Sunday, December 25, 2016

Winter Time at Arches National Partk

Visitors at Delicate Arch, December 20. 

Winter is the time to visit Arches National Park. The park has become so famous that it's almost un-visitable (if that's a word) for most of the year. Crowds, full parking lots, dumb visitors stopping their cars in the road to jump out and take pictures, blocking any traffic behind them. The National Park Service has weighed all options to relieving the overcrowding. Don't be surprised if they feel they have to go to a reservation system before long. Yes, just to drive into the park. That's how bad it's gotten.

Wintertime is much better, the only time I go there any more. The town of Moab is uncrowded, the motel rates are very reasonable if you're staying overnight, and the weather is not unbearably hot like in summer. Finally, in winter the distant La Sal Mountains are shining in the sun with a fresh coating of snow. Better photos.

From the entrance station at Arches (only one lane open, and I was the only vehicle at the time, giving me time to chat with the Ranger on duty) it was a 30 min. drive to the trailhead to Delicate Arch at Wolfe Ranch. The parking lot was only about half full. The weather was chilly but sunny, quite pleasant for a hike.

The 1.5 mile long hike took a leisurely 45 minutes to the arch. There was a small crowd of people there, but if you waited a bit you could get a closeup of Delicate Arch with nobody standing underneath it for their selfie picture. Or get one with a human posing to show the scale. Your choice.

If you use your imagination, Delicate Arch looks like a cowboy's legs, with leather chaps. Bowlegged and all. Nothing above the belt, though.

Delicate Arch and the distant La Sal Mountains.

Photo location: Arches National Park, near Moab, southeast Utah.

© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg