Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Arches: Double Arch

Distance: 0.5 mile round trip
Elevation: 5,103 ft - 5,169 ft
Elevation Gain:  66 ft
Date HIked: 27 April 2012
Bathroom at the Trailhead: Yes (located up the stairs and closer to the Windows)
Water at the Trailhead: No

The approach to Double Arch is accessible to almost everyone
Double Arch is one of the short hikes in Arches National Park that can easily be combined with the Window Loop located across the street.  The route is well-defined, traveling across loose sand and some flat rock surfaces.  Once you get to the arch, you can scramble upwards and climb right up into the arch area itself.  With my large camera in hand, I was not able to scramble up to look through the arch but a fellow hiker did and said it was a straight drop off on the other side.  From deep inside the arch, though you can gaze back out at the Windows Section of the park, which is a pleasant way to view that area.

The back side of this arch is a shear drop off
Looking straight up at the span
You will not be alone on this trail and it is suggested you get there early because the parking is limited.  Morning is the best time to photograph this arch, but I found that the shadows were still deep so "morning" is relative.  The downside of a morning photo shoot is that the Windows are better photographed in the afternoon, which is inconvenient if that is important to you.

Looking out at the Windows Section of the park from inside Double Arch
Double Arch is an example of downward water erosion from atop the sandstone, rather than from side-to-side water erosion like most of the arches in the park.  When taken together they form the third largest arch in the Park.  The actual measurement of the larger of the two arches is 144 ft x 112 ft while the smaller arch measures 67 ft x 86 ft.   Double Arch is called "Double" because its legs share the same stone foundation.

This Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) was singing from a shrub oak along the short trail.
If you only have a short time in the park, this trail should be on your list.

No comments: