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Best Things to do In Yosemite National Park

Yosemite - Tunnel View

Charming meadows, stunning valleys, mountains and waterfalls with magnificent beauty that will strike awe in everyone who visits this amazing place. It is hard to describe how incredible the Yosemite National Park is, that’s why it’s easier to quote the man whose writings helped to preserve and establish the Yosemite National Park that can be visited today.

“It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” Words that still ring true, written by legendary naturalist and mountaineer John Muir. If a sentence like this describes the Yosemite National Park, you know you are up for something truly special! Let’s wait no more, and discover the best things to do in one of the most famous and beautiful national parks of them all, the Yosemite.

Hiking & Backpacking

Yosemite - Falls
When you visit a national park with such diversity like Yosemite, there is no doubt that hiking and backpacking will be your best bet to experience the epic natural surroundings. And Yosemite is simply outstanding for hiking and trekking lovers! The park hosts all kind of trails from strenuous and challenging treks to moderate and easy walks. Every single one of them has their own distinctive rewards. But only for those who dare to step foot into the wild! Striking mountains, breathtaking vistas, spectacular waterfalls, and marvelous lakes. Hiking and backpacking will reveal all the gems and jewels that Yosemite has to offer. With 95% of protected wilderness and more than one thousand square miles of pristine nature, the trails of Yosemite National Park will show you how beautiful this part of the Sierras can be!

Rock Climbing

Yosemite - Clouds
From the legendary El Capitan to the iconic Half Dome, there’s no secret that Yosemite National Park is one of the best playgrounds on the planet for rock climbing enthusiasts. Rock climbing is a year-round activity in the park, with various programs from Yosemite Mountaineering School to help achieve a great experience regardless of your ability. From half-day and full-day climbs to multiple-day and overnight sessions and adventures, Yosemite has it all for climbing lovers, world-class athletes, and aspiring beginner climbers. The choice is yours in the unlimited climbing arena that is Yosemite National Park!

Water Play

Yosemite - Merced River
From tubing on the Merced River to fishing and exploring, you must take advantage of the great water activities at Yosemite! You can do some amazing fishing for rainbow and brown trout in the lakes, streams and rivers at Yosemite National Park — but you’ll want to make sure you follow all the rules and regulations! The season for stream and river fishing begins on the last Saturday in April and continues through November 15. All lakes and reservoirs are open to fishing year-round. Fishing supplies are available in Yosemite. Fishing licenses (for those over 16) are available at the Mountain Shop at Half Dome Village (formerly Curry Village) and the Pioneer Gift & Grocery in Wawona.


Yosemite - Bird Watching
Whether it’s a crisp mountain breeze, a lovely stream or powerful waterfall, nature sounds are always soothing and harmonious. But here, in Yosemite National Park one of the most melodic notes comes from one of the most lovely inhabitants of the park. With nearly 200 species of birds migrating, breeding and wintering in Yosemite, birdwatching is one of the essential activities that combines educational and adventurous aspects to create an unforgettable experience! From the Acorn woodpecker, American robin to Ravens and beautiful Western tanagers, to mention a few, Yosemite National Park is home to birds worth discovering and admiring.

Ranger & Other Programs

Whether its for you or maybe your curious kids, consider participating in one of the Yosemite’s programs to tackle the informative side of Yosemite. For the little ones keen on becoming real explorers and rangers, the most notable program is Junior Rangers where kids aged 7-13 take a one-hour Junior Ranger Walk while completing activity book and picking up litter to keep the park clean.
Yosemite - Ranger
If you are up for packing in some knowledge too, opt for simple programs to spice up your stay and make your other activities much more interesting. Participating in free programs like the Naturalist Stroll, you’ll only spend an hour, while the naturalist will shed some light on Yosemite’s trees, John Muir and more. Or be entertained by listening to stories about native people, early settlers, geology and nature with Yosemite Ranger Walks & Talks. All kinds of programs are available in the park, and are easy to fit in your adventurous schedule!

