Chances are you have seen Arches National Park's famous Delicate Arch—the huge sandstone outcropping framing the snowy La Sal mountains on the horizon. In fact, the park holds the largest concentration of natural sandstone arches in the world with over 2,000 surrounding the area. Booking a vacation rental in nearby Moab, a convenient five miles away from the park's entrance, sets you up perfectly for exploring the Arches. There is plenty to see here, including stunning sandstone cliffs and myriad bizarre rock formations that look like Dr. Seuss creations. Balanced Rock, Landscape Arch, The Window, Three Gossips, Petrified Dunes, Park Avenue canyon and the incredible desert scenery await you in Arches National Park. At the end of the day, you will only be a short drive from your rental in Moab.
Explore the Arches up Close
One of the best things about Arches National Park is that the arches and other formations are extremely accessible. The majority of the trails ranges from easy to moderate, and most are pretty short in length and stay fairly flat. The visitor's center in the park can provide a great map of the trails in the park. When you're out hiking, be sure to look for wildlife en route to the arches. Nearly 50 species of mammals call the Arches home, including desert cottontail rabbits, kangaroo rats and mule deer, which are the most visible park residents during the day.
Let a Ranger be Your Guide
The only way to see the fascinating Fiery Furnace district of Arches National Park is with a guided, ranger-led tour. Reserve a tour at the visitor's center or online, but be sure to do it as early as you can because they do fill up fast. The tours are worth the nominal fee. You will be treated to a spectacular landscape of sandstone fins resembling tongues of flame. The rangers will lead you through the tight maze of towering red-orange rocks while giving you a geology lesson and ensuring you do not get lost.
Take Photographs like a Pro
Arches National Park is a photographer's dream location. The good news is you do not have to be a professional with expensive equipment to capture the park's beauty. The best times to photograph the arches are in the morning or evening, as the bright afternoon light of the desert can wash out your photos. For photographing Delicate Arch, shoot at sunset when the rocks glow red and the sunset turns the sky orange. Be extra patient. If you are visiting during the summer, it will be crowded, but people are generally pretty good about taking turns photographing. The Windows are great at both sunrise and sunset, and the Double O Arch is best photographed in the late afternoon.
Don't skip over Moab's other National Park – Canyonlands – while in the area. Both are worth your time, energy and worth seeing up close. Happy exploring.
About HomeAway.com: HomeAway.com offers a hundreds of cabins, homes, condos and other Moab vacation rentals including rentals near both Arches and Cayonlands National Park's.
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