Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunsets in Arches National Park: Moab, Utah.

Our vacation schedule was crammed with trips to Monument Valley and down the Colorado River, but my wife and I were very fortunate to spend two days including sunsets and sunrises at Arches National Park. The first evening, we hiked the Delicate Arch trail along with a few other visitors from around the world. We had no idea what to expect from the hike. I definitely recommend that you bring water and allow about an hour each way. It is possible that you can hike it faster than that, but you won't get a chance to enjoy the petroglyphs or spectacular scenery.

Near the end of the trail, you will notice a small arch up on the right-hand side. This is called Frame Arch. Many hikers miss seeing this arch because they are focused on the trail ahead that drops precipitously off the left-hand side. The first view of Delicate Arch is only achievable by climbing up 20 feet or so of slickrock and standing in Frame Arch.

Delicate Arch from Frame Arch

If you miss Frame Arch, do not worry. As the trail skirts the edge of the cliffside, the view on the right will suddenly open and take your breath away.

Delicate Arch is a crowded destination at sunset for good reason. Bring your patience because you will need to wait for visitors to have their pictures taken under this famous landmark. There were a lot of unhappy photographers (like that is a newsflash!) Instead, it is better to sit down on the edge of this natural ampitheatre and enjoy the spectacular view. Have a snack. Drink some water. Your patience will eventually be rewarded. What a perfect way to start a vacation!




Delicate Arch at sunset

Our second evening at Arches actually occured on our final day in Utah because we looped down through Monument Valley, Natural Bridges, Canyonlands, and Goosenecks.

We chose the North and South Windows, Double Arch, and Turret Arch area of the park for our second sunset. Fortunately, this would be the only night that it didn't rain. This is one of the most popular areas of the park, but the concentration of arches allows for a lot of flexibility and options. If you climb up and through the North Window, down the other side, and up the slick rock behind, you can get a fantastic shot of Turret Arch through the Window. Most people do not have the stomach for the climb, so you are guaranteed to have a classic photo. Patience is rewarded again. It can take a long time for visitors to clear out.


Turret Arch through North Window
The weather was so beautiful, we decided to stay here into the night. A harvest moon appeared through North Window. The crowds disappeared and the landscape turned to magic.



Turret Arch from North Window at Night




North Window at Night

If we weren't flying out of Grand Junction in the morning, we could have easily spent the entire night sitting here. No where else I have ever been melds stone and sky so beautifully.




I'll tell you more about sunrise at Pine Tree Arch and Landscape Arch in a later post.

Here is a post on Turret Arch in Times Square New York!



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