Mesa Arch is one of the most popular natural arches in the west and a tour of Canyonlands National Park would not be complete unless this majestic landmark is experienced. This scenic area is located on the Island In The Sky high mesa along Grand View Point Road and signage marks the trailhead. There is a large parking area with facilities and the short hiking trail to Mesa Arch is rated as easy, so just about anybody can take in the majestic views.
On the downside, plenty of patience will be required just to find an empty parking place on a busy peak season day. In fact, there often is a line of cars waiting for a spot to open, so those who are just doing a quick day tour often have to take a pass. Mesa Arch is subject to overcrowding and trying to take a clean photo of this natural wonder with no tourists in the picture can be an impossible dream. In this way, Mesa Arch can be a frustrating experience, but the views certainly will still be memorable.
The best time of day to view or photograph Mesa Arch is when the morning light causes the bottom of the arch to glow with golden colors. Capturing a view of sunrise inside the arch with the majestic Canyonlands landscape in the background is the ultimate goal early in the morning and a good photo of this sight will definitely be worth framing. The problem is there will be countless others on any given day that have the same idea in mind, especially when sunny blue skies are in the forecast. Timing will be of essence, because waiting for a clear shot of the arch becomes the game as the day moves on.
As mentioned in many previous articles, the best way to avoid overcrowding is to tour Canyonlands during the slow winter off-season or when there is inclement weather. Since about 99% of all photos are taken on a sunny day, a photograph of Mesa Arch during stormy weather will have instant appeal. Stormy weather keeps the big crowds away and there are always breaks between the rain showers that offer unimpeded views. No matter whether the park is crowded or not, Mesa Arch simply must be chalked high on the Canyonlands destination list simply because it is such a magnificent sight to see!
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