A common trend right now is to explore amazing places with virtual field trips and unit studies from home. Since most of us are stuck at home longing for adventure, its the perfect time to discover new places you want to visit at home. This is perfect for homeschooling families. Your family is going to love these free resources for discovering Arches National Park.
This post is part of the Learning About the National Parks Series
Exploring National Parks from Home
There are many families that are stuck at home and unable to travel. Whether it be due to finances, or needing to stay home in the climate that we are living in. Not being able to travel during summer break has been very difficult. Lots of family vacations and summer plans were cancelled.
If you are looking to plan your next vacation, or are just curious about the different national parks you are going to love exploring with us. One of the most popular national parks to visit is Arches National Park.
Where is Arches National Park located?
Arches National Park sits on the banks of the Colorado River in the Southwest Region of the United States. It is located in Southeast Utah, between Moab and the Colorado River.
The entrance to the park is just five miles north of the town of Moab, Utah on US Highway 191. Moab is the largest town in Utah and the closest town to the park.
Many families who do not want to camp will choose to stay in Moab, and take day trips to the park. There are many different hotels, lodging accommodations, restaurants, grocery stores and even mountain bike shops to help you with your visit.
This park covers 119 square miles and 73,000 acres. It is considered a high desert climate with very hot summers, very cold winters and little rainfall each year. If you are planning a visit, you will want to really look into what you need to wear and bring. Since the climate changes drastically, layers are highly recommended.
It is one of the most popular national parks that is a growing spot for some beautiful recreational activities. It can get crowded very quickly. There are lines down the highway to get in as early as 7 am! Planning a trip here is key to a successful visit.
History of Arches National Park
The first known inhabitants of the area were archaic groups found throughout the west. There is even some rock art to prove that life existed then, along with artifacts that were found.
The Ute and Navajo Native Americans hunted and foraged the land in the late 1850s.
In 1920, the area became Arches National Monument by President Herbert Hoover. In the 1930’s President Roosevelt signed a proclamation to enlarge the monument. It went from the original 4,500 acres to almost 34,000 acres.
In the 1950’s the visitor center was created, but it did not become an official national park until November 12, 1971. This is when 1971 President Richard Nixon signed the law that changed Arches to a national park and set its size at the now 73,000 + acres.
What is Arches National Park best known for?
This park is known for its namesake arch, and many other fascinating, red rock formations and famous arches in the desert of the West.
There are over 2,000 natural stone arches located in this park. It has land forms and formations made from red rocks unlike anywhere else in the world! It is a favorite for hiking trails, rock climbing and mountain biking.
The sunsets and desert colors in this park are breathtaking. It is also a wonderful place to view the night sky with zero light pollution.
In 2019 it was certified as an International Dark Sky Park. This means that it has a low impact lighting system and there are astronomy programs and ranger led night talks to view the skies unpolluted.
The world’s most famous arch resides here: the famous Delicate Arch, ash show above, is the most widely recognized landmark in the park.
It is widely known as the symbol or “mascot” of Utah. This arch is on Utah stamps and even license plates. It was also the arch that the Olympic torch was ran under in the 2002 Olympic Games.
Other famous arches to visit are: Devil’s Garden, Sand Dune Arch, Tower Arch, Tunnel Arch, Fiery Furnace, the Wall Arch, which is the remains of a collapsed arch and so many more.
The longest arch in the park is the Landscape Arch with a light opening of 306 feet across. The tallest arch is the Double Arch South (show below). This arch has a vertical light opening of 112 feet.
The Arches Visitor Center
The visitor’s center is located at the park entrance. Here is where you will receive the information needed to access the natural sandstone arches located throughout the park.
There are ranger led tours, touch screen video tours at educational kiosks, a book store with many different maps, books of the park and lots of water vending machines.
Recommended Resource: National Parks Notebook – A Notebook Companion™ for National Parks of the U.S.A.
Explore the national parks of the U.S.A with our publisher-approved Notebook Companion™. Using the notebook alongside the popular book book National Parks of the U.S.A. will help you squeeze all the amazing content out of it and use it for your homeschool.
Printable Lists and Plans for Arches National Park:
15 free Arches National Park Maps – There are park brochures, hiking maps and interactive maps, all in one convenient location.
Arches National Park Printable Packing List – Since this national park is in the middle of the desert you will want to pack accordingly. This printable packing list will be so helpful on what to wear, and how much water to bring for your family.
Things to do in Arches National Park Utah – Find out about some of the best and most popular hikes as well as photo opportunities that you won’t want to miss when visiting.
