The North and South Windows from Arches National Park
The last stop on our national park tour was a small town in southeastern Utah named Moab. This town is located very close to two great and iconic national parks: Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. These two parks both have some of the most identifiable landscapes or features of the Southwest’s national parks, but they are very different! Starting with Arches National Park, we journeyed out of the valley that Moab is settled inside. Once we topped the eastern ridge, we were already in Arches, and were able to see the beautiful landscapes and rock features that this park contains.
The most famous arch in this park is the Delicate Arch, which is an amazing stand alone rock arch , seen below.
This arch, like many in the park were formed by the great force of erosion, both by wind and water. Many arches throughout the park have collapsed since the park was founded. One arch that seems close to collapsing is the Landscape Arch. People are no longer able to walk underneath this arch, because a major chunk of rock fell and the arch is somewhat unstable.
Other major landmarks include the following:
The Balanced Rock
The Double Arches
The Salt Domes
In addition to the amazing geological features that are scattered across the park, there are some outstanding views of the surrounding landscape, such as this view of the La Sal Mountains, which are south of Arches.
After leaving Arches, we headed on over to Canyonlands National Park, which is actually composed of three sections. The first section, the one we went to, is called Island in the Sky. Here is an epic view from one of the vistas in this section:
Another section, which is a slightly longer drive south from Moab, is called The Needles, which we saw way in the distance from Island in the Sky:
And the third part is called The Maze, which is difficult to access. The Island in the Sky was really awesome, because we were basically on a plateau or mesa and got epic views of the park. Here is an example from one of the vista points in the park.
Hiking in Canyonlands was also fairly intense, at least for me, because you can end up hiking alongside a 1000+ foot drop off for a long time. We hiked the Grand View Point Trail, which was awesome, and gave us some great sweeping views, like below.
We also found a tree that someone had put a Christmas ornament in, which was a fun little thing to find.
The last thing we did in the park was visit a feature called The Upheaval Dome. There are two theories about how this dome was formed. The first is that it is a salt dome formed by shifting rocks. The other, which now seems to have more support, is that the dome is a meteorite crater.
After visiting these two parks, we headed back home and concluded our national parks tour! I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour, and that it inspires you to visit these amazing places for yourself. I know that I plan to go back to all of these sites and spend more time at each one!