Arches National Park accommodations. All orthodox red rock-ists make a pilgrimage to the Holey Land in their lifetime, but many find their devotion leads them back to Arches every equinox. Arches National Park accommodations is a US National Park in eastern Utah. The park is adjacent to the Colorado River, 4 miles (6 km) north of Moab, Utah. It is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations. It contains the highest density of natural arches in the world.
The park consists of 76,679 acres (119.811 sq mi; 31,031 ha; 310.31 km2) of high desert located in the Colorado Plateau. Its highest elevation is 5,653 feet (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte, and its lowest elevation is 4,085 feet (1,245 m) at the visitor center. Forty-three arches are known to have collapsed since 1977. The park receives 10 inches (250 mm) of rain a year on average.
Administered by the Arches National Park accommodations, the area was originally named a National Monument on April 12, 1929. It was redesignated as a National Park on November 12, 1971.
This Arches National Park accommodations contains more than 2,000 natural arches—the greatest concentration in the country. But numbers have no significance beside the grandeur of the landscape—the arches, the giant balanced rocks, spires, pinnacles, and slickrock domes against the enormous sky.
Perched high above the Colorado River, the Arches National Park accommodations is part of southern Utah’s extended canyon country, carved and shaped by eons of weathering and erosion. Some 300 million years ago, inland seas covered the large basin that formed this region. The seas refilled and evaporated—29 times in all—leaving behind salt beds thousands of feet thick. Later, sand and boulders carried down by streams from the uplands eventually buried the salt beds beneath thick layers of stone. Because the salt layer is less dense than the overlying blanket of rock, it rises up through it, forming it into domes and ridges, with valleys in between.
Arches National Park Accommodations
Arches National Park Hotels
Arches National Park accommodations. Though there are no hotels or cabins in the park itself, in the surrounding area every type of lodging is available, from economy chain motels to B&Bs and high-end, high-adventure resorts. It’s important to know when popular events are held, however, as Arches National Park accommodations can, and do, fill up weeks ahead of time.
Arches National Park Things To Do
Not sure what to do in Arches National Park? We’ve got you covered. Our travel experts compiled the best activities in Arches National Park accommodations so you can make the most of your trip.
There are a number of things to do while enjoying Arches National Park accommodations. These activities include but are not limited to biking, camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, photography and wildlife watching.
For a detailed list of arches, balance rocks and other scenic rock formations with their location and trails and biking, see the Hiking Page.
Join a National Park Service ranger to explore Arches’s natural and cultural history. Join a ranger on a hike or walk and learn about the forces that once shaped this landscape – and continue to do so. These are just some of the ways to discover the diversity of the scenic, natural and historic wonders that comprise Arches National Park.
Located near park entrance, the visitor center houses a museum and exhibits. A short orientation program is shown in the auditorium on the hour and half hour. Information is available and books and maps are sold by the Canyonlands Natural History Association, in the visitor center.
The 48 mile round trip paved road in the park travels through spectacular scenery and leads to major park features. Hiking trails of varying length and difficulty lead to and through arches and into the heart of the park.
Regularly scheduled walks, guided hikes and evening campfire programs by rangers, mid-March through October. Check bulletin boards in the park for details. Reservations must be made for the popular Fiery Furnace guided hike in person at the Arches Visitor Center, up to 48 hours in advance. Also, check at the visitor center for information on the Junior Ranger program for children ages six through eleven. Join a ranger March through October at a talk, walk, hike or campfire program.
The basic road tour with stops at overlooks requires several hours to a half day. Allow more time if you plan to hike or otherwise experience the park.
The road system in Arches passes many outstanding natural features. As Arches’ popularity has increased, people have begun to park in areas that damage plants and sometimes endanger other visitors. Please park in established lots only. Generally, parking spaces are easier to find before 9:00 am and after 7:00 pm.
If your time at Arches will be limited, try one of the following itineraries:
If you have 1.5 hours:
Drive to the Windows Section and see some of the park’s largest arches. (Add .5 hour to stroll beneath either North Window or Double Arch.).
Arches National Park accommodations Flora and fauna
Pinyon and gnarled juniper trees add a splash of green contrast to the red sandstone terrain. When conditions are just right, wildflowers bloom in profusion from April to July. Most species of mammals are nocturnal, but you might see mule deer, kit fox, or more often, jackrabbits and cottontails, kangaroo rats and other rodents, and small reptiles. Flocks of blue pinyon jays chatter in tree tops; migratory species such as mountain bluebirds and residents such as golden eagles are seen by careful observers
Although Arches is a desert, it is a cool desert and a high one, subject to greater environmental extremes than the hot, sandy deserts further south. On an average, less than ten inches of precipitation dampens the vegetation. Much of this moisture evaporates or runs off before it soaks into the soil, so it is not actually available to animals and plants.
By far the most widespread plant community here is the pygmy forest: a woodland of pinon and juniper trees that cover more than forty percent of the park. There are more than 100 other plant species in the diverse understory of this open community of forest. Mountain mahogany and cliffrose often grow alongside the trees where their roots take advantage of the extra moisture that the pinon and juniper foots have penetrated. The Utah juniper is more drought tolerant then the pinon and so they usually out number the pinons in the woodlands.