Arches National Park Hikes: 12 Top-rated Trails You’ll Love – Find out about the trails that will take you to the Delicate Arch, Broken Arch, Double Arch, and the Devils Garden Trailhead. This begins a loop that is a total distance of about 7 miles long, but you will get to see 6 arches along the way.
Arches National Park Travel Tips – Since this is a very popular park and can get crowded early, planning is key. These tips will help you have a great visit no matter the crowds.
The Best Things to do in Arches National Park if you don’t hike – You may not be able to hike, or enjoy hiking, but would still like to visit arches and see some spectacular views. This is a great one day itinerary of places to with a scenic drive, and short easy hikes or walks to visit the different arches.
Arches National Park Kids Hiking Guide – This is a great list of the natural arches to visit that offer a short hike and an easy trail for small children. You can still get the best view of the desert landscape, because many of the hiking areas you can drive to first.
Traveling Safely in the Desert – This free lesson plan will teach your children what they will need to travel and explore safely in a hot, desert climate.
Wildlife of Arches National Park
Not only are there amazing landscapes and rock formations, there are some fantastic, adaptive animals that reside in this park.
Desert wildlife has to be able to overcome some extreme temperatures. During the day it can reach over 100 degrees, and it can get extremely cold at night. They also have to survive on little water, and food is hard to come by as well since everything is so dry.
Some of the animals that reside at the park are:
- bighorn sheep
- mule deer
- peregrine falcons
- mountain lions
- bob cats
- and many desert snakes and lizards
Learn more about the wildlife and wildlife viewing of Arches National Park.
Many of these desert animals are nocturnal because it is too hot during the day to be as active. There are other animals that are most active at dawn and at dusk only. These are called crepuscular animals.
The crepuscular animals that can be found in Arches National Park are:
- jack rabbits
- mule deer
- desert cotton tails and song birds
Mammals of Arches National Park – Read up on the 50 species of animals that are known to reside at this park and how they manage to live in this rough climate.
Reptiles – The desert is home to some amazing reptiles. Learn about the snakes and lizard that call this park their home.
Birds – These are the most visible animals that you will see in the park. Many of them live off of the desert plants and animals that can be found here.
Geology in Arches National Park
Arches National Park lies atop of an underground salt bed called the Paradox Formation. This is what is responsible for the sandstone arches, spires, balanced rocks and columns you can see in the park.
The debris from floods and ocean waters pushed the earth and compressed to help form the rock formations as well.
If you are studying geology in your science curriculum, these resources will make for a unique and interesting unit study.
Arches National Park: A Red Rock Wonderland
- Geological formations – Learn about the many different formations you will see throughout the park.
- Rock Strata – Find out the different names of the rock strata and the geological time period it came from.
- Hard Core Rock Curricula – Free layers of the earth and plate tectonics and geology worksheets.
- Rocks and Minerals Lesson Plans – Understand what rocks and minerals are and practice differentiating between them with these hands-on activities and lessons.
Recommended Resource: The Geology Student Notebook – A Master Books Notebook Companion
Your students can learn all about the world beneath our feet through vocabulary, written narration, notebooking, and copywork as they use The Geology Student Notebook alongside The Geology Book by Master Books.
Arches National Park Virtual Tours & Websites:
Virtual tours are great for supplementing when you can’t get out to explore. They provide your children the opportunity to explore an amazing place that they may never get a chance to visit due to financial cost, or a far off location.
You will enjoy the variety in these different tours that show off the most breathtaking parts of Arches National Park.
Google Earth Tour of Arches National Park – Your kids are going to have so much fun viewing the park from the Google Earth cameras. It really looks like you are walking directly under some of the arches in the park.
Sand Dune Arch Virtual Tour – This VR field trip will let you view the popular sand dune arch with this virtual reality tour of the arch and the surrounding areas.
Arches National Park Photograph Virtual Tour – Take a tour of the park with the different photographs of the most popular arches.
Webcams for Arches National Park – View the webcams at the entrance of the park and off of the highway.
360 Panaroma Photos of the Park – Click the photos to see the most popular arches and hiking locations in a virtual, 360 degree format.
More National Park Exploring Fun:
U.S. Natural Landmarks Notebooking Journal – Travel the country without leaving home by exploring 3o popular, natural landmarks in the United States. Your children will have fun recording what they have learned in their very own notebooking travel journal.
U.S. National Parks Puzzle and Quiz Pack – 18 different activities for grades 4-6 to explore the national parks with fun puzzles and quiz packs.
Arches National Park is breathtakingly beautiful with natural landscapes that will blow you away. It’s worth exploring this national park with your family – even if it is from home!
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for almost 20 years.. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!