by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
The official newspaper and trip planner of Arches National Park (NP) in Utah. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Visitor Guide National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Arches We Need Your Help The La Sal Mountains with the Windows Section in the foreground NPS / PAUL STOLEN BY RACHEL JOHA Arches National Park is a destination for over 1.5 million people a year. Numbers like that can have a huge impact on the landscape. No matter your experience in the outdoors, we all play a role in protecting and preserving our public lands. The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace are helpful guidelines to minimize your impact here at Arches or anywhere you visit. Plan Ahead and Prepare Plan your trip activities to match your goals, skills, and abilities. Research the park and current conditions ahead of time. Bring enough water, a map, food, and appropriate gear so you don’t need rescuing. Dozens of hikers at Delicate Arch and Devils Garden get in trouble every year from lack of preparation. Dispose of Waste Properly “Pack it in, pack it out.” Don’t leave behind any trash or food scraps. In arid climates like ours, organic litter like orange peels or nut shells does not decompose quickly. “Go before you go.” Before starting a hike, use the bathroom and carry a human waste disposal bag for emergencies. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces Concentrating your activity on nonvegetated durable surfaces (e.g. a trail, rock, a drainage path, or pavement) spares vegetation, sand dunes, and soil crust from damage. Don’t walk through desert puddles, whether they are wet or dry. They contain living organisms. Leave What You Find Chalking, carving, scratching, or painting on the rocks is considered graffiti and is illegal. Cairns (stacks of rocks) mark routes in the park. Don’t change existing ones or build your own, which can mislead other hikers. Welcome to Arches Drink water. It is easy to become dehydrated here, even in cold temperatures. Plan on drinking at least 1 gallon (4 L) of water per day. You can get water at Arches Visitor Center and Devils Garden. Minimize Campfire Impacts Never leave a fire unattended, and thoroughly extinguish all fires. Fires are only allowed in designated pits at Devils Garden Campground and in picnic areas. Collecting firewood or kindling is not allowed in the park. Respect Wildlife Do not feed wild animals. Secure your food and trash so clever ravens can’t get into it. Keep pets under control and on a leash so they don’t harm or stress wildlife. Pets are not allowed at overlooks, on trails, or in the backcountry, even in carriers. Observe wildlife quietly from a safe distance so as not disturb them. Be Considerate of Other Visitors Avoid disrupting natural quiet with loud music or shouting. Remember— you share public lands with other visitors. Respect and protect the quality of everyone’s outdoor experience. Thank You! Practicing these Leave No Trace outdoor principles is a powerful way to show your love and help preserve public lands for future generations. Have a safe and enjoyable visit by remembering these rules and advisories. Keep off the arches. It’s prohibited—and dangerous—to climb on any arch or on prominent features like Balanced Rock. The sun is intense, and shade is rare. Avoid exertion during peak heat (>90°F /32°C). Protect yourself with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Do not rely on cell service at Arches. Coverage varies throughout the park. There are pay phones at the visitor center. Emergency? Call 911 Walk on hard surfaces. Stay on trails to protect fragile biological soil crusts and plant and animal habitat, and to reduce your risk of getting lost. Watch your step. Rocks fall. People fall. Sandstone is slippery when wet or icy. In winter, avoid snowy or icy trails. Respect nature. Leave plants, rocks, and artifacts where you see them. Do not feed or disturb animals. Leave drones at home. Launching, landing, or operating unmanned aircraft (such as model airplanes, quadcopters, or drones) is prohibited. Leave the rocks as you see them. Graffiti—carving, scratching, chalking, or any type of marking—is illegal and unsightly. Find your way. Cairns (small rock piles) mark routes. Don’t build your own; they could mislead other hikers. If you get lost, stay where you are, and wait for rescue. Preserve natural darkness. Using artificial light sources to illuminate features for photography at night is