Arches National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Warnings and Dangers
    by blueskyjohn
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by blueskyjohn
  • Warnings and Dangers
    by blueskyjohn

Best Rated Warnings and Dangers in Arches National Park

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Stay on the trail !!!!!! Please !

    by Trekki Updated Mar 4, 2006

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    stay on the trail - please !
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    The hikes and paths in Arches National Park are marked well. Nevertheless, the park rangers hand out leaflets with warnings to stay on the trails. These warnings should be taken serious, as this protects the environment and prevents it from more damage than the day-to-day weathering is doing.
    The main reason for these warnings are the tiny living desert species, called "cryptobiotic soil". This soil or crust consists of various plants and microorganisms which live together in harmonic symbiosis. It is typical for arid regions, such as for the high plateau desert around Arches NP .
    It consists of cyanobacteria, lichens, mosses, algae, funghi, rhizoids and other microorganisms. Together with their by-products, they form a dense widely spreading crust on the ground with depths up to 10 cm.
    It's color is usually darker than sand or slickrock, but depends on the species that live together (lichens and cyanobacteria add to darker color).
    The crust has several functions, which are fascinating:
    * they build a solid ground and thus protect a bit against water and wind erosion;
    * cyanobacteria "digest" nitrogen from the air and convert it into a natural fertilizer for their symbiotic partners.

    So the cryptobiotic soil is a very important feature of the park - please respect this, consider and don't leave the trails.
    They grow approximately 1 mm/year, which means that one step onto the crust will destroy some 50-100 years of growth.

    Thanks for not leaving the trail :-)

    Who would like to read more about that fascinating soil - please check Kymba's page on El Morro :-) and the biological cust website

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Prevent forest or wildfires !!!

    by Trekki Written Sep 4, 2005

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    Please prevent forest fires !!!

    Hope, the officials don’t mind that I place Smokey Bear here to warn of forest fires. But, during all my travels in US I was fascinated of the successful campaign of creating the bear as a “living figure” to give the message to prevent forest fires.

    So: wherever you are in Arches National Park (and of course also outside of it) – be careful when lighting a fire.
    Don’t throw away cigarettes or matches, don’t cook with open fire when not protecting it against wind – the best of all would even be not to light a fire at all.

    It is said that 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans.

    A bit off-topic, but nevertheless interesting: Smokey Bear is actually based on an orphan baby black bear, who was found after a big forest fire in 1950.
    You can read more about this, and also about wildfires, what they do, and how to prevent them on Smokey Bears Website

    The pic is a 1953 poster of Smokey Bear campaigns.

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Extreme heat in summer ? bring enough water !!

    by Trekki Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    plain desert - hardly any shade
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    Wherever you drive or hike in Arches National Park, be aware that it is a high bassin desert. There is hardly any shade, and the summers can be extreme hot. Make sure, you bring enough water (4 l minimum per person in a hot summer).

    If you hike to Delicate Arch, this is even more important, as on the first half, there is zero shadow, and the hike can get quite strenous, even if you have enough to drink.

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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Delicate Arch – be careful when moving around

    by Trekki Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    behind the wall opeing - ouch - so steep !!
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    The terrain around Delicate Arch is pure slickrock, very slippery even when it’s not wet. Make sure, you have well gripping hiking boots, and even with them, take care for each step you do. The whole area is quite steep, and one wrong step might have you ended up with broken bones in the bassin or even deeper.

    The pics show how steep it is just outside of the opening in the wall, you might get into just close to Delicate Arch.
    The other one shows how polished the base of Delicate Arch is.

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  • Prepare

    by CoAir13 Written Feb 23, 2004

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    Sandy Trail

    If you are planning on doing some of the longer hikes, be prepared for terrain changes. There's slickrock, sand, rocky trails, and grassland. Wear good shoes. Carry plenty of water, it can get hot very quickly. Stick to the trails so you don't contribute to eroding landscapes. Watch for snakes!!

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  • Don't Bust The Crust!!!

    by CoAir13 Written Feb 25, 2004

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    Cryptobiotic Soil

    If you visit this part of Utah, you will, no doubt, hear a lot about cryptobiotic soil.....crypto, for short. While walking through the desert, you will notice clumps of brown/black crust, almost like dried up moss. This is actually mosses, soil lichens, algae, fungi, and bacteria that is very much alive and important to the desert environment. It not only holds the ground together, preventing erosion, it acts like a fertilizer for plants. It is essential that you stay on marked trails while visiting parks in the desert. Trampling the crypto damages an entire ecosystem!!

