Scenic USA - Utah

Courthouse Wash

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Courthouse Wash - Arches National Park, Utah

Photo by Jim Stiles
Jim Stiles Photography

   Natural rock arches are spread throughout Utah’s high desert and easily grab center stage in Arches National Park. However, after a short drive into the park, enormous sandstone fins greet visitors and continue to amaze with their colossal size. Part of the Great Wall, the Park Avenue fins are just one of the many sandstone slabs that nature used to create the park’s rock wonders. A complicated geologic sequence of events covered an ancient salt bed (Paradox Formation) with layer upon layer of sandstone. Eventually these deposits were thrust upward by the Moab Fault, and over time vertical cracks widened in the landforms, now seen in today’s assortment of fins and arches.
   For those park visitors who have already enjoyed their share of arches, the Courthouse Wash Trail creates an easy half day hike following a streambed and offering unique views of Courthouse Towers. Varying from an ankle deep trickle to an occasion knee deep surge, Courthouse Wash joins the Colorado River nearby U.S. Route 191. Even in the desert you can find fall color. Here along the Upper Courthouse Wash Trail a clump of cottonwoods brighten the landscape. The Entrada sandstone towers create a majestic backdrop ... one of the park’s formations that will no doubt impart a lasting impression. During the fall season, temperatures remain hot during the day, but the shade of these imposing fins offer cool relief from the heat.

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