After the Colorado National Monument, we were thinking of visiting Dinosaur National Monument, but at the time, lousy weather (cold, rain, snow) was dropping down from Wyoming into the northern parts of Utah, so we gave Dinosaur a pass, sigh. Anyway, it was an easy day’s travel from Grand Junction to Moab, which is just south of the Arches National Park. We stayed in the Moab KOA.
There is a fine campsite (Devil’s Garden) in the northern reaches of the park itself, but you have to get there early to get a spot (ie. 7-8am in the morning!). The camp in the park is very close to the trailhead for the “Landscape Arch”. The trailhead parking fills up really quickly during the day, so camping inside the park is a real plus. Sadly, we started from the Moab KOA and even though we went directly to the “Landscape Arch” trailhead (about 9am) the parking lot was already full, so we did not get to see it, sigh. However there are a lot of other arches to see!
Arch formation is due to the development of free-standing fins and subsequent exfoliation of layers of rock from the central flat surfaces of the fin. When the process happens from both sides of the fin and eventually meet in the middle, you get an arch. The fins are created from (Entrada) sandstone that is domed upwards over a salt bed and thus has fractured into vertical joints.