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  • caffeine_induced78's Profile Photo

    Stay on the trail

    by caffeine_induced78 Updated Feb 28, 2004

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    the unseen helper

    It's not a danger to you - it's a danger to the environment of Arches. You can almost never see it but it's all over the place. Despite the warnings on signs in several languages I still could see footprints in the soil all over the place away from the trail. Is it really worth getting that perfect picture at the expense of the health of a National treasure? I am talking about cryptobiotic crust - a combination of lichen, fungi, and algae that makes a powdery crust over much of the Colorado Plateau. One step can kill years worth of growth that helps hold moisture, reduces erosion, and provides nutrients for the ecosystem here. So please - stay on the marked trails.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Losing the herd

    by goodfish Updated Oct 3, 2011

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    While it has lots of really cool hikes and photo-ops, seeing this park can come at a price: solitude. Arches is not a large park (by National Park standards) and has a million visitors a year. Between the relentless heat and mobs of people, we cut our early September visit in 2004 short and tried again, later that same month, in 2011.

    Getting to the park first thing in the morning to do the longer, more difficult trails is the best way to stay cooler and avoid the crowds that clog up the more accessible viewpoints. As it's open 24/7, you can drive to your trailhead or those popular viewpoints at dawn and be out of the way when things get crazy. Dusk can also be a good time to avoid the worst of the masses.

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  • KiKitC's Profile Photo

    Bighorn Sheep Crossing

    by KiKitC Written Nov 23, 2008

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    1 more image

    Upon entering Arches National Park, off Route 191 just north of Moab, Utah, visitors are greeted with this uncommon crossing sign for bighorn sheep.

    Bighorn sheep frequent the hills surrounding Arches National Park, and the road through the park winds around mesa tops and formations with blind curves.

    Be prepared...be cautious.

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  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo

    You Need Water

    by GuthrieColin Written Feb 12, 2006

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    A sign Posting the Dangers Encountered

    Hiking Dangers include dehydration, getting lost, and severe weather.
    Signs will tell you to bring at least 1 quart (1 liter) of water per person while hiking in the park. The reason is obvious, most trails don't have a lot of shade and temperatures in the supper can easily reach 110 F.
    I found that there are only a few places in the park which have running drinking water. Unfortunately they are on opposite sides of the park and are about 17 miles apart. The two locations that water is available are: at the visitor's center, and in the Devils Garden area.
    Since paving the trails in the park wouldn't make very much sense a lot of the trails are somewhat hard to follow. They are marked with cairn's (piles of rocks) so you don't loose your way.
    Another danger of hiking especially in the summer months would be the frequent and fast moving storms. Lightening storms occur more frequently in the summer months than any other time of year and although they may not produce a lot of rain the lightening could easily kill you.

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  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Too Many Hikers

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 15, 2009

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    Climbers coming and going up the rock to Double O
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    Too many people are on the trails causes a slow up of hiking and traffic problems. Some people not "cured" hikers get on the trail and then get tired and slow up/stop. The park gets about 850,000 annual visitors, or average is then around 5,000 a day in months of demand, and more in peak summer times. That also leads to having to find a parking place, which is short by Windows and especially by Devil's Garden. A lot of vehicles parked along the roadside.

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  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    Don't kill the idiots

    by PinkFloydActuary Updated Sep 8, 2005

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    In most of the parks in Arizona and Utah, you'll see signs about Cryptobiotic Crust, or the living desert. It's quite easy to spot, as it's darker looking sand and very bumpy, as if it just rained. This is really tiny living organisms which are colonizing the soil. You'll read about how it takes decades to form and seconds to destroy by stepping on it. This doesn't stop morons from stomping all over it to try to get a better picture or let their kids "play in the sand" or any other number of stupid reasons we saw. Just do your best not to lunge in after them to smack them around.

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  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo

    Arches is a Desert

    by mrclay2000 Written Jan 10, 2003

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    at Delicate Arch

    The climate here is generally hot and dry. Mosquitoes can be a problem especially wherever you find the occasional brook. Some hikes like that to Delicate Arch require some unexpected climbing and some difficult terrain like slickrock where traction can sometimes be a problem. Bring plenty of water, know your limitations, and let the strongest member carry your camera and picnic basket. Most of all -- enjoy your time.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Water hazards

    by goodfish Updated Nov 18, 2011

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    Approaching storm - Arches
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    You know the only 8 inches of precip I mentioned in that previous warning? On our 2011 trip, I think they got about 1/2 of that in 4 days. Felt like it, anyway. A downpour that's no big deal anywhere else can be a very big deal in Southern Utah; all that rock leaves it nowhere to go but DOWN. In a hurry. Into any and every space it can fill.