prohibited. Do not use ATVs. It’s prohibited to use any type of ATV or OHV. There are many roads outside the park where you can use ATVs and OHVs. Emergencies call 911 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Park Information i HOURS OF OPERATION ` PETS The park is open 365 days a year. The visitor center is open daily from 9 am You may have your pet at Devils Garden Campground and may walk your to 4 pm, with extended hours spring through fall. The visitor center is closed pet along roads and in parking lots. You may not have pets on hiking trails, December 25. at overlooks, or anywhere in the backcountry, even in carriers. Pets must be on a leash no longer than six feet (1.8 m) at all times. Do not leave pets Arches National Park PO Box 907 Moab, UT 84532 email email@example.com FOOD, GAS, AND LODGING in vehicles when temperatures are above 65°F (18°C); they can die of heat There is no food, gas, or lodging in the park. The town of Moab, five miles exhaustion. Moab has kennels with boarding services. Many public lands from the park entrance, has a full complement of restaurants, lodging, outside the park allow pets. grocery stores, gas stations, and other services. For information visit phone 435-719-2299 www.discovermoab.com. Visitor Guide 2021, Volume 2 − CAMPING Arches Visitor Guide published by Canyonlands Natural History Association, a nonprofit organization that assists the National Park Service in its educational, interpretive, and scientific programs. For more information, see page 8. ô ACCESSIBILITY People with mobility impairments can access: • visitor center and toilets throughout the park • Devils Garden Campground site 4H • Park Avenue Devils Garden Campground has 50 sites and is located 18 miles from the Viewpoint: Paved • Delicate Arch Viewpoint: Hard surface, level • Balanced park entrance. The campground has two group sites for groups of 11 or Rock Viewpoint: Paved, level • Wolfe Ranch Cabin/Rock Art Panel: Hard more. The campground is usually full every day, March through October. surface, level • Double Arch: Hard surface with slope; may need assistance. We recommend reserving a site before you arrive. If you don’t have a reservation, plan to use other area camping options. For camping outside the For people who are deaf or have hearing loss, we have a variety of park, ask at the visitor center, or visit www.discovermoab.com publications at the visitor center, exhibits throughout the park, and all video % SHARE THE ROAD programs are captioned. Park roads are narrow and winding. Do not stop in the roadway—save At the visitor center, we have audio recordings, tactile models, maps, and sightseeing for designated viewpoints. Watch for pedestrians and bicycles. rock samples for people who are blind or have low vision. We also have Ensure a minimum distance of 3 feet (1 m) when passing. large print and braille publications as well as an audio version of the park brochure. At the bookstore, you can purchase or rent an audio tour of the Find us online. Follow ArchesNPS to share your park experiences with us and our growing online community: website nps.gov/arches facebook.com/ArchesNPS RESERVATIONS park’s scenic road. You can reserve: • standard campsites up to six months in advance, • group campsites up to 12 months in advance • ranger-led Fiery Furnace hikes (see Service animals, dogs or horses trained to perform specific tasks for a below) up to six months in advance and self-guided permits up to seven days person with a disability, are allowed on trails. Emotional support (“therapy”) in advance. Visit www.recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777 (toll free), 877- animals are not considered service animals under the Americans with 633-6777 (TTY), or +1 518-885-3639 (international). Disabilities Act. twitter @ArchesNPS instagram @ArchesNPS flickr.com/ArchesNPS Things to Do youtube.com/ArchesNPS Park Fees RANGER PROGRAMS ç HIKING Check the visitor center or website for information on ranger programs There are many options for hiking, ranging from a short stroll to a strenuous, and special events. Programs are always subject to change. multi-hour hike. Check page 4 for a list of hiking trails. Eighty percent of the fees collected Evening Programs May be offered most nights in summer at Devils Garden ç BACKPACKING at Arches are returned to the park to Campground amphitheater. 