Arches National Park vs Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

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Are you ready for an adventure like no other? Look no further than Arches National Park and Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve. These two national parks offer vastly different experiences, but both are sure to leave you in awe. Arches National Park, located in Utah, is known for its striking red rock formations, including over 2,000 natural stone arches. Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve, on the other hand, is located in Alaska and boasts an incredible 13.2 million acres of rugged wilderness, including glaciers, mountains, and abundant wildlife. Imagine hiking through a landscape of towering red rock spires in one park, and then exploring a glacier-carved valley the next. These two parks offer a perfect opportunity to experience both the desert and the tundra. So pack your bags and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

Hiking Trails in Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve both offer a wide variety of hiking trails, but the difficulty and type of hikes can vary greatly between the two parks.

Arches National Park is known for its unique rock formations, including over 2,000 natural stone arches, and offers a variety of hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. Some of the easiest hikes at the park include the Park Avenue Trail, which is a 1.5-mile round-trip hike that leads to a viewpoint of Park Avenue, and the Balanced Rock Trail, which is a 0.3-mile round-trip hike that leads to a viewpoint of the iconic Balanced Rock formation. For more challenging hikes, the Delicate Arch Trail is a 3-mile round-trip hike that leads to the famous Delicate Arch formation, and the Devils Garden Trail is an 8-mile round-trip hike that leads to several arches and rock formations.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve, on the other hand, is the largest national park in the United States and offers a wide variety of hiking trails in remote and rugged wilderness. Some of the easiest hikes at the park include the Root Glacier Trail, a 3.5-mile round-trip hike that leads to the Root Glacier, and the Nabesna Road, a scenic drive that offers views of the Wrangell Mountains. For more challenging hikes, the Mount Wrangell is a 14-mile round-trip hike that leads to the summit of Mount Wrangell, an active volcano, and the Bagley Icefield is a 23-mile round-trip hike that leads to the edge of the Bagley Icefield, one of the largest non-polar icefields in the world.

Overall, Arches National Park offers shorter, easier hikes that are more focused on sightseeing and enjoying the park’s unique rock formations, while Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve offers longer, more challenging hikes that take you into remote wilderness areas with spectacular views of glaciers and mountains.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Arches National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Delicate Arch Trail 3.09 mi 613.36 ft out and back Moderate 5/5
Devils Garden Loop Trail with 7 Arches 7.48 mi 1,069.28 ft loop Hard 5/5
Double Arch Trail 0.50 mi 32.80 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Fiery Furnace and Surprise Arch 1.70 mi 436.24 ft loop Moderate 5/5
Landscape Arch Trail 1.90 mi 259.12 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Windows Loop and Turret Arch Trail 1.20 mi 170.56 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Balanced Rock Loop Trail 0.30 mi 45.92 ft loop Easy 4/5
Park Avenue Trail 1.80 mi 298.48 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Sand Dune Arch Trail 0.30 mi 108.24 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Wolfe Ranch and Petroglyph Trail 0.50 mi 16.40 ft loop Easy 4.5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
0.00 mi 0.00 ft /5

Wildlife in Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Arches National Park and Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve are both home to a diverse array of wildlife. While the types of animals and plants found in each park are vastly different, both parks offer unique and thrilling opportunities to see a wide variety of species.

Arches National Park, located in the desert of southern Utah, is home to a variety of animals that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. Visitors to the park may see desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and coyotes. Reptiles such as the desert tortoise, gopher snake, and western rattlesnake can also be found in the park. The park is also home to a variety of birds including golden eagles, peregrine falcons, and red-tailed hawks.

Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve, located in Alaska, is home to a much different array of wildlife. The park’s 13.2 million acres of rugged wilderness provide habitat for a wide variety of species. Visitors to the park may see Dall sheep, mountain goats, and moose. The park is also home to a variety of predators including grizzly bears, wolves, and wolverines. Visitors may also see a variety of birds such as eagles, falcons, and owls. Additionally, the park is home to a variety of fish species, including salmon, which can be seen in the park’s rivers and streams.

In terms of plants, Arches National Park is known for its unique desert plants such as Joshua trees, cacti and sagebrush. Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve, on the other hand, is home to a variety of plants that are adapted to the colder climate such as spruce, aspen, and willow.

Overall, while Arches National Park and Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve are vastly different in terms of climate and terrain, both parks offer visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of unique and fascinating wildlife.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Arches National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron
Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush
American Kestrel American Kestrel
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
Song Sparrow Song Sparrow
European Starling European Starling
Northern Pintail Northern Pintail
American Wigeon American Wigeon
Green-Winged Teal Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Arches National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Little Brown Bat
Bobcat Black Bear
Striped Skunk Porcupine
Little Brown Bat Red Fox
Deer Mouse Puma
Raccoon Mink
Black Bear Mule Deer
Porcupine Wolf
Silver-Haired Bat Short-Tailed Weasel
Hoary Bat Snowshoe Hare
Red Fox Land Otter
Long-Tailed Weasel Common Shrew
House Mouse Water Shrew
Mountain Lion Red Squirrel
American Mink Montane Shrew
Mule Deer Long-Tailed Vole
Common Gray Fox Lynx
Long-Legged Myotis Wolverine
Long-Eared Myotis American Marten
American Badger Northern Flying Squirrel
California Myotis Grizzly Bear
Northern River Otter Meadow Vole

Amphibians

Arches National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Northern Leopard Frog Wood Frog
Tiger Salamander
American Bullfrog
Woodhouse’s Toad
Red-Spotted Toad
Canyon Treefrog

Fish

Arches National Park Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve
Largemouth Bass Steelhead
Green Sunfish Longnose Sucker
Bluegill Lake Trout
Fathead Minnow Northern Pike
Common Carp Burbot
Speckled Dace Silver Salmon
Yellow Bullhead King Salmon
Slimy Sculpin
Threespine Stickleback
Sockeye Salmon
Pink Salmon
Chum Salmon
Dolly Varden
Cutthroat Trout
Arctic Grayling

Beautiful Landscapes in Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve both offer a wide variety of stunning landscapes and natural features.

