The Grand Circle Tour – Day Five – Arches National Park

We left Green River for the short drive to Arches and quickly found out that we were not the only ones that had decided to visit the park that day.  We waited in line for about 45 minutes before gaining access through the entrance station.  (Note to self:  Arrive before 9:00 a.m. to avoid the lines.)  We suspected our day exploring the park would be worth the wait and we were definitely not disappointed.  It was loaded with so many check-the-box photo opportunities.

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The park is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, in addition to a variety of unique geological formations.  It contains the highest density of natural arches in the world.

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Stefan and Ann strike a pose at the Park Avenue Viewpoint.
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Elephant Butte

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Quick group photo at our first stop – the Park Avenue Viewpoint.

 

With so much to see and do, we decided the best approach was to use our vehicle and hit as many scenic overlooks as possible.  The layout of the park involves a long, winding road from the entrance station to the Devil’s Garden with a couple of spurs along the way.  There are numerous hiking trails to explore to gain closer access to sites, but our schedule limited our opportunity for hiking.

As we toured the park, we were constantly in awe of Mother Nature’s beauty.  The arches and rock formations were spectacular.

 

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Queen Nefertiti’s Head

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The Three Gossips can be spotted near the center of the photo in the background.
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Balanced Rock from a distance.

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Close-up of Balanced Rock

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Highlights of our tour included the iconic Delicate, Landscape and Double Arches.

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Delicate Arch – Notice people hiking around the base for some perspective on its size.

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Skyline Arch

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Another view of Skyline Arch.
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Gnarled tree near Skyline Arch.

 

We were also impressed with the diversity of plant life in the high desert.  We saw red, orange, yellow, purple and white flowering plants along the way and an abundance of gnarled evergreen trees and cacti.

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The trail to Landscape, Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches.
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Tunnel Arch

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Pine Tree Arch

 

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Pine Tree Arch from another angle.

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Landscape Arch

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We barely put a dent on the list of 2,000 arches, but managed to have an amazing day.

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Approaching Double Arch.
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This reminded us of the Sphinx.
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Double Arch – Again, spot people hiking in the center of the photo for some perspective.  It really was massive.

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Jan and Dawne in front of Landscape Arch.

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Doing my best impression of Balanced Rock.

 

 

 

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