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Dizzying View: Astounding Arches of Moab, Utah

national parks, arches
(Image credit: U.S. Department of the Interior)

There's a red-rock wonderland waiting in Moab, Utah, and it's called Arches National Park.

With over 2,000 natural stone arches, plus high-flying pinnacles and impossibly balanced rocks, Arches National Park has plenty of jaw-dropping and dizzying structures. Find a spot to enjoy the park's sunsets, which are hard to top for their beauty. But beware; climbing on any of the park's named arches has been banned.

Due to millions of years of deposition and erosion — and the help of a unique underground salt bed — arches appear to soar from the park's landscape.

The most famous feature in Arches National Park is the Delicate Arch, a 65-foot-tall (19.8 meter) freestanding natural arch. Delicate Arch is so famous that it's on Utah's license plates. Balanced Rock may be the park's most curious feature. The size of three school buses, this huge rock looks like it will tumble off its pedestal at any minute.

Arches National Park is what's called a high desert, with elevations between 4,085 and 5,653 feet (1,245 to 1,723 m). Hikers should pack for big swings in temperatures, which can change as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) on any given day.

The park is open all winter, but even a little snow or ice can make for slippery hiking, park rangers caution.

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Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.