100 Days of National Parks: Day 42 – Landscape Arch, Arches National Park

Landscape Arch

 

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Sometimes the places you visit are so clearly ephemeral and short-lived that being there takes on added meaning.  Walking along the Devil’s Garden Trail in Arches National Park and seeing the long, narrow span of Landscape Arch, the longest freestanding natural arch in the world, is just such an experience.

Time and the elements are both the creator and the destroyer of all of the magnificent arches in the sandstone wonderland that is Arches National Park, as wind and water carve the Entrada sandstone out over centuries and millennia into the impressive formations we see today.  Landscape arch is on the verge of total collapse, with three huge sections having fallen off of it since 1991, and the remaining sliver of rock that supports nearly 290 feet of stone is unlikely to last for much longer.  The 1991 partial collapse of a 71 foot section of the arch was particularly noteworthy, being caught on video by a passing visitor.

The 306 foot span stands far removed from accessible trails now, though once it was possible to walk up and under the impressive formation.  Seen at a distance, it’s no less striking, made more so by the almost impossible narrowness of the rock, only 6 feet thick at its thinnest point.

If you’re passing through the Moab area, I highly recommend taking the hike through the Devil’s Garden Trail and seeing this and almost a dozen other arches that make up this amazing section of the Park.  Who knows how long it will last.

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