Located north of Moab in eastern Utah, the Arches National Park is known for its more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. It is bordered by the Colorado River to the southeast. 100 million years of erosion agents including water, ice, extreme temperatures and underground salt movement has created this extraordinary landscape.
Chondrites are believed to be the remnants of the first geological processes 4.6 billion years ago that gave birth to our solar system from the compacting of solar nebula. Each year, between 37,000 to 78,000 of chondrites (asteroids/ comets) fall on earth. The below stony meteorite probably originated in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.
200 million years ago winds from the northwest brought tons of fine sand grains to create this immense desert in Arches National Park. As time passed by, the sand was covered with layers of sediment, compacted by quartz and calcite into Navajo sandstone. “Petrified” means sand that has been cemented to rock.
The huge sandstone seems poised on a narrow pedestal. Defying gravity, the shape and size of the balanced rock changes with every step. The entire structure stands at 128 feet, with the rock alone measuring 55 feet in height.
Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden lies on the way to the Double Arch. Visitors to Arches National Park can take a 2.5 mile hike around the rock formations.
Parade of Elephants
Parade of Elephants also lies on the way to the Double Arch.
Some of the largest arches in Arches National Park can be seen here, including North Window, South Window, Turret Arch and Double Arch.
This easy 0.5 mile trail takes visitors over loose sand and provides an up and personal feel of the arch.
At 64 feet high and 45 feet wide, the Delicate Arch is Arches National Park’s largest free standing arc. There are lower and upper viewpoints to catch distant glimpses of the arch, which stands at the edge of a canyon. But for those who want an up and close look at this natural wonder, the trail is a difficult 3 miles. The strain comes the lack of shade from the sun, an elevation gain of 480 feet, and open rock surfaces that can be slippery in some spots. One quart of water per person is recommended. There are toilets at the trailhead.