45 minutes. Free. Arches has only a few areas for overnight backpacking. Outside the Arches National Park charges fees for park entrance, camping, and some permits. developed visitor area there are no designated trails, or reliable water address priority needs in maintenance, infrastructure, resource management, and Fiery Furnace Hikes May be offered daily, spring through fall. Physically sources. To backpack at Arches, you must obtain a backpacking permit at visitor services. Fees are subject to change. demanding hikes require scrambling up and through narrow cracks and the Backcountry Permit Office in Moab and camp in designated sites. Permits along ledges above drop-offs. Children under 5 are not permitted. Make are issued in person at the Backcountry Permit Office two miles south of reservations or ask at the visitor center. Hikes may fill weeks in advance. Moab, 2282 SW Resource Blvd, seven days a week, 8 am to 4 pm. Entrance Fees Single vehicle (per vehicle) $30 Motorcycle (per vehicle) $25 Pedestrian/Bicycle (per person) $15 Interagency Annual Pass $80 Southeast Utah Parks Pass $55 Passes for US citizens or permanent residents with disabilities, seniors, and active-duty military personnel are also available. Inquire at the entrance station or visitor center. $10-$16 for adults, half price for youth. D FOUR-WHEEL DRIVING â CLIMBING AND CANYONEERING Most routes require advanced skills. Plan ahead, and be prepared for self- Arches has a limited number of four-wheel-drive roads. ATVs/OHVs are rescue. Follow all regulations, route closures, and group size limits. Get prohibited. Check at the visitor center for current road conditions, especially permits and route information on the park website. Climbing of any after recent rain. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) maintains many type is prohibited on all arches and prominent features, including popular four-wheel-drive routes outside the park. Balanced Rock. Slacklining is always prohibited. STARGAZING PHOTOGRAPHY Many overlooks with open views of the sky offer great stargazing. The Take home great photos of your Arches experience. Here are some tips for farther you are from Moab, the darker the sky will be. Try stargazing at where you might capture that magic moment at both sunrise and sunset. Panorama Point or The Windows. Read more stargazing tips on page 6. “Light Painting,”or using artificial light sources to illuminate features Rangers offer stargazing programs in summer. Check at the visitor center. at night is prohibited. Camping Fees Nightly Fee Devils Garden $25 per site * CYCLING Early Morning Moab Fault • Three Gossips • Sheep Rock • Turret Arch Juniper Group Site $100-$250 Ride bicycles or e-bikes only on roads—not on hiking trails or off-road. • Double Arch • Cache Valley • Delicate Arch Viewpoint • Wolfe Ranch • Shoulders are narrow; there are no bike lanes. There may be large vehicles Landscape Arch • Double O Arch (based on group size of up to 55 people) Canyon Wren Group Site (based on group size of up to 35 people) on the road. Ride single file. The unpaved Willow Springs Road offers an $75-$160 enjoyable two- to three-hour ride. Most popular biking trails are on Bureau Late Afternoon Park Avenue • La Sal Mountains Viewpoint • of Land Management (BLM) land. Courthouse Towers • Petrified Dunes • Balanced Rock • Garden of Eden • The Windows • Delicate Arch • Fiery Furnace Viewpoint • Skyline Arch • Tower Arch 2 Arches National Park Using New Techniques to Combat Graffiti Each year, park visitors hike up the steep, deceivingly difficult trail to Delicate Arch. Along the way, hikers encounter another natural wonder, Frame Arch. Also known as Twisted Donut Arch, Frame Arch truly does “frame” Delicate Arch when viewed from just the right angle. Unfortunately, in April 2016 Frame Arch was tragically damaged. “andersen,” deeply chiseled and nearly six feet (1.8 m) in length along the base of Frame Arch was an act of vandalism park staff discovered that spring morning. Vandalism: action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property. Some American Indians believe, as their ancestors did, that Arches National Park is a sacred place. Some recognize arches as portals in space and time, allowing access to perspectives from the past, present, and future. Today’s technology allows visitors from around the world the opportunity to share moving experiences inspired by visiting Arches National Park. Across cultures, arches are widely treasured. So, for countless park visitors, graffiti applied anywhere in the park is a senseless and selfish act that alters a hallowed place. Graffiti upsets park visitors—and staff too. Some deeply incised graffiti