Our day at Arches National Park began with a stop at the visitor’s center. The information lines were long, and the gift shop was stuffed full of patrons so we grabbed a map and drove into the park.
Most of the park can be accessed from the main road that cuts straight through the middle of the park; the namesake formations can be reached after a short drive littered with scenic formations. We stopped along the road several times to get out and explore around the lesser known formations.
Balanced Rock is the first big name formation you pass when driving through the park and it is definitely the most fascinating formation along the roadway. Just beyond Balanced Rock lie a cluster of the park’s treasures: Double Arch, Turret Arch, and the North and South Windows are all neighbors with a shared parking lot. They are all very accessible by foot and well worth the time spent exploring, but we decided to keep our day moving and go check out the sand dune arch.
We drove over to the Devils Garden area to sadly find out that part of the park was closed off for construction, but we were still able to explore around the Sand Dune Arch. We marched through the bright red sand and narrow canyon walls to find an opening with a great hidden surprise: a delicate arch with a giant slit in the middle. The formation looked as if two animals were frozen in a kiss for all of eternity, put on display for everyone to look at. As great as this formation was, nothing could compare to the main treasure of the park that we would hike to next.
Delicate Arch is a creation of time that left me reeling in its presence. A steep one and one half mile hike is the price to be paid if you wish to see it up close and personal. I recommend it. The elevation gain of roughly 600 feet seemed to be grueling for some, but the expression of struggle vanished from their faces once the destination had been reached. The entire area of the park that we saw was stunning, but nothing compares to the wonder that is Delicate Arch.