Arches National Park is known for its unique rock formations, including over 2,000 natural stone arches. Some of the most famous landscapes at the park include:
– Delicate Arch: A natural arch that stands at 46 feet tall and is one of the most iconic symbols of the park. Visitors can hike to the arch for a close-up view of it.
– Balanced Rock: A massive rock formation that stands at 128 feet tall and appears to be precariously balanced on a small base. It can be viewed from a short, easy hike.
– Landscape Arch: One of the longest natural arches in the world, measuring 306 feet from base to base. Visitors can hike to the arch for a view of it.
– Park Avenue: A narrow, two-mile long canyon that features towering red rock walls on either side, providing a dramatic backdrop for photographs.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve is the largest national park in the United States and offers a wide variety of landscapes and natural features. Some of the most famous landscapes at the park include:
– Wrangell Mountains: A massive mountain range that runs through the park, featuring peaks that reach up to 16,000 feet. Visitors can hike or take a scenic drive to view the mountains.
– Root Glacier: A large glacier that visitors can hike on and explore, offering views of crevasses, ice caves, and other glacial features.
– Nabesna Road: A scenic drive that offers views of the Wrangell Mountains, glaciers, and alpine meadows.
– Bagley Icefield: One of the largest non-polar icefields in the world, visitors can hike to the edge of the ice field for views of glaciers and snow-capped peaks.

In summary, Arches National Park is famous for its unique rock formations, particularly its natural stone arches, while Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve is famous for its remote wilderness areas, particularly its glaciers, mountains and alpine meadows. Both parks offer spectacular vistas, but the type of landscapes and natural features visitors can see during a visit to the park will be different.

Things To-Do and Activities in Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah and is known for its red rock formations and natural arches. Some of the most popular activities at Arches National Park include hiking, sightseeing, and photography. Visitors can hike to popular arches such as Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double Arch. The park also offers several scenic drives, including the Park Avenue and Windows sections, which provide excellent views of the park’s natural features. Photography is also a popular activity at Arches National Park, as the unique rock formations and natural arches make for excellent photo opportunities.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is located in southern Alaska and is known for its rugged wilderness and glaciers. Some of the most popular activities at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve include hiking, backpacking, camping, and sightseeing. Visitors can hike to the top of Mount Wrangell, one of the park’s most popular peaks, or explore the park’s glaciers, such as the Root Glacier or the Nabesna Glacier. Backpacking and camping are also popular activities at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve, as the park offers a variety of remote backcountry campsites. Sightseeing is also a popular activity, as visitors can take in the park’s spectacular scenery, including the Wrangell Mountains, the Chugach Mountains, and the Copper River.

In summary, Arches National Park is known for its red rock formations and natural arches, and visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, sightseeing and photography. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is known for its rugged wilderness and glaciers, and visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, backpacking, camping, and sightseeing.

Best Time to Visit Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Arches National Park and Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve are both unique in terms of their seasonal weather patterns, and the best time to visit each park can vary depending on what type of weather you prefer.

Arches National Park, located in the desert of southern Utah, experiences hot summers and mild winters. The summer months of June through August can be extremely hot, with temperatures reaching over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is recommended to visit the park during the cooler months of September through May, when temperatures are more comfortable for outdoor activities. Additionally, the park’s spectacular red rock formations are often at their most vibrant during the spring and fall months, making it an ideal time to visit.

Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve, located in Alaska, experiences cool summers and cold winters. The summer months of June through August are the best time to visit the park, as this is when the weather is the mildest and the park’s glaciers and snow-capped peaks are easily accessible. However, the park can also be visited during the winter months, when it transforms into a winter wonderland. Visitors can enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and dog-sledding. However, it’s important to note that during the winter, the park’s facilities and many of the park’s roads are closed, and visitors will have to plan accordingly.

In summary, Arches National Park is best visited during the cooler months of spring and fall, while Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve is best visited during the milder months of summer. However, both parks can also be enjoyed during the winter if visitors are prepared for the colder weather and limited access to facilities.

Family Friendliness of Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Arches National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve are both beautiful national parks, but they differ in terms of their family-friendliness.

Arches National Park is considered more family-friendly due to its shorter and easier hiking trails, as well as its many picnic areas, campgrounds, and visitor centers. The park’s main road is paved and provides easy access to many of the park’s most popular sights, including the Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, and Park Avenue. The park also offers ranger-led programs, such as guided hikes and campfire talks, that can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve, on the other hand, is a more rugged and remote park that may be less suitable for families with young children. The park offers longer and more challenging hiking trails that may be difficult for young children, and many of the park’s popular sights, such as the Root Glacier and the Bagley Icefield, require strenuous hiking or backpacking. While the park offers beautiful landscapes and natural features, it may not be as accessible to families with young children.

Overall, Arches National Park is a more family-friendly option for visitors looking for shorter, easier hikes and more visitor amenities, while Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve may be more suitable for older children and adults looking for a more remote and challenging outdoor experience.

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