requires the use of power grinding by a skilled operator. But the harm to Frame Arch was too severe. Grinding away a six-footlong, ¾-inch-deep (2 cm) area would have drastically changed Frame Arch, destroying a large portion of what nature took so long to create. Fortunately, treatments to reclaim deep graffiti continue to be developed. Two methods include infilling with a mixture of ground sandstone and an acrylic bonding agent, and in-painting with organic pigments. In October 2017, after studying the damage and carefully matching colors, we began partial infilling and in-painting on Frame Arch. We completed repairs in 2018. We continue to monitor the infilling and may use this same technique in other areas of the park. National parks are places where shared experiences bring people from around the world together. Why do a few people choose vandalism as a park experience? How can the act of defacing geological masterpieces be justified in the mind of one who vandalizes? Regardless of the answer, we require vigilance to mitigate graffiti at Arches. We must act quickly to discourage additional harm by copycat offenders. N P S / C H R I S W O N D E R LY We find graffiti in the park frequently. In October 2017, we began filling some carved graffiti with a mixture of ground sandstone and an acrylic bonding agent. We continue to monitor the filling and may use the technique in other parts of the park. Your involvement is crucial. Choose to leave no trace by not marking on rocks. Talk to friends and family about why graffiti is not OK, and promptly report any violations you witness. Share the Scenery Since 2010, Arches’ visitation has topped 1 million people. The park is popular for good reasons. The breathtaking scenery attracts people from around the world. • • Park staff have been working to manage traffic in the park since 2006. We continue to consider traffic management options, • and are gathering information, data, and analysis to guide future planning. In the mean time, you can use these tips to have an enjoyable experience and to help preserve these timeless landscapes for others to enjoy: B Y M AT T S M I T H • • Start your day early. Enter the park before 8 am. Sunrise is just as beautiful as sunset. Allow extra time. There is plenty of scenery for all to enjoy, and the rocks aren’t going anywhere—at least, not on a human time scale. Carpool. Parking is very limited, so consider leaving extra vehicles, large RVs, or trailers at the hotel, campground, or visitor center parking lot. When parking lots fill, staff may delay vehicle entry for several hours. If the park is too busy, visit other parks and public lands nearby. See page 8 for some options. An Extra Note about Parking During the busy season, you may see rangers assisting in crowded parking lots. Please follow their directions. Acceptable parking places include individually marked stalls, parking “lanes” along fences, and existing turnouts along the roads. Never park on vegetation or in a manner that blocks traffic, and please don’t hold up the flow of cars by waiting for a parking spot. If there isn’t room, move to another area and come back later. Moving forward together, our partnership of shared care and concern can help preserve our national parks and monuments. Hey Kids— This One’s For You! NPS / ANDREW KUHN Do you want to explore Arches and help protect the park? Then become a junior ranger! Becoming a junior ranger is a serious and important task, but it’s lots of fun too. Ask at the visitor center how you can get involved. Options include completing a booklet or checking out a Red Rock Explorer Pack. You’ll earn a badge and certificate and join the ranks of the many junior rangers who help protect this special place. NPS / SHEENA HARPER Arches National Park 3 Plan Your Visit % DRIVING ç HIKING In 1½ hours, you can: In two hours, you can do one of these four routes: • Drive to The Windows and see some of the park’s largest arches. • • Drive to Delicate Arch Viewpoint and see the world’s most famous arch • Hike The Windows loop trail and between parking areas to Double Arch. Drive back to Balanced Rock and walk the trail around its base. midday summer heat.) from a distance. Stop at Wolfe Ranch on your way back, and imagine homesteading here in the late 1800s. Hike up the sloping slickrock to see Delicate Arch. (Avoid this trail in • Walk between tall fins in Devils Garden to see Landscape Arch, North America’s longest. In 3 hours: • • Walk to Sand Dune Arch, then across the field to Broken Arch. Continue