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Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 8)

Upper Courthouse Wash is a good way to find some solitude, even on busy days at the park. Although there is limited parking at the Courthouse Bridge, that is where you’ll want to start your hike. Getting to Ring Arch is a little tricky since there is no marked trail.

On the way to Ring Arch you will want to stop and smell the roses, not that the foliage smells anything like roses, but you get the drift. Lonesome Day (above) is one of my early composites where I noted that foreground could have great impact in viewing a landscape.

CW East Wall

Off to the right you’ll see miles of canyon wall and plenty of desert foliage. East Wall shows some of the intricate features that line the Courthouse wash. The canyon here is actually quite wide.

CW Ring Arch Wall

Most of the trek to Ring Arch is up the wash, but you need to choose the left when the wash forks. Picking out the arch from a distance is pretty difficult since it is a hole looking up. Ring Arch Wall is one of those places I’d like to climb so I could get a shot looking down through the arch. Note the shadow from the arch.

CW Ring Arch 1

Getting to Ring Arch requires some careful navigation since the cryptobiotic soil blocks the last hundreds yards to the approach. Once there you will want to shoot this arch from a number of angles.

CW South from Ring Arch

From the arch you get this great panorama looking south. This is 5 images stitched together.

CW Upper Courthouse Sunset

In the Upper Courthouse Wash you’ll see many features on cliffs, but just west of the Great Wall there is one solid mound of rock that juts up out in the middle of the canyon. It made a good feature for this sunset.

CW Last Light on Babel

As you return to your car, just north of Courthouse Bridge I took Last Light on Babel, which requires good timing. The light on the cottonwoods fades just as the best light turns the towers almost orange. This is one of my favorite early composites.

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