In May 2005, Rachelle and I took a vacation to Colorado. After riding on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, we made a detour in our travel plans and drove through eastern Utah to visit Arches National Park. This was our second trip to Arches National Park; our first visit was in September 2001.
Arches National Park
The highlight of our previous visit to Arches was hiking out to Delicate Arch. On this trip, we had planned to hike out to Delicate Arch first thing in the morning. But the overcast skies threatened rain, so we decided to spend our time visiting areas of the park we had not explored on our prior visit.
Here’s a view of the cloudy skies with the La Sal Mountains in the background. In the foreground are the Petrified Dunes. This is an inaccurate description since only organic material can be petrified. These rocks were at one time sand dunes which were compressed into these sandstone formations.
I was surprised by how much color the desert had. More color seemed to be present this trip than I recalled from our previous visit. I shouldn’t have been too surprised–it was springtime after all. Here’s one of the wildflowers in bloom we passed on our hike.
Next, we decided to take another short hike to Sand Dune Arch. The trail goes between some of the many rock fins which can be seen throughout the park. The presence of the rock fins is a neccessary ingredient in the formation of the park’s numerous arches.
Next, we stopped at the Fiery Furnace which is named for the reddish glow the red sandstone takes on at sunset. We had visited this area on our last visit to Arches, but liked it enough to stop and view it again. This photo shows the edge of the Fiery Furnace, Salt Valley and the La Sal Mountains in the background.
Next, we drove to the Windows Section which we had visited before, but we didn’t hike out to Double Arch on that trip which I had regretted. So Double Arch became one of the sights I had to see this time around.
Next, we stopped at Panorama Point to take in a spectacular view of Salt Valley and the Fiery Furnace. You can also view a panoramic photo of this amazing view.
The sky was clearing by this time, but we decided it was too late in the day for us to hike to Delicate Arch and still visit the other places we wanted to that day. So we contented ourselves with viewing Delicate Arch from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint.
After we made our way back down to our car, we were ready to leave the park. On our way out, we stopped to take some photos of the Courthouse Towers section of the park.
Our next destination was nearby Canyonlands National Park.