Winter Activities

Yosemite - Winter
Winter is where a national park like Yosemite turns into something special and magical with plenty of different activities to tackle. This is where you will find even more tranquility and solitude. While some trails are accessible during the winter and snowshoeing is available, the most fun attractions are winter sports like cross-country skiing, snowboarding and ice skating. Take a look at the snowy Half Dome while ice skating at Half Dome Village Ice Rink or visit the oldest downhill skiing area in California, the Yosemite Ski & Snowboard Area. Other opportunities like snow tubing or sledding are also available in the park. Winter is a wonderful time of year to experience nature from a different perspective and conquer the Yosemite National Park with new challenges.

There you go! All you need now is to embrace the opportunities and beautiful adventures Yosemite National Park has to offer. With so many different activities and attractions combined with the vastness of the park and not-to-be-missed marvels of nature, consider planning extensively beforehand to make sure you’re ready and good to go once you arrive!

Glacier National Park

Click Here to See the Yosemite National Park Poster

Rob Decker is a photographer, artist and craftsman who is passionate about preserving the nostalgic style of the WPA-era. Rob had the rare privilege of studying under renowned photographer Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park when he was just 19 years old. Now, Rob’s creating WPA-style posters of our national parks. He’s picking up where the masters from that time left off, building on what they began to create a whole new body of National Park poster art for today’s generation. Every Limited Edition poster, Artist Proof and postcard he produces is printed in the USA on “Conservation” a 100% recycled, domestically produced stock with soy-based inks. And they are printed by one of the greenest printers in America, right here in Colorado.

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Best Things to do in Glacier National Park

Glacier - Lake McDonald - Winter

Are you ready for something extraordinary and spectacular? Located in Montana‘s Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park will dazzle you with its mirror lakes, jaw-dropping scenery, wild nature, and picturesque snow-capped peaks. With over one million acres, you could spend a lifetime exploring and experiencing this unbelievable spectacle of nature. Read on to discover the best things to do in Glacier National Park.

I’m a photographer and outdoor enthusiast and have been to more than 40 of our amazing national parks — including Glacier. I’ve explored many areas of the park — so I’m ready to help! Whether this is your first time to Glacier, or if you are returning after many years and would like to be re-introduced to the park — this list of the best things to do is just for you!

Drive Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road

Connecting east and west side entrances, the Going-to-the-sun road is one of the most popular and iconic attractions in Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park - Going to the Sun Road

Sit back and enjoy the 50-mile ride enchanted in sweeping views of nature with mighty mountains, snowy peaks, sparkling glacier lakes, and beautiful waterfalls. I recommended holding your breath — because the amazing views along this road just might take it away!

Go Hiking

Venturing out on the picturesque trails and camping in the heart of nature is hands down, one of the best things you can do in Glacier National Park.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Glacier offers something for everyone. Short hikes or long, Glacier sports more than 700 miles of trails for all comers. Overnight trips provide the perfect opportunity for camping . It’s clear why more than a half of the park visitors decide to embark on a journey through these epic trails. Yes, the views from a car window are just as spectacular, but don‘t limit yourself because the wild & marvelous world can only be truly discovered through the pathways of nature!

Drift On The Glacial Waterways

Whether its canoeing, kayaking, rafting or simply taking a boat tour, drifting along the magical lakes of Glacier National Park is simply a must!

Glacier National Park - Glacial Waterways

After all, the park hosts more than 700 bodies of water within its territory and they are nothing short of spectacular. The biggest, Lake Mcdonald, leads the way and draws countless visitors. Enjoy the crisp air and sparkling waters while taking a look and soaking up the experience from a different angle while drifting peacefully along the pristine glacial lakes.

Participate in Guided Tours

Feeling like learning while doing something fun or maybe you found yourself simply looking for more alternatives?

Glacier National Park - Lake McDonald - Kayak

Another great way to enjoy and experience the stunning park is participating in one of the many guided tours. Glacier National Park offers a great variety of quality guided tours for any type of traveler and adventure seeker! From educational Field Courses to backpacking and Horseback Riding to traditional guided affairs like boat tours, guided hikes and more — you’ll find it in this beautiful corner of the world!

