The forces of nature have acted in concert to create the landscape of Arches, which contains the greatest density of natural arches in the world. Throughout the park, rock layers tell a story of millions of years of deposition, erosion and other geologic events. These layers continue to shape life in Arches today, as their erosion influences elemental features like soil chemistry and where water flows when it rains.
Arches is located in a "high desert," with elevations ranging from 4,085 to 5,653 feet above sea level. The climate is one of very hot summers, cold winters and very little rainfall. Even on a daily basis, temperatures may fluctuate as much as 50 degrees.
The native plants and animals at Arches are specially adapted to survive these conditions. The diversity of organisms reflects the variety of available habitat, which includes lush riparian areas, ephemeral pools, dry arroyos, mixed grasslands and large expanses of bare rock.Though most of Arches' visitors see the park in daylight, some of the best views happen only at night -- far overhead.
Arches' naturally dark night skies are older than the most ancient rocks, connecting us to the deep history of the universe.There's plenty to see when the sun goes down.
There is an abundance of wildlife in Arches. The list includes: spadefoot toad, antelope squirrel, scrub jay, peregrine falcon, many kinds of sparrows, red fox, desert bighorn sheep, kangaroo rat, mule deer, cougar, midget faded rattlesnake, yucca moth, many types of cyanobacteria, Western rattlesnake, and the Western collared lizard.
Plants also dominate the landscape in the park. The list of plants includes: prickly pear cactus, Indian ricegrass, bunch grasses, cheatgrass, lichen, moss, liverworts, Utah juniper, Mormon tea, blackbrush, cliffrose, four-winged saltbrush, pinyon pine, stemless woollybase, evening primrose, sand verbena, yucca, and sacred datura.