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Arches National Park
Arches National Park
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The Arches National Park Destination comprises a fraction of central-eastern Utah. Apart from the namesake, Arches National Park, the destination contains a few other prominent tourist sites, such as Canyonlands National Park and the city of Moab. While other urban areas and towns can be found in the destination—namely Castle Valley, Spanish Valley, Thompson Springs, Agate, Green River, and Hanksville—Moab is known among a number of locals and tourists for being the largest city in Grand County. The city can serve as a home base for those who are hoping to visit both Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park on account of its location between the two.[3] A significant feature of Arches National Park that tends to pique the interest of tourists is Delicate Arch, which is often recognized as a symbol of Utah.[14] Arches National Park experiences relatively moderate temperatures from early June to mid-September. As such, this season has been considered “the best time of year to visit,” according to those who have previously traveled to the park.[16] Outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy spotting wildlife and engaging in recreational activities may take an interest in Canyonlands National Park. Black bears, cougars, foxes, desert bighorn sheep, falcons, ring-tailed cats, hummingbirds, and bats reside in various parts of the park.[2]

What Arches National Park is known for

Encompassing a portion of the central-eastern region of Utah, the Arches National Park Destination consists primarily of sandstone arches, unique rock formations, and desert lands. The destination’s namesake, Arches National Park, is known for being characterized by “the highest density of natural arches in the world.”[1] Neighboring the park is the city of Moab, notable for being the largest city in Grand County.[3] Moab serves as the home for an estimated total population of 5,209 residents as of 2023. The population reportedly decreases by -1.03% annually, as indicated by the results of the most recent census, which recorded 5,372 residents in 2020.[13]

Situated 5 miles north of Moab, Arches National Park covers 76,518 acres of land, with over 2,000 arches scattered throughout it. The park is often frequented by those who enjoy camping and hiking, as a considerable amount of trails are found across the park. Hikes range in terms of difficulty and duration, with a mix of hour-long, half-day, full-day, and multiple-day trails. Visitors can stay at the Devil’s Garden Campground, about 18 miles from the park, where individual and group sites are available. One of the most iconic highlights of Arches National Park is Delicate Arch, a symbol of Utah. This geologic feature was deemed “the largest free-standing arch in the park.” Other notable rock formations in the park include Balanced Rock, Landscape Arch, Double Arch, and Park Avenue. Landscape Arch is known for being “the longest natural rock span in the world,” with its width extending 306 feet.[14]

Beyond Arches National Park, the destination also contains Canyonlands National Park, which is acknowledged for being Utah’s largest national park. Canyonlands is split into three land districts: the Maze District, the Needles District, and Island in the Sky. The Green River and Colorado River serve as the dividing boundaries of these districts, and out of all of the districts, Island in the Sky is the closest to the city of Moab. The 337,598-acre park features a visitors center in each district which offers an arrangement of exhibits, maps, and general information about Canyonlands National Park.[15] 

While Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park are two of the more prominent attractions of the destination, Moab also has a few significant draws for tourism. As the city is situated along the Colorado River, river rafting is a fairly popular undertaking in Moab. Visitors who go river rafting may have the opportunity to view the landscape of Castle Valley. For those who seek a more leisurely experience at Moab, the city’s downtown area features several locally-owned shops and restaurants that people can explore. Another activity is a Sunset Hummer Safari on the Hell’s Revenge Trail—a guided tour in a Hummer along a 4x4 trail where passengers can observe the setting sun. Sunsets in Moab have brought a number of visitors to the area, as the city’s natural desert rock formations supposedly turn “a deeper shade of red, pink, or orange as the sun sets in the west.”[17]


Arches National Park began with three particular conditions that were required to create its present-day arches and rock formations, namely a dry climate, brittle sandstone that has been joined due to faulting activity, and a location that is adjacent to salt anticlines undergoing dissolution. Most of the park’s arches—including Devils Garden and Klondike Bluffs—are found within the Entrada Sandstone. Sand and clay compose a layer that underlies the Entrada Sandstone called the Carmel layer. Due to the Carmel layer being comparatively less porous with few small spaces, water is not effectively absorbed into this layer. Thus, the water pools at the base of the Entrada Sandstone and causes more erosion. A series of uplifts and collapses formed cracks in the Entrada Sandstone, and the rock layers above the sandstone eroded away. The space between the cracks was then widened through water and wind erosion, ultimately creating fin-shaped structures. Erosion occurs all year long, as Arches National Park receives eight to ten inches of precipitation annually. Water that seeps into the cracks and freezes during the winter season expands, causing the gaps to widen. The roof of these rocks eventually collapses and destroys the arches. As such, “these arches are not permanent,” and collapsing may occur in the future.[18]

Over the course of the year, temperatures vary in Arches National Park between a fairly wide range of 20°F and 95°F. The summer season has been described as “hot, dry, and mostly clear,” in contrast to the winter, which has been characterized as “short, very cold, snowy, and partly cloudy.” Generally speaking, the warmer season lasts from the end of May to mid-September, during which temperatures reach an average daily high of around 84°F. July tends to experience the highest temperatures, with an average high of 95°F. As for the cold season from November to February, the average daily high drops below 50°F, and January is most commonly the coldest month of the year in Arches National Park. Daily temperatures range between 21°F and 40°F in January, and this month also receives the least amount of wind compared to the rest of the year.[16]

