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Arches National Park

More than 2,000 arches, some small, some large enough to span rivers, are located in Arches National Park. All of the park's major attractions are open year-round, and the winter can be an excellent time to visit.

Many of the famous sites in the park — the Windows, Double Arch, Courthouse Towers — are accessible by vehicle. Others, including Delicate Arch, the park's most famous landmark, require a bit of hiking. Delicate Arch is located about 1.5 miles from the trailhead. The trail is well-marked, but it does ascend several hundred feet. It should be considered a moderate hike. The arch can be a spectacular sight in the winter, with the snow-covered LaSal Mountains in the background. Watch for ice and patches of snow on the trail.

Longer hikes are available, too. The Devils Garden, located in the northern end of the park, is probably the best hike to see large numbers of arches in a more natural setting. Eight major arches are located along the two-mile, one-way trail. The trail is easy walking.

Often overlooked are miles of roads and trails in the park backcountry. Permits are required to camp in these areas, but day hikes and drives require no permit. It's a good idea to check in at the visitor center to let rangers know where you're going anytime you head into the backcountry.

The park's sole campground is at the Devil's Garden. It's open during the winter, but the drinking water is shut off. Water is available at the visitor center.

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Written by Jim Wright for GORP.
©1998 Greer Consulting Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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