An arch is a natural formation where a rock arch forms, with a natural passageway through underneath. The opening must measure at least three feet to be cataloged as an arch. Arches National Park contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches, with more than 2,000 of these, ranging from three feet to 306 feet.
In addition to the arches, the park also contains colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, towering spires, and abstract pinnacles and pedestals. It is virtually a wonderland of stone, all beautifully cinnamon tinted.
A little farther down the road is Courthouse Towers, with Tower of Babel, Sheep Rock and the Three Gossips. As we gazed at Courthouse Towers, we realized there were people on the top, and with the aid of binoculars, were able to watch them rappel down the sheer side.
And then there are the arches that give the park it’s name. Several of the arches have been labeled. We climbed to the North Window in the Windows Section.
as is the formation, Parade of Elephants.
Perhaps the world’s most famous arch is Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch has become a Utah icon, and has been featured for years on the Utah License Plate and once adorned a Postage Stamp. In 2002 the Olympic Torch relay passed through the arch.
Delicate Arch can be seen from several different viewpoints. To actually get to the arch requires a 3 mile strenuous hike. As we had hiked quite a bit before getting to that area, we decided we were getting too fatigued to make a hike of that length, so we chose the half mile hike to a viewpoint across a ravine from the arch. It was rather warm, and as we made the half mile hike, we were glad we had chosen it rather than the 3 mile. The view of the arch was great.
Hoyt and Bernice used the opportunity to rest before starting down.
We were amazed at how much time we had spent along the 18 mile scenic drive through the park. There were many arches we never got to see, but that gives us a reason to return.