Canyonlands National Park is home to a variety of flora and fauna. With regard to wildlife, the park typically sees coyotes, black bears, bats, skunks, foxes, elk, badgers, bobcats, desert bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and cougars. Some of the more commonly spotted animals include kangaroo rats, desert cottontails, and mule deer. The park is additionally inhabited by at least 273 bird species, 11 species of lizards, 8 species of snakes, and 6 confirmed amphibian species. Concerning the park’s flora, cryptobiotic soil is a resource for moisture and nitrogen fixation for plant seeds. There are 11 types of cacti, 20 moss species, grasses, liverworts, and wildflowers. Several different types of trees and shrubs are growing throughout Canyonlands National Park as well.[2]


What is now known as Arches National Park was first inhabited by humans 10,000 years ago during the last ice age; however, the Mormon Elk Mountain Mission was the first group of European-American settlers to set foot on the site. After the region was abandoned by the Mormon Elk Mountain Mission, many farmers, ranchers, and prospectors came in the late 1870s to settle Moab in the adjacent Riverine Valley. These settlers saw the land as a potential tourist destination. Frank A. Wadleigh—a passenger traffic manager of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad—was the first person to mention the area to the National Park Services. A prospector living in Salt Valley, Alexander Ringhoffer, visited the area in 1923 with Wadleigh and a railroad photographer by the name of George L. Beam. Ringhoffer and a few of his family members had previously discovered a scenic area that he called the Devils Garden, which he wrote about to the railroad company to inform them about the possibility of tourism. This led Wadleigh to tell the National Park Services about the arches. A few years later, in 1926, the region was designated a national monument, though it wasn’t until 1929 that President Herbert Hoover established Arches National Monument by signing a presidential proclamation.[1]

At the start of the 20th century, agriculture was the primary contributor to Moab’s economic development. This gradually shifted, however, to mining upon the discovery of uranium and vanadium in the 1910s and 1920s. Following the discovery of potash and manganese, oil and gas were manifested in the area as well. In the 1950s, a geologist named Charles Steen found a relatively generous deposit of uranium ore to the south of Moab, which led to the city being deemed the “Uranium Capital of the World.” This caused a major population growth of roughly 500%, and several houses and schools were built to accommodate the influx of new residents. The uranium boom and populational increase gradually came to an end following the conclusion of the Cold War. Recently, Moab has received more residents, many of whom are coming for the relatively mild winters and moderate temperatures in the summer.[3]

4.55 (621 Reviews)

The Moab Rim RV Campark can be found in Moab, Utah, which is just south of Arches National Park. Moab primarily is a desert climate with red rock formations and many mountains dotted throughout the landscape. Moab is known for its different national and state parks that can be found in almost all corners of the city. The most popular ones that people come to visit are Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The Moab Rim RV Campark is just two miles south of downtown Moab, putting it in an accessible spot for most endeavors.

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The Needles Outpost Campground, located in southeastern Utah, has 24 campsites, two tipis, and two glamping tents. Each of these features can be rented for up to seven days. During their stay, guests are expected to abide by the rules of the property. No music is allowed, and bright lights are prohibited after 9:00 PM to benefit the property as a designated dark sky area. Amber and Caleb Church, the owners of the establishment, want their guests to feel comfortable and surrounded by nature. They hope that their patrons will be able to enjoy their time and the campground, and encourage them to explore the two petroglyphs and the multiple hiking trails, which have to be accessed outside of the property.

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4.1 (704 Reviews)

The Canyonlands RV Resort and Campground is situated in Moab, Utah. There are 131 units that guests can rent, consisting of eight cabins, 32 tent sites, and 91 RV sites. The RV sites are all pull-through spaces and have full hookups. Unique to the property is a relatively large number of trees that provide shade and a creek that runs through it. Some of the other amenities the resort offers include a pool, free use of the shower facilities, and a dog park. The property’s location in the city of Moab means that it is convenient to many of the city’s restaurants and stores. According to the resort’s manager, many people will travel to the Moab area to explore the two national parks near the property, Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, in addition to hiking, rafting on the Colorado River, and observing geologic formations.

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3.9 (159 Reviews)

The Pack Creek Campground is located in Moab, Utah. The property primarily caters to families and small groups looking for a rustic outdoor experience. There are varying types of sites, and Pack Creek has the ability to accommodate larger group sizes—up to roughly 200 visitors. Moab, Utah, is known for its many different outdoor activities such as hiking, riding ATVs, and visiting national parks in the area. The area is mostly desert climate with a three-sixty view of red rock and sand dunes. Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and the Manti-La Sal National Forest are in close proximity to the Pack Creek Campground. The weather in the area is primarily sunny year-round with very hot and dry summers, and a cooler, windy winter season.

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