Another common shrub in the woodland is blackbush, a low growing, prickly bush that usually looks half dead. Blackbush is a tenacious shrub. Years may pass between flowerings. Much of the year it appears lifeless, but after a wet spring, they can burst into color with tiny yellow flowers covering the spiny branches.
Several species of grasses, galleta, dropseed, and Indian ricegrass, are dominate members of the grassland that covers about 8,000 acres in the park. Snakeweed and prickly pear cactus thrived and moved into overgrazed grasslands. Cheatgrass and Russian thistle, the classic tumbleweed of western movies also found overgrazed grasslands inviting.
Sage, greasewood and yuccas are common members of many western communities. Greasewood likes moist soils with high concentrations of alkali and salt. It grows well in Salt Wash and around Wolfe Cabin. Nearly pure strands of greasewood grow in cache Valley where the soil is very salty.
Like plants, the animals must also deal with the environmental extremes of this high desert. Unlike the stationary vegetation, mobile animals can cope with heat, cold and aridity in a variety of ways. Most animals simply avoid the extremes by staying in burrows or in the shade of a tree during the day and venturing out to forage in the evening. Even the kangaroo rat, well known for its ability to tolerate desert environment, retreats underground during the day.
Some species have evolved elaborate means of coping with the arid environment. Invertebrates such as fairy and tadpole shrimp inhabit shallow ephemeral pools of water called potholes. Most of their life is spent as dedicated eggs or cysts buried in the dirt at the bottom of a dried up pothole. Summer rains fill the depression, and if temperature and chemistry are correct, the eggs hatch.Then the race is on. These creatures must grow, mature, mate, and lay eggs before the pool evaporates. With luck, a couple of weeks of activity will be enough. Then the eggs will wait, dormant, until the next time conditions are right, years or even decades later.
Arches National Park accommodations Red Cliffs Lodge
Red Cliffs Lodge is Moab’s National Park experience. Located on the banks of the mighty Colorado River surrounded by 2000 foot cliffs on 220 acres. Lodging includes suites and cabins all with private water views. Rustic elegance and rated 1 place to stay in Moab.
Located 14 miles up the Colorado River on scenic Hwy 128 from downtown Moab, Red Cliffs Lodge is situated beside the river’s best white water rapids, at the foot of dramatic Red rock cliffs. It’s a classic, rugged Western landscape worthy of Hollywood, and was in fact the site of numerous films. The on-site restaurant, The Cowboy Grill, is now open on Fridays and Saturdays.
Arches National Park Utah
There are more than 2,000 arches in the park; to be classified as an arch, the opening must measure at least three feet across. The largest arch in the park, Landscape Arch, spans 306 feet (longer than a football field) base to base. New arches are constantly forming, while old ones occasionally collapse—most recently Wall Arch, which fell in 2008.
Arches National Park contains ephemeral pools, from a few inches to several feet in depth, that are essentially mini-ecosystems, home to tadpoles, fairy shrimp, and insects. The pools form among the sandstone basins, within potholes that collect the rare rainwater and sediment.
About 300 million years ago an inland sea covered what is now Arches National Park. The sea evaporated and re-formed more than 29 times, leaving behind salt beds thousands of feet thick.
Another unique aspect of the park is its knobby black ground cover, which is actually alive. A biological soil crust, it is composed of algae, lichens, and cyanobacteria (one of Earth’s earliest life forms), and provides a secure foundation for the desert plants.
Edward Abbey served as a seasonal ranger at Arches in the late 1950s, an experience that inspired his 1968 memoir, Desert Solitaire.
Most of the formations at Arches are made of soft red sandstone deposited 150 million years ago. Much later, groundwater began to dissolve the underlying salt deposits. The sandstone domes collapsed and weathered into a maze of vertical rock slabs called “fins.” Sections of these slender walls eventually wore through, creating the spectacular rock sculptures that visitors to Arches see today.
The land has a timeless, indestructible look that is misleading. More than 700,000 visitors each year threaten the fragile high desert ecosystem. One concern is a dark scale called biological soil crust composed of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, and lichens that grow in sandy areas in the park. Footprints tracked across this living community may remain visible for years. In fact, the aridity helps preserve traces of past activity for centuries. Visitors are asked to walk only on designated trails or stay on slickrock or wash bottoms.
Start with the mile-and-a-half (2.4-kilometer) Delicate Arch Trail, to what may be the most photographed arch in the park. Traveler writer Charlie Kulander says seeing Delicate Arch is like seeing the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre; “it’s great to behold—and there are so many more arches to discover.”
If you have about two hours to visit the park, hike the Windows Loop Trail for close-up views of North and South Windows and Turret Arch. Next, amble the short trail to nearby Double Arch. Later, drive back to Balanced Rock and take the loop trail around to its base.
If you have a half a day or more, sign up for a ranger-guided tour through Fiery Furnace, a labyrinth of sandstone fins and other striking redrock formations. Then drive on the main road to the park’s far end (about 18 miles/29 kilometers from the entrance gate). There take up the Devils Garden Trail, a 4.2-mile (6.8-kilometer) round-trip trek that wends past Tunnel Arch, Landscape Arch (part of which sloughed off in 1991), Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, and Double O Arch. The trail is moderately rugged, so be prepared with good footwear. The scenic landscape is outstanding.