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CNHA Arches National Park
Arches National Park

Banner photo by Neal Herbert (National Park Service)

There is a land of standing-up rocks, of petrified dunes, and fins, a land where time itself has become visible. Its folds boast more than 2,500 sandstone spans, sculpted by the elements. Stillness and solitude only add to its otherworldly air. Its seemingly barren recesses shelter life in many forms: wildflowers, reptiles, birds, and rodents, even large mammals like mule deer and bighorn sheep. Traces of human presence can be found in thousand-year-old rock inscriptions and log cabins; but our tenure here seems short-lived compared to the reign of stone. Millions of people know this land as Arches-the crown jewel of Utah's national parks.

While the scenery resembles the set of a film about Mars the names of landmarks could have been lifted straight from Alice in Wonderland. Three Gossips. Ham Rock. The Organ. Fiery Furnace. Marching Men. For those who can read the book of Earth's history each of these eroded features holds a tale. Even people normally unmoved by geology cannot help but wonder. When? How? And ultimately: What is our place in all this?

Wind, rain, and frost keep reshaping this dynamic landscape even today. New arches form while existing ones continue to be whittled away. The twin openings of the North and South Window, which gape in a massive, salmon-colored Entrada sandstone fin, represent young arches, geologically speaking. As erosion continues it will widen these peepholes into the blue yonder. By comparison the 306-foot-long parabola of Landscape Arch is a Methuselah ready to collapse. Few arches, however, rival Delicate Arch in grace. Poised on the rim of a slickrock bowl near the old Wolfe homestead it frames snowy caps in the distant La Sal Mountains. Nature's monumental whim has not only become the icon of canyon country but that of an entire state. It graces Utah license plates and attracts photographers from around the globe.

Tectonic forces have been responsible for creating this sublime corner of the Colorado Plateau. It is our duty to preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations.



More Information
Arches National Park Website
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Self Guided Driving Tour: Arches National Park
Self Guided Driving Tour: Arches National Park

Arches: Where Rock Meets Sky
Arches: Where Rock Meets Sky

Arches National Park Map <br>(Trails IIlustrated series)
Arches National Park Map
(Trails IIlustrated series)


Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Pocket Guide
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Pocket Guide

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