“A landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world.” Arches National Park Service
-Salt played a huge role in the formation of Arches National Park. The highly pressurized flowing salt layer (like deep glacier ice) forced it’s way upward, splitting the top layers of sandstone. This left it to be eroded into arches. Thank goodness precipitation rates were right and there was little tectonic activity in the area. Arches are just so cool.
-You can find 80 year old clumps of living dirt at Arches. This is called cryptobiotic soil, or cryptobiotic crust. It helps keep the Arches area from becoming a barren wasteland by holding together the sands, rocks, and soil. Visitors are asked to not go off-trail as this might trample the crust, undoing years of slow accumulation of lichens, cyanobacteria, fungi, bryophytes, and algae. “Don’t bust the crust.”
-Delicate Arch, the most famous arch in Arches, was originally called by cowboys “Chaps” or “Schoolmarm’s Bloomers”.
-Delicate Arch was not originally included in the older Arches National Monument. It was within the boundaries, however, when it was expanded in 1938
-In the ’50’s, the National Park Service thought about coating Delicate Arch in plastic to protect it. They abandoned the idea because of impracticality and, well, you really don’t shrink-wrap your nice jewelry, do you? It totally would have been anti-principal, so it was rejected.
-At Arches National Park, arches have to have openings at least 3 feet across in order to gain the title.
-In 2008, Wall Arch collapsed and no-one saw it.
P.S.: We would love for you to share one of your funniest experiences at Arches or any other national park in the comments.
“… I read “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey–which takes place primarily in Arches… Abbey paints the landscape so beautifully and it would be so lovely to get out there one day and see it for myself.” It’s A Britta Bottle .com
It’s an amazing world of science out there…let’s go exploring!!
National Park Service
The Sierra Club Guides to the National Parks: Desert Southwest