through the end of the campground and return. Enjoy Drive the whole park road, spending 10 minutes at each viewpoint. Tapestry Arch and the sandstone fins. In half a day: In half a day, take one of these two hikes: • • Drive the whole park road, spending 10 minutes at each viewpoint, and take a short walk at The Windows Section, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, or Climb up the fins of Devils Garden trail to the spire called Dark Angel. On your way back, hike the primitive trail route only if you’re up for Balanced Rock. challenging slopes, exposure to heights, and narrow traverses. • If you don’t mind driving an unpaved road to the remote area called Klondike Bluffs, hike the primitive trail to Tower Arch. Hiking TRAIL ô m 7 Wheelchair-accessible trail Toilet near trailhead Water near trailhead LENGTH TIME DESCRIPTION Nature Trail 50 yards roundtrip 10 min. Learn about native desert plants on the nature trail behind Arches Visitor Center. m 45 m Balanced Rock 0.3 miles roundtrip 15-30 min. This is a loop trail at the base of a fragile, picturesque rock formation. Part of the trail is paved. ô m 0.5 km The Windows 1 mile roundtrip 30-60 min. A gentle climb up a gravel trail leads to the massive North and South windows, and Turret Arch. Return via the same m 1.6 km Double Arch at The Windows 0.5 miles roundtrip EASY TRAILS trail, or take the slightly longer primitive trail around the back of the Windows from South Window viewpoint. 15-30 min. A relatively flat trail leads to the base of two giant arch spans that are joined at one end. 5-15 min. You can’t hike to Delicate Arch on these trails; the hike to Delicate Arch begins at Wolfe Ranch. 0.8 km m Delicate Arch Viewpoints 100 yards roundtrip A flat accessible trail leads to the lower viewpoint. A longer, moderately strenuous trail climbs steeply 0.5 mile 91 m ô m (0.8 km) to the upper viewpoint, separated from Delicate Arch by a canyon. Sand Dune Arch 0.3 miles roundtrip m 0.5 km Broken Arch 1.3 miles roundtrip m 2.1 km Skyline Arch 0.4 miles roundtrip 15-30 min. Hike through deep sand to a secluded arch tucked among sandstone fins. Do not climb or jump off the arch. 30-60 min. The trail crosses a large meadow to the arch. Extend the hike to 2 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip by hiking through the arch, past Tapestry Arch, and through the campground. Part of the longer loop includes some moderate scrambling. 10-20 min. A short, out-and-back hike on a flat, well-defined trail leads to an arch in a high wall. 30-60 min. A hard packed trail leads to a spectacular ribbon of rock. The trail beyond Landscape Arch becomes difficult, with 0.6 km Landscape Arch at Devils Garden 1.9 miles roundtrip rock scrambling, narrow ledges, and exposure to heights—see Double O Arch. 3.0 km m 7 Courthouse Wash Panel 1 mile roundtrip 30-60 min. Park 0.5 miles (0.8 km) north of the Colorado River on US 191. A short walk across the Courthouse Wash bridge and a brief climb leads to a prehistoric panel of rock markings (at the base of the cliffs, facing west). 1.6 km MODERATE TRAILS Park Avenue 1 mile one way 30-60 min. The trail descends steeply into a spectacular canyon and continues to Courthouse Towers. For a roundtrip hike, retrace your steps along the trail rather than walking along the road. Elevation change: 320 feet (98 m) 2-3 hours Take at least 2 quarts (2 L) of water per person. Avoid during midday summer heat. This trail climbs 480 feet (146 m) 1.6 km DIFFICULT TRAILS Delicate Arch at Wolfe Ranch 3 miles roundtrip up a steep slickrock slope. The trail has no shade and some exposure to heights. Just before you get to Delicate Arch, 4.8 km m Tower Arch at Klondike Bluffs the trail follows a narrow rock ledge for about 200 yards (183 m), which is often icy in winter. 2.6 miles roundtrip 2-3 hours The trail climbs a steep, short rock wall, cuts across a valley, and then meanders through sandstone fins and sand dunes. An alternate, shorter trail (0.3 mile [0.5 km] one way) begins at the end of the four-wheel-drive road on the west side of Tower Arch. This unpaved road washes out quickly in rainstorms; check road conditions before heading out. 2-3 hours The trail beyond Landscape Arch climbs steeply over sandstone slabs. There are uneven surfaces and narrow ledges 4.2 km m Double O Arch at Devils Garden 4.1 miles roundtrip with steep drop-offs. Spur trails lead to more arches. Dark Angel is 0.4 miles (0.6 km) beyond Double O Arch. 6.6 km m 7 Devils Garden all trails m 7 Fiery Furnace (Fee Area) m 7.8 