    Heavy rains and thundershowers had us hightailing it off pinnacles and up out of canyon floors. They washed out trails and roads, flooded slots, made slickrock even slicker, and turned dry washes into raging torrents.

    Rain is no more than an annoyance on the shorter trails and overlooks but can be a real pain in the fanny for those involving dirt roads, longer primitive trails or low, tight spaces. And high, open spaces are no place to be when it's lightning. Check with the rangers on weather conditions before setting off on long hikes, and make other plans if a cats-and-dogs downpour is possible anywhere in the area: flooding is possible from storms miles away.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Busy, busy, busy

    by goodfish Updated Oct 20, 2011

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    Arches has a parking problem. They KNOW they have a parking problem but have not yet been able to come up with a good fix. The million visitors a year descend by cars and buses upon a relatively small national park with a fragile ecosystem (remember my tip on cryptobiotic crust?) and little space to devote to lots. Finding an open spot at overlooks and trailheads can be a major headache and involve some circling around until someone leaves, and/or a long walk. As frustrating as that is, you MUST park only in designated areas and will be ticketed if you do not.

    Going early in the morning is one way to avoid the worst of the traffic problems. And plan to be at parking areas for the most popular hikes - such as Delicate Arch before sunset - well in advance. Same goes for guided tours at Fiery Furnace: that lot is pretty small and can't handle both the folks there for the tour and others just coming for the viewpoint. You don't want to miss your time slot because you couldn't find a last-minute place to ditch the car.

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Comments (1)

  • Apr 13, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Warning for people with a tremendous fear of heights and falling: Arches is panic-stricken torture for people terrified of heights-or at least the ascent and descent into it is...

    This isn't a review to discourage people from going to Arches, but my experience led me to believe it isn't for everyone. Seriously; consider the needs of those with an irrational fear of heights and falling. I detail my experience below:

    For those of you who have never been to Arches before, please be advised that the ascent into the actual park is quite terrifying. Upon paying the park entrance fee at the little hut, you drive towards certain death everso slowly, winding back and forth up a sheer rock cliff face tens of stories high. In my opinion, the ascent was a horrible experience and no amount of money in the world could make me do it again. The road itself is extremely narrow and does not have guardrails. Please, if you are afraid of heights choose someone fearless yet sane to drive, and be prepared to be on total mental lockdown for a few minutes while you make it to the arches. I was so afraid I tell people I had my eyes closed times three: 1. my eyelids; 2. the Arches National Monument park map covering my eyes; and 3. my hand over the park map over my closed eyes. I was squatting down almost to the floorboards of the car seatbelted into my seat.

    I am deathly afraid of heights and have never been more afraid in my entire life than I was at Arches; I had an easier time on the Steel Eel at the Sea World in Texas than on this ascent.I have flown several times in my life (and would fly again), eaten at the Skies restaurant at the Hyatt in Kansas City a few times, and viewed Boston at the Prudential SkyWalk. In fact, dealing with the steep Rocky Mountain National Forest roads mentally for me in a rainshower was a piece of cake than compared to my experience at Arches. Also, I was so incredibly excited to see the Grand Canyon I even sat 5 feet from its edge for a photo opp, if that gives you any indication on how fear-instilling Arches really was for me...What I am trying to say is that I have been forced to deal with heights before, but this ascent caused me to react very negatively.

    I would suggest allowing plenty of daylight to enter and exit Arches; I could not imagine doing it at night (there were still hundreds of people there at sundown). I was so happy to reach solid, continuous ground that I vowed to never leave it again.

    For equally beautiful sightseeing (without the terrifying entrance or exit), I would suggest Canyonlands. If you have a 4wd vehicle you may take your vehicle on the trails. We left our 4wd adventure at Canyonlands to make it to Arches in time, and we soon regretted that decision.

    On another note, we weren't nearly as impressed with Arches as we were with Monument Valley. Monument Valley was a very easy, relaxed drive and the formations were incredible. That is my husband's most favorite place in the world now. :).

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Apr 16, 2013 at 3:55 AM

      Very sorry you had a negative experience at Arches but honestly, yours is only the 2nd complaint I've EVER heard about the drive in/out the park. My husband does not like heights at all and he's had NO problem either driving in or driving out - and we've done it probably 6 times both during daylight and after dark. We've done places in the west that were much, much worse than this one, trust me.

      So, just for the benefit other others wishing to visit the Arches, while it obviously bothered the previous poster, I've never, ever read the same from any of the other millions of visitors to this park so please don't let one review deter you. If you have any concerns, please post the question in the VT Arches forum for more input from our members.

      forum.virtualtourist.com/Arc...


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