What is Arches National Park?

Felicia Dye

Arches National Park is 73,000 acres (about 300 square km) of federally protected land that lies in Utah. The park is believed to have more natural stone arches than any other in the world. This park, which is mostly desert, appeals to people with a wide variety of interests. These include enthusiasts of hiking, climbing, and photography.

President Hoover made the Arches area a national monument in 1929.
President Hoover made the Arches area a national monument in 1929.

Although Arches National Park lies in Utah, it is part of an area known as the Colorado Plateau. The United States (US) Congress made Arches a national park on 12 November 1971. This was not the first time the government had put forth effort to protect the area’s marvels. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover designated the area as a national monument.

Natural sandstone arches are one of the biggest attractions of Arches National Park.
Natural sandstone arches are one of the biggest attractions of Arches National Park.

Natural sandstone arches are one of the biggest attractions at Arches National Park. According to the National Park Service (NPS), there are more than 2,000 on this expanse of land. These include Delicate Arch, which is the most photographed attraction in the park, Turret Arch, and Double Arch.

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Another attraction are the park’s petroglyphs, or rock engravings. These can be found throughout the park on various stones. They are believed to date back centuries to a time when Spanish explorers were in the area.

Additionally, there are numerous outdoor activities that can keep visitors happily occupied. The area has a reputation for its photographic appeal. Hiking, biking, and climbing are also popular.

Those who plan to visit Arches National Park should be prepared for the weather. Snow is not common in the park, but winters are extremely cold with average temperatures ranging from 0 to 20 degrees F (-18 to -7 degrees C), according to NPS. In the summer, temperatures can surpass 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). Drastic fluctuations are another factor to consider since the NPS warns that temperatures can change by 40 degrees F (about 23 degrees C) in a single day. The four months of the year when visitors are likely to find the weather most agreeable are April, May, September, and October.

The visitor’s center for Arches National Park is located inside the main gates, which are near the town of Moab. The park is open to visitors all day every day, but the visitor’s center has operational hours. Camping in the park is a possibility for those who are interested. There are camping facilities that can accommodate tents and RVs.

There is an admission fee for entering the park. Once a pass is purchased, it is generally valid for several days. It is possible to travel to the park using passes that allow entry into multiple parks in Utah and across the United States. More information about this is available on the park’s website.

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