USGS Logo Geological Survey Bulletin 1393
The Geologic Story of Arches National Park


How to See the Park

AS APTLY STATED on a poster in the Visitor Center, how to see the park depends in part upon the question "How long can you stay?" Inasmuch as the park entrance and Visitor Center are beside a through U.S. Highway (163), many motorists first become aware of the park's existence from the entrance sign, and some take time for at least a quick visit, such as a round trip to The Windows section, which can be made in an hour or so.

For those who have or take more time and are able to walk at least short distances, a visit of 1 or 2 days is a very rewarding experience. Others, particularly avid shutter bugs and those with camping gear, profitably spend from several days to a week or more and hike all or most of the trails.

Regardless of how long you plan to spend, I urge at least a brief stop at the Visitor Center, where excellent displays and a narrated slide show help materially in conveying just what the park has to offer. At the counter you can purchase a copy of "The Guide to an Auto Tour of Arches National Park," which explains the views from each of 25 numbered stops along the park road, as well as other reports describing arches or other parks and monuments.

The park is open the year round, but, like most high deserts, it gets rather hot in the summer and cold enough in the winter for occasional snows and is sometimes closed temporarily because of heavy snowfall. The weather generally is ideal during the spring and fall. Even though summer daytime temperatures may exceed 100°F (37.8°C) and slow down hikers, the nights are cool enough for comfortable sleeping beneath ample covers.

Before beginning our trip through the park proper, let us consider a beautiful part many people fail to realize actually belongs to the park—the Colorado River canyon forming the southeastern boundary.

<<< Previous <<< Contents >>> Next >>>

Last Updated: 8-Jan-2007