The first stop for most visitors is Park Avenue. The one mile (one way) trail is steep at first, then levels off. Towering “fins” of red rock can put a permanent crick in your neck, as you constantly look up.
The beautiful LaSal Mountains provide a backdrop for many of the pictures you’ll take here, and in Canyonlands National Park, later today.
After you drive by the petrified sand dunes, you’ll arrive at Balanced Rock. An easy, short trail loops around the base, and is handicapped accessible.
Same rock, different angle.
The North Window.
An easy trail takes you right up to, and underneath, the North Window.
In a way, it’s a shame the arches and other rock formations are so spectacular, because it’s easy to miss the incredible landscape that stretches out for miles. Even the ground itself expresses a rainbow of colors, from red to brown to a tarnished-copper shade of green.
A close-up view below Turret Arch
This is one of my favorite photos, and it wasn’t an easy one to get. You’re looking at South Window arch, through Turret Arch. Lining up this shot required me to balance on the edge of a steep drop-off, and reach as far out over the ledge as I could.
[tmt_info =””]This page is all about my first visit to Arches National Park, in 2004. I returned in 2005 (in the middle of a rare rainstorm, no less!). If you’d like to read about my second visit to Arches National Park, click here.[/tmt_info]
Note: This trip was first published in 2004.