juniper often looks twisted because in order to preserve water it will kill off some of its branches and keep only a part of it alive. I love how the tree above is growing through the fence!

Private Arch

Private arch at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Private Arch

One of my favourite arches is Private Arch. You have to hike over quite a few large boulders to get to it, and it’s off the hiking trail a little, meaning not many people come here. You come around the side of the boulder and it’s in front of you. I love how it’s hidden like that.

Tunnel Arch

Tunnel arch at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Tunnel Arch

Located across from the Windows, don’t forget to hike up to Tunnel Arch if you’re in the area. To me, the arch itself wasn’t as impressive as the other rock formations around it which seem to compliment Tunnel Arch. What do you think?

Double O Arch

Double O Arch at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Double O Arch

Arch at Arches National Park Double Barrelled Travel

Dave standing at the bottom of Double O Arch

You might not think the bottom arch in Double O Arch is all that big… but then you can see Dave standing inside the bottom arch on the second photo and that gives you some perspective!

Have you been to Arches National Park? What did you think?

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

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