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In Search of the Golden Arches

Posted by on April 28, 2014

Golden Arches, not what you might be thinking… but rather some of this country’s most unique landscape I have ever seen. It’s in Arches National Park.   Impossible for me to capture the beauty of this place in a photograph, but I do have the memories that I won’t soon forget.  It turns out we visited at a very good time. We were in between events in Moab, (The Easter Jeep Safari  and the April Action Car Show)  so not too many visitors and the cool temperatures meant parking was available at the trail heads and comfortable hiking weather.  The weather here was overcast a couple days and then the bright blue skies appeared with light breezes.. Perfect!









Below are photos of South Window up close and then the view through the window. Click for a larger view:



Window Arch

North and South Windows


View from Firey Furnace

View from Fiery Furnace


Viewpoint at Fiery Furnace

Trail to the viewpoint at Fiery Furnace



Jeep and the ledge-2

Tower of Babel


You can see quite a few of these magnificent views and arches from your car, but to experience both the scale and color you need to head out on several of the trails. The silence as you sit up close to these mountains with windows is enough to give you a feeling that all is well with the universe, at least for a few moments.  You wouldn’t want to miss this experience. 

Three Gossips

It’s named Three Gossips but from this angle,  I call it 4 Sisters


Courthouse Tower

Courthouse Tower



Trail Markers

Cairns – Trail Markers, help you follow the trails





Turret Arch late afternoon

Turret Arch late afternoon


Water and Ice, extreme temperatures and underground salt movement are responsible for the sculptured rocks  in Arches National Park. They report there are over 2000 arches of various sizes in the park, from 3 foot openings to 306 feet base to base.


Click image for larger view:




In 1898, a nagging leg injury from the Civil War prompted 69-year-old John Wesley Wolfe to leave his home in Ohio and seek a drier climate. He brought his oldest son, Fred, with him out west, and the two settled a 100+-acre property along Salt Wash, now the location of the trail head to upper Delicate Arch. The property had fresh water, enough grassland to feed a few head of cattle, and plenty of peace and quiet.


Wolfe Cabin-

The Wolfe Cabin and Ranch


Wolfe Cabin-

Imagine living all 4 seasons in this cabin for 10 years just the two of them.


In 1906,  John’s daughter, Flora, made the westward trek with her husband, Ed Stanley, and two young children, Esther and Ferol. Appalled by the condition in which her father and brother lived, Flora demanded they build a new cabin with a wooden floor and real windows. John obliged, creating the small (17 x 15 ft ) but sturdy cabin made of cottonwood logs that remains in the park to this day. He also constructed a root cellar, irrigation dams, and a corral. All six family members lived and slept under the distinctive thatch-and-clay roof for just two years, when the Stanleys resettled in nearby Moab.  John, Fred, and all the rest finally returned to Ohio in 1910, where John remained until his death in 1913 at the age of eighty-four.


The trail to Delicate Arch, possibly the most famous arch in the park is just about 3 miles. Starting out on a firm trail it quickly ascends up over slickrock for about 1/2 mile before becoming an uneven trail through the rocks. There is absolutely no shade or ‘porta-potties” on this hike.  But you really need to take all the water you can pack. It’s an elevation gain of 480+ feet which isn’t much, but if the sun is beating on you you’ll want to keep yourself hydrated.  Try to take this one in the morning, the best would be to fire up the headlamps and get to the top before the sun hits the arch for the ultimate photo. The last few 100 feet is a narrow flat slab of sandstone but the dropoff is rather steep, so if you go up for the sunrise be especially careful in that area.  What a prize when you get to the top. You just want to sit there for a long time and just enjoy the view.
The beginning of Delicate Arch Trail

The beginning of Delicate Arch Trail




Click for larger photo:



hiker on narrow trail2

Hiker on the narrow path to Delicate Arch


Delicate Arch - 5-3159

 Click on thumbnail for larger view:

Lower Delicate Arch Trail

View of Delicate Arch from the lower trail



Just before the turn to The Windows Section you can’t help but see Balanced Rock.  Not much of a hike to see this one.  Very Beautiful



The Garden Of Eden

garden of eden

The View from Garden of Eden area




Click for larger image of the rock climbers:

Another “America the Beautiful” experience the past 4 days.  Moab is a very busy place, not many places to boondock and RV parks fill up quickly when there is an event in town.  We needed to move on because the town was getting ready to host a classic car show bringing in over 700 rods, muscle cars, and classics.

On our way now to Hanksville and Torrey Utah to put us near Capitol Reef National Park.



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