Glide & Ski On Snow-White Blankets

Known for record-breaking amounts of snow, there is good news for winter and snow activity lovers as well!

Glacier National Park - Deer in Snow

While the majority of visitors come in summer, especially for the drive-through opportunity, winter time in the park becomes one big moment of tranquility. Glacier National Park presents great opportunities for backcountry skiing, snowboarding or downhill skiing at one of the nearby resorts. Take the opportunity to see the park when it’s dressed in white, avoid the crowds and have the adventure of a lifetime while gliding along its snowy trails.

As you can see, Glacier National Park doesn‘t shy away from hosting many wonderful opportunities for those seeking to experience it. If Glacier National Park wasn‘t on your bucket list, make sure to put it in there because this place will turn you into a storyteller and bring out the adventurer you never thought you knew!

Glacier National Park

Click Here to See the Glacier National Park Poster

Rob Decker is a photographer, artist and craftsman who is passionate about preserving the nostalgic style of the WPA-era. Rob had the rare privilege of studying under renowned photographer Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park when he was just 19 years old. Now, Rob’s creating WPA-style posters of our national parks. He’s picking up where the masters from that time left off, building on what they began to create a whole new body of National Park poster art for today’s generation. Every Limited Edition poster, Artist Proof and postcard he produces is printed in the USA on “Conservation” a 100% recycled, domestically produced stock with soy-based inks. And they are printed by one of the greenest printers in America, right here in Colorado.

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Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower was the first United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. An astounding geologic feature, Devils Tower protrudes out of the prairie surrounding the Black Hills. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to learn more, explore more and define our place in the natural and cultural world and is considered sacred by Northern Plains Indians and indigenous people.

Devils Tower (also known as Bear Lodge Butte) is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains — part of the Black Hills — near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet above sea level.

The landscape surrounding Devils Tower is composed mostly of sedimentary rocks. The oldest rocks visible in Devils Tower National Monument were laid down in a shallow sea during the mid- to late-Triassic period, 225 to 195 million years ago. This dark red sandstone and maroon siltstone, interbedded with shale, can be seen along the Belle Fourche River. Oxidation of iron minerals causes the redness of the rocks. This rock layer is known as the Spearfish Formation.

In recent years, climbing Devils Tower has increased in popularity. The first known ascent of Devils Tower by any method occurred on July 4, 1893, and is accredited to William Rogers and Willard Ripley, local ranchers in the area. The first ascent using modern climbing techniques was made by Fritz Wiessner with William P. House and Lawrence Coveney in 1937. Wiessner led almost the entire climb free, placing only a single piece of fixed gear, a piton, which he later regretted, deeming it unnecessary.

In 1941 George Hopkins parachuted onto Devils Tower, without permission, as a publicity stunt resulting from a bet. He had intended to descend by a 1,000 foot rope dropped to him after successfully landing on the butte, but the package containing the rope slid over the edge. The weather deteriorated, and a second attempt was made to drop equipment, but Hopkins deemed it unusable after the rope became snarled and frozen due to the rain and wind. Hopkins was stranded for six days, before a mountain rescue team finally reached him and brought him down.

Today, hundreds of climbers scale the sheer rock walls of Devils Tower each summer. The most common route is the Durrance Route, which was the second free route established in 1938. There are many established and documented climbing routes covering every side of the tower, ascending the various vertical cracks and columns of the rock. The difficulty of these routes range from relatively easy to some of the most challenging in the world. Climbers are required to register with a park ranger before and after attempting a climb.

Devils Tower National Monument

Click here to see the Devils Tower National Monument poster.

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Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

The mountains of Grand Teton National Park rise above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain. The granite and gneiss composing the core of the Teton Range are some of the oldest rocks in North America, but the mountains are among the youngest in the world. The park was established in 1929, and today you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.

Grand Teton National Park is located in northwestern Wyoming. At approximately 310,000 acres, the park includes the major peaks of the 40-mile-long Teton Range as well as most of the northern sections of the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, to which it is connected by the National Park Service-managed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Along with surrounding national forests, these three protected areas constitute the almost 18,000,000-acres.

