The Wall Arch Collapses

The famed natural formation was discovered and named in 1948

Wall Arch, Utah // (c) 2008, National Park Service
Wall Arch, Before & After
(c) National Park Service
On the morning of Aug. 5, park interpreters at Utah’s Arches National Park found its first major casualty in17 years: the Wall Arch along Devils Garden Trail collapsed. The famed natural formation was discovered and named in 1948, but eventually gave way to erosion and gravity this summer.

The Wall Arch was ranked 12th largest out of the estimated 2,000 sandstone arches found in the park spanning 33 feet tall and 71 feet across.

“Arches are temporary features,” chief park interpreter Paul Henderson told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s just a question of time before every arch in the park collapses.”

Because of continuing erosion and debris, the section of the trail has been closed down until further notice. However, hopeful travelers should not be discouraged. The largest arch, Landscape Arch, is still open to visitors stretching over 300 feet long and the park’s most famous arch, the free-standing Delicate Arch, stands strong overlooking the Utah canyons below.

At present, entrance into the park is $5 per person or $10 per vehicle and is open all day, every day except for Christmas day. The park spans 119 square miles and welcomes over 850,000 visitors a year. Although rock climbing on any park named rock face is prohibited, backpacking, hiking and biking are popular recreational activities within the park.