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Arches National Park is probably the most underrated National Park. It features the largest collection of natural stone arches in the world. Even if you don't bike, camp or whitewater raft, you still could spend days sight-seeing and photographing this unusual park.

Located just north of Moab, Utah, Arches National Park contains over 2,000 arches, plus numerous pinnacles, spires and balanced rocks. Be sure to stop at the new visitor center before heading up the road into the park. The park rangers there can direct you to the not-to-be-missed sites. The first important stop is Park Avenue, which is a cool viewpoint of a valley bordered by an immense, narrow wall of rock. You can't see the viewpoint when driving down the road, and many visitors drive on by, missing this spot.

As you head further into the park, you will want to stop at the Windows Section, which has several massive arches that are easily accessible. You'll probably also spot Balanced Rock nearby. Take some pictures, as it may not be there on your next visit.

Probably the most beautiful arch is Delicate Arch, which has been featured on the cover of countless travel books, the Rand McNally Atlas and is on the Utah state license plate. To see it, you hike about a mile up a gradual hill. Delicate Arch rests on the edge of an immense bowl of sandstone. Use caution when moving about the area as the arch perimeter is very steep and you could be seriously hurt if you fall to the bottom. Behind Delicate Arch is the La Sal Mountains. For these photos in December, the La Sal Mountains had a fresh coat of snow.

Wintertime is a great time to see Arches National Park. There usually is plenty of sunshine to ward off any Winter chill, the trails are uncrowded, and hotel rates are less the half the price during the more popular summer travel season.

 

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