miles roundtrip 12.6 km 3-5 hours Take at least 3 quarts (3 L) of water per person. Full Devils Garden trail system includes Landscape Arch, Double O Arch, Dark Angel, and the primitive trail. This challenging hike involves narrow ledges, steep exposures, uneven surfaces, rock scrambling, and few trail markers. Avoid when rock is wet or icy. The Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons that requires agility to explore. To enter the Fiery Furnace, you must accompany a ranger-guided hike (see p. 2) or obtain a self-guided day-use permit. Reserve permits and hike tickets online at www.recreation.gov. Everyone in your group must be present at the visitor center to pick up your reserved Fiery Furnace permit. 4 Arches National Park 0 EA 1 4 Kilometers 0 GL E PA R 1 4 Miles CAUTION Stay on trails or bare rock to protect biological soil crusts. These communities of tiny organisms are critical to all life in the desert. North K ATV, UTV, and OHV use prohibited in park D IL S G BL UF F Marching Men Primitive Trail Rough road. High clearance, four-wheel drive required. G Pine Tree Arch Tunnel Arch LOST 1.7mi 2.7km EN Navajo Arch Partition Arch Landscape Arch S Tower Arch RD YO N A Double O Arch 1.0mi 1.6km C AN SPRI N Dark Angel KL ON DI KE F IN CA N Y N O EV Private Arch Devils Garden Trailhead Devils Garden Campground 1.4mi 2.3km Amphitheater Tapestry Arch Skyline Arch Broken Arch S 1.0mi 1.6km A LT Sand Dune Arch 7.2mi 11.5km Soft sand in wash crossings. Impassable after heavy rains. V 5.0mi 8.1km A L L E FIERY FURNACE Y 4829ft 1474m Delicate Arch Fiery Furnace Viewpoint Salt Valley Overlook 9.0mi 14.5km Rock Art Panel Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint Wolfe Ranch Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint Because of soft sand on steep grades, vehicular travel is recommended only from north to south through this area. Stay on designated roads. To 70 and Crescent Junction from junction of 191 and 313 18mi 29km 1.0mi 1.6km 1.2mi 1.9km ARCHES NATIONAL CACHE VA L L E Y PARK Panorama Point HERDINA PARK 2.5mi 4.0km Eye of the Whale Arch Soft sand. Impassable after heavy rains. 0.3mi 0.5km ATV, UTV, and OHV use prohibited in park WILLOW 3.8mi 6.1km 0.8mi 1.3km F L AT S 3.2mi 5.1km Pothole Arch Balanced Rock L WA L G R E AT 313 SE VE NM Double Arch Turret Arch THE To Castle Valley from junction of 191 and 128 16mi 26km North Window South Window THE WINDOWS SECTION 9.2mi 14.8km ON To 70 and Cisco from junction of 191 and 128 45mi 72km Parade of Elephants ROCK PINNACLES 1.9mi 3.1km NY 5653ft 1723m 2.5mi 4.0km 191 CA Garden of Eden Elephant Butte 128 Petrified Dunes Viewpoint ILE PETRIFIED DUNES Upper Big Bend (BLM) Big Bend (BLM) 6.0mi 9.6km BI G B E ND To Dead Horse Point State Park from junction of 313 and 191 19mi 31km Tower of Babel Sheep Rock To Canyonlands National Park– Island in the Sky from junction of 313 and 191 21mi 34km The Organ 4085ft 1245m Visitor Center Park Headquarters OA La Sal Mountains Viewpoint Park Avenue Viewpoint and Trailhead Entrance station B CA NY Sc ON Unpaved road Hiking trail (Easy) Restrooms Four-wheel drive road Hiking trail (Moderate) Picnic area Campground Distance indicator Hiking trail (Difficult) Drinking water Stargazing Drinks Canyon (BLM) Parking By w ay Grandstaff (BLM) Courthouse Wash Rock Art Panel 5.0mi 8.0km e c ni 128 Goose Island (BLM) Sc en ic 279 To Petroglyphs 5mi 8km 191 By 0.5mi 0.8km M rapids Park Ave COURTHOUSE TOWERS Park only in designated spaces. If a parking lot is full, please return at a later time. Hal Canyon (BLM) Courthouse Towers Viewpoint Three Gossips Oak Grove (BLM) w ay MOAB To Monticello 55mi 90km To Canyonlands National Park–The Needles 77mi 126km Trailhead parking is limited. If parking lots are full, move on and come back later. For the best chance of finding a spot, arrive before 9 am or after 3 pm. Arches National Park 5 2021 Night Sky Almanac Stargazing Tips Moon Phases Look for a high viewpoint or a wide open area to see the most stars. JANUARY 6 Full Moon • 28 New Moon Try stargazing at Panorama Point or The Windows Section. Give FEBRUARY 27 Full Moon • 11 New Moon your eyes 20-30 minutes to adjust to the darkness. Skies will be MARCH 27 Full Moon • 13 New Moon darkest when the moon is out of sight. Use a red flashlight to protect APRIL 27 Full Moon • 12 New Moon your night vision, or just cover a white flashlight with red fabric or MAY 26 Full Moon • 11 New Moon cellophane. Help other stargazers by not shining your headlights or JUNE 24 Full Moon • 10 New Moon