Efforts to preserve the area as a national park began in the late 19th century, and in 1929 Grand Teton National Park was established, protecting the Teton Range’s major peaks. The valley of Jackson Hole remained in private ownership until the 1930s, when conservationists led by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. began purchasing land in Jackson Hole to be added to the existing national park. Against public opinion and with repeated Congressional efforts to repeal the measures, much of Jackson Hole was set aside for protection as Jackson Hole National Monument in 1943. The monument was abolished in 1950 and most of the monument land was added to Grand Teton National Park.

Grand Teton National Park is named for Grand Teton, the tallest mountain in the Teton Range. The naming of the mountains is attributed to early 19th-century French-speaking trappers: les trois tétons (the three teats) was later anglicized and shortened to Tetons. At 13,775 feet, Grand Teton abruptly rises more than 7,000 feet above Jackson Hole, almost 850 feet higher than Mount Owen, the second-highest summit in the range.

Jackson Lake, Grand Teton National Park

The park has numerous lakes, including 15-mile-long Jackson Lake as well as streams of varying length and the upper main stem of the Snake River. Visitors can explore the Jenny Lake District on foot, by boat or bicycle while enjoying dramatic mountain scenery. Hike into Cascade Canyon past Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point; ascend from sagebrush meadows to alpine lakes; or pass through forested trails into Paintbrush Canyon.

Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park

Photographers, wildlife watchers and history buffs will all enjoy a stop at the Mormon Row Historic District. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this tract of land was founded as a Mormon ranch settlement in the 1890s and to this day contains preserved homesteads and barns that provide a compelling foreground to the Teton Range in the backdrop. If you’re lucky, you might see some antelope or other mammals grazing.

Enter the Menors Ferry Historic District and be transported back to the Wild West when William (Bill) D. Menor settled beside the Snake River at the turn of the century and built the ferry that transported people across the river. Along with preserved 19th-century barns and cabins, the district features a working general store. Stop in at the Chapel of the Transfiguration for an awe-inspiring view of Grand Teton. This 1920s log chapel, which hosts Sunday services in the summer, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contains an enormous window that overlooks Grand Teton.

Grand Teton National Park is a popular destination for mountaineering, hiking, fishing and other forms of recreation. There are more than 1,000 drive-in campsites and over 200 miles of hiking trails that provide access to backcountry camping areas. Noted for world-renowned trout fishing, the park is one of the few places to catch Snake River fine-spotted cutthroat trout. Grand Teton has several National Park Service-run visitor centers, and privately operated concessions for motels, lodges, gas stations and marinas.

Grand Teton National Park 90th AnniversaryThe original Grand Teton National Park poster features the Grand Teton Range as seen from the Snake River Overlook.

Click here to learn more…


Grand Teton National Park - Jenny LakeJenny Lake at Grand Teton National Park, as seen from the Cascade Canyon Overlook.
Click here to learn more…

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February 25th is Bryce Canyon’s 91st Birthday!!!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Hoodoos! Odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion — are found on every continent, but Bryce Canyon boasts the largest collection of hoodoos in the world! Despite its name, the major feature of Bryce Canyon is a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southwest Utah featuring thousands of Hoodoos, some up to 200 feet high. Formed by frost weathering and stream erosion, the red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views. In fact, on a clear day, the visibility at Bryce Canyon National Park often exceeds 100 miles! This is due to exceptional air quality, low humidity and high elevation.

The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon became a National Monument in 1923 and was designated as a National Park in 1928. The park covers 35,835 acres but sees relatively few visitors compared to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, largely due to its remote location.

The park also has a 7.4 magnitude night sky, making it one of the darkest in North America. Stargazers can see 7,500 stars with the naked eye, while in most places fewer than 2,000 can be seen due to light pollution, and in many large cities only a few dozen can be seen.

Along with Bryce Canyon, Acadia National Park, Grand Teton National Park and Grand Canyon National Park have their anniversaries in February.

