Arches National Park, Moab, UT – 10/17/16

Arches National Park, adjacent to the Colorado River, covers 119 sq. miles of high desert plateau and boasts the world’s largest density of natural stone arches – over 2,000. Plus red rock monoliths, spires, fins, and balanced rocks. The park gets about 1.4 million visitors a year.

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We headed to the Windows area, past the Three Gossips:

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Balanced Rock:

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and this guy:

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Windows and Turret from the side:

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It’s a very crowded Windows parking area. I can’t imagine the peak of summer, when you have to sit in your car waiting for parked cars to leave. Late October, and it was busy, but we found a space in the lower lot.

Climbed up these stairs to the upper lot and trailhead:

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From this spot, you can see the North and South Windows and Turret Arch.

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North window:

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The trail:

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We turned towards Turret, with the sun shining behind.

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double click to enlarge – and see those tiny people under the arch:

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We climbed up through the arch and looked up:

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Heading back through Turret Arch, you can see a corner of South Window:

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We took the primitive trail around the back of the windows – the road much less traveled by, with spires in the distance.

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And cairns marking the trail:

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an odd little balanced rock:

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view from behind the windows:

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view on the other side of the trail:

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cairn and spire

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cactus farm on the primitive trail

Across the Windows area is Double Arch flanked by elephants:

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You watch the Double Arch grow as you hike towards it:

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see those tiny people under it? It’s hard to fathom just how big this arch is:

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Skeleton trees on the trail back from Double Arch:

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Our last stop for the late afternoon is the overlooks for Delicate Arch, the iconic image of Utah – it’s even on their license plates.

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the trail

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stairs up to Delicate Arch viewpoint

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Delicate Arch

There’s a strenuous 3 hour round-trip trail (which we didn’t do) that brings you right up to Delicate Arch – you can see all the little people under and around the Arch, waiting for sunset.

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The view from the lower viewpoint:

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as the sun sinks slowly in the West:

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