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

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Cairns and cryptobiotic crust

    by goodfish Updated Oct 20, 2011

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    Cryptobiotic crust
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    Cairns, those little pyramids of piled stones along the trails, are there for two reasons:

    A. To keep you from getting lost and/or away from dangerous or unstable places

    B. To keep you off cryptobiotic crust

    "Cryptobiotic" means "hidden life" and these lumpy, living colonies of microorganisms, algae, lichen and whatnot help keep the desert surface from washing or blowing away, and give plant life a fertile, friendly place to germinate and flourish. It's very fragile and some types take many, many years to form. Step on it and you've just wiped out 10 - 100 years of growth. It usually looks like a bumpy black fungus covering large or small areas of ground but some kinds are difficult to recognize or are just starting to form.

    So please, please help keep the desert healthy and beautiful and don't hike, bike or 4-wheel off clearly indicated trails, paths or roads.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Long way down

    by goodfish Updated Oct 12, 2011

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    The canyon side of Delicate Arch
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    Most of the trails at Arches are pretty flat but some of the more strenuous involve long drop-offs. The evening we were up at Delicate Arch, some clueless adults let their young children run wild on the steeply sloping slickrock and nearly gave those of us who knew what lay on the other side of that arch a coronary.

    Those drop-offs make for great photos but lousy trips to the trauma room - if you survive the fall. Keep a tight rein on your young folks and do not take them to the upper reaches at all if they're prone to spontaneous acts of daredevilry.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Delicate Arch Sunset Photo-op

    by goodfish Written Oct 3, 2011

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    Look - no people!
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    At sunset on a clear day, scores of shutterbugs make their way up to Delicate Arch for the "money shot." And they mean business. They want that to-die-for snap of Utah's state symbol glowing red in the dying rays. They do NOT want a photo with you in it. Some unfortunate individuals who failed to understand that fact were given the message loud and clear.

    So if you MUST have your picture taken under the arch, make your trek up before the sun starts down. Get in the way of all those expensive lenses and their owners may get a rope.

    I should mention that this is true of many of the park's most-photographed spots. You do not want people you don't know in YOUR pictures so don't take all day getting the Christmas card shot, please.

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  • RoscoeGregg's Profile Photo

    Careful On The Slickrock

    by RoscoeGregg Updated Aug 25, 2013

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    Slicrock Is Great And Inviting
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    Slickrock is beautiful and it's smooth contours are inviting as a place to hike and climb around on.

    Until you develop a bit of experience with it it is best to exercise a little caution. The park service has dozens of rescues and evacuations every season. This is often because people get strung out on what "looked like an easy" climb or jump.

    This is especially true in areas where there is vertical exposue. Due to the smooth rounded nature of slickrock it is very easy to cross the point of no return and slip off an edge.

    Remember this is a natural place. It is not an Amusment Park The danger has not been engineered out. There are no warning signs. You are primarily responsible for you and your party's safety.

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  • Karnubawax's Profile Photo

    BUNNIES!!!

    by Karnubawax Updated May 17, 2007

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    If you camp in Devil's Garden in the late spring, chances are you will witness hordes of bunnies hopping through camp!!! They are the cutest thing ever, and it seems like there are whole herds of them bouncing around the campground! They are most frisky at dusk and early in the morning.

    There is, however, a warning here - never ever ever EVER feed them!!! No matter how cute they are, never give food to any wild animal! It is really a form of cruelty; animals who associate humans with food often lose the skills needed to hunt in the wild, and thus they slowly starve to death. The lucky ones are merely captured and euthenized.

    Don't be cruel to our wild friends! DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS! If you catch someone feeding an animal, for the animals' sake please alert a Ranger.

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  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    Hiking Rules and Warnings

    by KimberlyAnn Written May 2, 2004

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    Navajo Arch

    1. Always carry water on hikes. In the summer it is recommended that you carry at least a gallon a day per person, remember dehydration and heat can prove fatal. 2. Stay on trails to protect the fragile desert soils, Cryptobiotic Crust, and plant life. 3. Sandstone slickrock crumbles easily and can make climbing dangerous. 4. Rock climbing is permitted in the park, but not on most features named on the USGS maps, so for more information on where you may climb check at the visitor center. Technical rescues are expensive and dangerous, so always so remember that it is easier to climb up than it is to climb down. 5. Overnight backcountry backpackers must get a permit at the visitor center. You must carry all your water, and not campfires are allowed.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    No roving Rovers

    by goodfish Updated Oct 14, 2011

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    Heat is ruff on me!
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    Dogs and other pets are not allowed on any of the trails or in the visitor center, and can only be walked on the roads and parking lots. They have to be leashed at all times and can't be left in vehicles unattended. As I said in a previous warning, this park is a real scorcher in the summer so please, please leave Rover at home - or in a nice, cool kennel in Moab - and not in the car!!!!! Call Karen's Canine Campground at (435) 259-7922, Desert Doggie Daycare at (435) 259-4841, or Moab Veterinary Clinic at (435) 259-8710.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    What not to wear

    by goodfish Written Oct 3, 2011

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    What was she thinking?