flashlights on rock formations (prohibited). Check star charts and other JULY 24 Full Moon • 20 New Moon stargazing tips at the visitor center. AUGUST 22 Full Moon • 8 New Moon SEPTEMBER 20 Full Moon • 7 New Moon Meteor Showers OCTOBER 20 Full Moon • 6 New Moon (best viewing midnight to dawn) NOVEMBER 19 New Moon • 4 Full Moon JANUARY 3 Quadrantids Meteor Shower DECEMBER 19 New Moon • 4 Full Moon APRIL 22 Lyrids Meteor Shower AUGUST 8 Perseids Meteor Shower Other Dates OCTOBER 21/22 Orionids Meteor Shower MARCH 20 Spring Equinox NOVEMBER 17 Leonids Meteor Shower JUNE 20 Summer Solstice DECEMBER 13/14 Geminids Meteor Shower SEPTEMBER 22 Autumnal Equinox DECEMBER 21 Winter Solstice Curious Behavior From somersaulting through the air to sliding in the snow, the behavior of the Common Raven (Corvus corax) is curious to say the least. These bold, playful passerines are one of the most common wildlife sightings in the park. If you’re a “people-watcher” then you may become a “raven-watcher” by the end of your visit; these birds are remarkably like you and me. Like humans, ravens speak their mind. Their sophisticated avian vocabulary is complex with over 30 types of calls. From the low, croak-like “kraaaah” to the deep, nasal “brooonk,” ravens are expressive communicators. Their vocal repertoire includes hunger calls, defense calls, flight calls, alarm calls, whistles, and territorial announcements. These loud-mouthed birds also make nonvocal sounds like wing whistling and bill snapping. The Common Raven can also mimic sounds from their environment including human speech. 6 Arches National Park A Microscopic Community not as social as crows and magpies, their Biological soil crust is a living groundclose relatives, they are often spotted with cover that forms the foundation of or near their mates. high desert plant life in Arches and the surrounding area. Cyanobacteria “Bird brain” isn’t an insult when it comes dominates this knobby crust, but it also to the raven; they actually have large includes lichens, mosses, algae, brains and are extremely intelligent. microfungi, and bacteria. Cognitive processes such as imitation, insight, and the superb ability to solve problems truly set them apart from other bird species. Scientists believe that ravens memorize locations of food sources and have observed ravens using sticks as tools to raid other ravens’ food caches. We humans are not the only species that relies on retaining and recalling past experience as we soar through life. Ravens are opportunists and will eat just about anything they can get their claws on. Most of their diet consists of carrion, lizards, bats, insects, and seeds, but they aren’t opposed to human food as well. These clever scoundrels have been known to break into unsecured coolers and vehicles for tasty yet unhealthy human treats. In an effort to keep wildlife wild, avoid feeding ravens by keeping your food properly stored in a secure location. NPS / ANDREW KUHN Aerial acrobatics, demonstrations of intelligence, and providing food are key behaviors during the courting process. Once paired, ravens nest together for life, usually in the same location. Though B Y M I C H A E L M AT T H E S © TYLER NORDGREN Cyanobacteria, previously called blue-green algae, are one of the oldest known life forms. Scientists think that these organisms were among the first colonizers of Earth’s early land masses, and played an integral role in the formation and stabilization of Earth’s early soils. Extremely thick mats of these organisms converted the planet’s original carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into one rich in oxygen and capable of sustaining life. When wet, cyanobacteria move through the soil and bind soil particles, forming an intricate web of fibers. The fibers join loose soil particles together, and an otherwise unstable surface becomes very resistant to both wind and water erosion. This soil-binding action does not require living filaments. One can still find layers of abandoned sheaths, built up over long periods of time, clinging tenaciously to soil particles, providing cohesion and stability in sandy soils up to 4 inches (10 cm) deep. Vascular plants can’t utilize nitrogen as it occurs in the atmosphere. Cyanobacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen to a form plants can use. This is especially important in desert ecosystems, where nitrogen levels in the soil are low, which often limits plant productivity. Soil crusts also trap and store water, nutrients, and NPS / NEAL HERBERT organic