We came to the trailhead to walk up to the upper viewpoint. We could have taken the 3 mile trail directly to the arch, but it was very crowded and there was no place to park the car. So we went to the viewpoints. The lower one is an easy 100 yard walk while the upper one is about a half mile and climbs a couple of hundred feet over rough terrain. Fortunately our walking sticks worked really well here though there were some moments of excitement as we tried to climb up the rocks.
Delicate Arch from the upper viewpoint
The people you see in the picture took the 3 mile trail and had an even harder climb. Between the viewpoint where we went and the arch is a deep chasm so you can't just run across. Our viewpoint was crowded too and the primitive trail got a real workout.
After the upper viewpoint we went ahead and did the 100 yard walk to the lower viewpoint. It is almost as good as the upper one without all the hiking. But at least we can say we did both.
Then we went to another trailhead for Sand Dune and Broken Arches. The trail to Sand Dune Arch is short, only 2/10 of a mile, but you walk into a tight space between two rocks to get there. Once there, it is like being on a beach with all the sand.
You can actually climb up onto the arch and some kids were doing this while we were there.
A family even brought sand toys for their young ones. They must have been here before.
Then we hiked over to Broken Arch. We thought this was a 3/10 of a mile trail but as we started walking, we could see that this estimate was way off. It was more like 1.6 miles. Nevertheless we made it to the arch. You can climb up this one too and stand on top, but it is pretty rigorous so we didn't try that.
I was wondering why this was called Broken Arch. If you look carefully at the picture below, you can see a crack developing in the arch. So I guess that must be the reason. There was an arch that broke last August and fell and now it is just a pile of rocks. We saw home video that someone took of it falling during the intro movie at the visitor center on Wednesday. So sooner or later, they all break and new ones develop too.
After that hike, we drove down to a picnic area but it was totally full, so we just ate in the car. There were more arches to see but we were both tired from hiking at altitude. So we just went to the remaining viewpoints and took pictures.
The formation above is called "Balanced Rock" for obvious reasons. This one looks like it could fall next time the wind blows. You can actually hike up near this one for a better view.
Tomorrow, we will visit Canyonlands again, only this time we will go to the Needles section of the park, about 80 miles south of where we are now. Then we plan to leave on Sunday and head to Capitol Reef NP which has its own geological history.