Now you can SAVE 50% OFF the Bryce Canyon National Park poster — or any National Park Poster — at Just place four or more posters in your cart and use coupon code: BUY2GET2 when you check out!

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February 26th is Grand Canyon National Park’s 100th Birthday

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon — 277 miles long, and up to 18 miles wide reaches a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet) — exposes nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. The canyon is the result of erosion which exposes one of the most complete geologic columns on the planet and is often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Continue reading February 26th is Grand Canyon National Park’s 100th Birthday

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Celebrating the Life & Times of Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams ion Yosemite National Park

February 20th is Ansel Adams’ Birthday…

Many of you may know that I had the rare privilege to study under Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park when I was just 19 years old. And as the years go by, I appreciate that experience more and more. Even at 19, I had already been working with black and white film for a solid decade before Adam’s taught me his “Zone System”. And I would spend another two decades continuing to work in black and white and hone my craft.

Photographing Yosemite National Park with Ansel Adams…sure wish I had thought about taking a selfie back in 1979!

Yosemite National Park is an amazing “classroom” and we spent time photographing the Valley, the Merced River, as well as up in the high country of the Sierra Nevadas. But as much as the instruction, I remember some of the social time we had in the evenings, including cocktails with Ansel and his wife Virginia. I was 19 and they were in their late 70s and it was markedly clear that they were from a different era. Over the years, I’ve read most of what Ansel published, as well as what has been written about him. What an amazing life to have traveled this country — and particularly to our National Parks — seeing many of these places in more pristine condition than we do today, with the crowds and restrictions in place now.

At 19, I was pretty awestruck in his presence. I remember scraping together the last bit of cash I had for the summer — just enough to buy two of his books at the bookstore in Yosemite — The Negative and The Print seemed like the obvious choices. And then, in a bit more brazened move, I asked him to autograph them! Honestly, to this day, I can’t think of anything more cherished.

The Negative and The Print, my autographed copies

Now, the National Park Poster Project lets me share these incredible places — many of which Ansel Adams visited and photographed — with people from all over the world, and I hope in some small way, helps to encourage the next generation of National Park supporters. It also provides me with a way to give back, and in the last year, I made financial contributions to the National Park Foundation, the Yosemite Conservancy, Washington’s National Park Fund, the Glacier Conservancy, the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, the Western National Parks Association, Eastern National, Conservancy for Cuyahoga National Park, and Yellowstone Forever. In addition, I have been able to donate posters to Washington’s National Park Fund, the Glacier Conservancy and others for their silent auctions to help with their fundraising efforts.

Ansel Adams, who in addition to being an amazing photographer — was also an environmentalist who was realistic about development and the subsequent loss of habitat. Adams advocated for balanced growth, but was pained by the ravages of “progress”. In his autobiography, he stated that, “We all know the tragedy of the dustbowls, the cruel unforgivable erosions of the soil, the depletion of fish or game, and the shrinking of the noble forests. And we know that such catastrophes shrivel the spirit of the people… The wilderness is pushed back, man is everywhere. Solitude, so vital to the individual man, is almost nowhere.”

Ansel Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916…it would be another 50 years before my first visit…the first of many. Today, it remains one of my most favorite National Parks, not just for the awe-inspiring beauty that is Yosemite, but also for the memories of camping with my family, backpacking the high country with friends, and of course, the summer of 1979 studying under one of the true masters!

I’ve just re-printed the 2018 edition of the Yosemite National Park poster, and new Artist Proofs are now available as well. Artist Proofs are the first 25 prints pulled from the print run, and feature the pressman’s color bars at the bottom of the print. The pressman uses these color bars to maintain quality, color balance and registration throughout the print run. Prints are dated, signed and numbered 1-25/25. They are very popular, and many have already been sold.

You can see the Artist Proof here:

Yosemite National Park Artist Proof

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How You Can Help our National Parks

Yellowstone Shutdown

The 35 day partial government shutdown had a huge negative impact on our national parks — and that was on top of the $11.6 billion dollar backlog for repairs or maintenance on roads, buildings, utility systems, and other structures and facilities.

