Driving into the belly of the United States straight into Death Valley the glaring towers of Las Vegas break into an open expanse. Bits of rock glitter among the low brush as red rock looms on both sides. Many see the desert and see a barren and lifeless wasteland but if you look a little closer it is teeming with life and beauty. From vibrant cactus flowers to the gentle twisting of juniper trees, Southern Utah boasts more than its infamous arches. Of course, many know the beauty of Arches National Park but it is so much more than the elegant slopes of Delicate Arch. One could take an entire trip just to explore the labyrinth of fins and spires that comprises the Fiery Furnace. Contrary to popular belief, the arches are not best seen midday, especially with busfulls of tourists wandering about. The park is best explored when people are scarce and the desert can be at its wildest. Cloudless blue skies are somewhat overrated compared to the wash of early sunlight or the fire that flares across the horizon at sunset. The canyons and spires of Arches National Park can be highlighted in no better way than the spotlight of a full moon on a cloudless night. Here I discovered the best way to see Arches is without a guidebook–to roam and scramble and see the park for more than its obvious wonders.

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Written by Alyssa Rivas

Californian, runner, tree climbing expert

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