Thursday, May 19, 2016
Arches National Park
Arches National Park has the largest concentration of arches in the world. There are over 2.000 arches in the park but fewer than two dozen are easily accessible to the average visitor. The arches formed when a salt dome pushed the earth’s crust up, causing vertical cracks that eroded into fins. Freezing and thawing, wind and water, caused more erosion to the center of the fins creating the arches.
May is one of the busiest months in the park and we almost skipped it because of that. We’re so glad that we didn’t! The park is opened 24 hours a day so early morning and evening visits are recommended. We went in after lunch, had no trouble finding parking spots and the traffic was fairly light. It’s a good idea to check the entrance webcam before driving to the park. This is 10:00AM today- yikes!
The accessibiliy information on the park website is pretty good. The visitor center is accessible. Most of views can be seen from the viewpoint parking areas. Park Avenue has a good paved trail. Balanced Rock trail is paved to a view point. Double Arch Trail, hard packed with one steep hill, allows wheelchair users a close up view. The trail to North and South Windows also allows a closer view. The trails to Wolfe Ranch and Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint are hard packed and accessible. Devils Garden Trail to Landscape Arch is listed as barrier free which I assume means accessible with help. We tried it and found a very steep, slippery hill and then loose sand. I don’t recommend trying to go to Landscape Arch but if you have a strong helper take the spur trail to Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. There’s one steep but short hill and it’s possible to get very close to Pine Tree Arch.
All of the parking lots except for a few of the smallest pull offs have long RV parking spots.
Reservations for the campground must be made months in advance but since BLM surrounds the park finding a boondocking spot is easy. Willow Springs Road, north of the park off of US 191, is easy to access but very popular so expect to share a spot. Challenge to our RTR buddies. Identify that white van! :- )
Park 38.61605, -109.62078 Boondock 38.69731, -109.69204