Arches National Park -- Landscape Arch (4-21-17)
At over 290-feet in length, Landscape Arch is the longest arch within Arches National Park and the fifth longest arch on the planet. With a width barely exceeding six feet at its thinnest the massive arch presents itself as being impossibly delicate to a point where it almost seems to defy the laws of physics. In fact there is some argument regarding how imminent the collapse of Landscape Arch might be. In the 1990's two massive slabs of rock broke off forcing the closure of the trail beneath it. It is unclear whether these collapses weakened or rather strengthened the arch by shedding weight. Regardless Landscape Arch is a magnificent and graceful wonder of nature and, upon completing this little hike, we felt privileged to have been able to witness its improbable beauty.
Landscape Arch is accessed via a short, well-traveled path which extends from the northern terminus of the park road at an area called Devil's Garden. By the time one arrives at the north end of the road all of Arches natural wonders will have passed by your windshield...rock spires of every shape and color, cliffs, hodoos, and of course arches of every shape and size. At Devil's Garden all of these wonders are still seen, but instead of being spread over many miles all are crammed together in one magnificently jumbled and ruggedly beautiful landscape of many colors. The short journey to reach the arch is therefore as much of an enjoyment as the arch itself. The trail itself is well-graded and easy to follow (and often, I might add, crowded) as it gently winds its way through rock formations of every description over its one-mile length. There's little elevation change either so this trail is suitable for just about anyone, thus its popularity. The more adventurous also have the option of continuing on beyond Landscape Arch into the most rugged part of the Devil's Garden where slot canyons, cliffs, and even more arches await.
Unfortunately for us time was running short on our visit to Arches when we arrived at the trailhead. Still wanting to make it over to neighboring Canyonlands National Park this day we only had about an hour to make a quick trek out to Landscape Arch and get back on the road. Despite the rush though, this was still a wonderful hike. It's hard for the landscape of Arches to disappoint and we enjoyed every last minute we had to experience it. After completing the hike we decided to also make a few quick stops for pictures at some of the more famous roadside landmarks of the park, which I've also decided to include in this album. So, without further adieu I present to you our last quick walk at Arches National Park. This is a brief one but, I think you'll agree, certainly doesn't lack for natural eye-candy. So come along with us as we visit the longest arch at Arches and, as always...ENJOY!!!
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 38.782876, -109.594878
Route Type: Out-and-back Difficulty: EASY (Petzoldt Rating: 2.30 )
Mileage Hiked: 1.9 miles Hike Duration: 1:00
Trailhead Temp: 65'F Trail Traffic: 100+ people
Min. Elevation: 5,200' Max. Elevation: 5,300'
Total Vertical Gain: 200' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 105'
Trails Used (blaze color): Devil's Garden Trail (unblazed)