    Even if you're visiting Arches on a highlights-only bus tour, you should dress for the desert. Even some of the short paths to viewing areas are sandy, rocky and uneven. I took this photo at Landscape Arch - an easy 2-mile RT but some slog through deep sand and gravel. This lady's slick-bottom, open sandals are just asking for a sprained ankle or broken toe. The frock? Pretty sure the rangers were peeing their pants.

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  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    Park Rules You Must Follow

    by KimberlyAnn Written May 2, 2004

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    1. No parking is allowed along the roadsides, so park only in designated parking lots. If the parking lot is full, you must return at a later time. This is strictly enforced. 2. Wood gathering is not allowed anywhere in the park, so bring your own stoves or fuel for the grills in the campgrounds. 3. Carry out all trash, including small items such as cigarette butts. 4. No hunting or firearms are allowed in the park. 5. Mountain bikes are only allowed on established roads, not on trails. 6. Pets are allowed only on park roads, in parking lots, or at your campsite, and must be on a leash or other restraint at all times. They are not allowed on any of the trails. Don’t forget that leaving a pet in a hot car while you go off exploring can cause heat exhaustion and death.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Hot and dry

    by goodfish Updated Oct 8, 2011

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    1 more image

    The Moab area averages less than 8 inches of rain a year and temperatures can easily top 100 degrees (+37 F) during the summer and early fall. You'll see reminders everywhere to drink plenty of water, pack at least a quart (short hikes) to a gallon (longer treks) along for the day, and cover your head: dehydration/sunstroke is no joke.

    As drinking water is only available two places inside the park, fill your bottles at your hotel or at the visitor center before making for the trailhead. We carried a collapsible, 2-gallon water bag in the car for quick refills, and camelback packs are great if you have one.

    Drink and then drink some more. Having been to the dizzy, stomachache stage of dehydration, I have some firsthand experience with how fast it can slap you upside the head. Yup, that bottle of (eventually) lukewarm water is going to taste like crap so bringing along some of those zero-calorie flavoring packets to make it go down a little easier is a good idea.

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  • RoscoeGregg's Profile Photo

    Campfires Are Out

    by RoscoeGregg Updated Dec 10, 2011

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    As The Sun Sets Sit Back And Embrace It

    I know that people love campfires. This is just not the place to have one. Let me detail as to why that is true.

    1. You are in a world treasure if you damage it well......

    2. The wood here is replaced VERY slowly and should be left as is. It is part of the ecosystem and is not here for our entertainment.

    3. Should your fire get out of control (aside from the obvious danger to other people) you will be held criminally and financially responsible. This eventuality is more likely than you think. This is the desert and things here burn very easily and quite rapidly.

    4. A fire insulates you from experiencing the desert fully. The night sky is invisible when using a fire. Forget the fire and experience the wonder of the desert night sky.

    5. If everyone has campfire it will strip the area of vegetation and ruin Arches for other visitors.

    So admit that Daniel Boone comes from an earlier time and learn to camp in a minimum impact fashion. You will smell better and enjoy the experience more.

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  • wilocrek's Profile Photo

    Hot as Hell!!!

    by wilocrek Written May 27, 2008

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    In between the months of May through September the temperatures in Arch's National Park are well past 90 degrees and because of how the sun reflects off the rock it actually feels hotter than advertised. Even if you tan well its advisable to bring at least 30spf sunblock and reapply every few hours. Bring lots of water, the only place to get water in the park is at the Devil Garden campground and the entrance to the Devils Garden trail. If your not in great shape I would not recommend taking any trail longer than 3 to 4 miles. If heat is a problem for you the best time to visit is in March and April, or October and November, when the temperatures are in the seventies.

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  • sim1's Profile Photo

    Stay on the trails!

    by sim1 Updated Feb 26, 2005

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    Delicate Arch at sunset



    When you visit Arches National Park they do ask one thing from you, and that is if you would please stay on the trails. What may seem like a tiny detour from the trail, may be a serious damage to the fragile environment of the park.

    Much of the area here is covered by 'cryptobiotic soil crust'. This crust is easily damaged by walking over it, especially when it is dry and brittle. Damaging this crust will cause erosion. It will take years and years for these areas recover, and sadly sometimes they never will. So keep Arches National Park beautiful as it is, and stay on the trails :-)

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  • RoscoeGregg's Profile Photo

    Delecate Arch: Don't Expect to Be Alone

    by RoscoeGregg Updated Aug 26, 2013

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    THIS IS NOT TO DISCOURAGE YOU!!

    I just think that it is nice to know that when you hike to Delicate Arch there will be other people there when you arrive. Some times a lot of people. This is especially true if you are there at sunset.

    This is not totally a bad thing as they are some times fun to watch.

    I highly recommend this hike. Just a heads up.

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  • lazyman_1's Profile Photo

    Be careful hiking to delicate arch

    by lazyman_1 Written May 31, 2006

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    The very last leg of the delicate arch hike cuts a trail around the rock on your way up. One side is a sheer rock wall but the other side is completely open. Be careful if you've brought little ones along with you or when passing another person who's going the opposite way.

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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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