The shutdown reduced the National Park Service’s 25,000-strong workforce to just more than 3,000 across it’s 418 sites. Trash piled up, toilets overflowed, protected trees were cut down and vandalism was rampant.

But the shutdown also brought out the best in people who helped to remove trash, staff information tables and made financial contributions to organizations that support our national parks.

And there are still plenty of opportunities to make these amazing places even better!

The National Park Service offers a variety of volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups as part of the Volunteers-In-Parks program. You can work behind the scenes or on the front lines, serving alongside park employees or with one of the many partner organizations. Opportunities are available at park locations throughout the United States, including the territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Some positions are specialized and require particular talents, knowledge, skills, and abilities, as well as a background check. Other positions only require a desire and willingness to volunteer. Individuals under the age of 18 must have written consent of the parent or legal guardian before they may volunteer.

The National Park Foundation — the official nonprofit partner of the National Park Service — encourages people to learn about volunteer opportunities. Many parks have independent “Friends” groups coordinating volunteer efforts locally.

In January, the National Park Foundation created a restoration fund for parks needing the most help. By supporting the Parks Restoration Fund, your donations will go to the parks that need help the most. The National Park Foundation will be able to work with the National Park Service and with park partners to assess needs and provide clean up efforts.

As we head into another busy travel season, get out and see the amazing landscapes, learn about our vibrant culture and rich history at a national park, seashore, lakeshore, recreation area, or at one of the many memorials and monuments across this great nation.

*Photo courtesy, National Park Foundation

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National Take A Hike Day — November 17th

Take A Hike Day

National Take a Hike Day is observed each year on November 17. With over 60,000 miles of trails in the National Trail System across the 50 states, there are plenty of opportunities for you to take a hike.

Events are scheduled on National Take A Hike Day around the country to celebrate! But you can just spend the day exploring hiking trails in and around your town. Make sure you carry enough food and water with you and tell your family and friends where you are going. Research has shown that hiking can have many health and social benefits. Considered to be a good way to exercise, hiking can have all the benefits associated with walking in nature – it can reduce stress, increase heart activity and reduce blood pressure.

Be sure to wear good shoes, take a snack and bring a buddy! Get out there and enjoy the fresh air, scenery can get a little exercise too!

Click here to learn more about some of the most amazing places to take a hike — our National Parks!


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Celebrate Arches National Park’s Anniversary, November 12th

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

A Red Rock Wonderland

Visit Arches National Park and discover an amazing landscape of landforms, textures and contrasting colors unlike any other place in the world. The park features more than 2,000 natural stone arches, hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. Discover this red rock wonderland and be amazed by its natural formations, beautiful colors and inspiring sunsets.

Arches National Park lies north of Moab in Utah. Bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, it’s known as the site of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east. Long, thin Landscape Arch stands in Devils Garden to the north. Other geological formations include Balanced Rock, towering over the desert landscape in the middle of the park.

The park lies above an underground evaporite layer or salt bed, which is the main cause of the formation of the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths. Over millions of years, the salt bed was covered with debris eroded from the Uncompahgre Uplift to the northeast.

Except for isolated remnants, the major formations visible in the park today are the salmon-colored Entrada Sandstone, in which most of the arches form, and the buff-colored Navajo Sandstone. These are visible in layer cake fashion throughout most of the park. Over time, water seeped into the surface cracks, joints, and folds of these layers. Ice formed in the fissures, expanding and putting pressure on surrounding rock, breaking off bits and pieces. Winds later cleaned out the loose particles. A series of free-standing fins remained. Wind and water attacked these fins until, in some, the cementing material gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out. Many damaged fins collapsed. Others, with the right degree of hardness and balance, survived despite their missing sections. These became the famous arches.

Although the park’s terrain may appear rugged and durable, it is extremely fragile. More than 1 million visitors each year threaten the fragile high desert ecosystem. The problem lies within the soil’s crust which is composed of cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, and lichens that grow in the dusty parts of the park.

Arches National Park

Click here to see the Arches National Park poster.

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