Dean M. Chriss
Sandstone Fins at Sunrise, Arches National Park, Landscape Photograph by Dean M. Chriss

Sandstone Fins at Sunrise, Arches National Park

(Click image to enlarge)

There are literally thousands of sandstone fins in Arches National Park and most are not named. Those in this photograph are exceptions because they are so impressive and dominate the landscape. It is impossible to get a sense of their scale until you stand next to one, which is an awesome experience. This photograph was captured as the first light of a winter day illuminates the scene, imparting a warm glow on a frigid morning.

The formations on the far left in this Photograph are called The Three Gossips. To their right part of Sheep Rock is visible, partly blocked by other Courthouse Tower formations. To the right of those is The Tower of Babble, and finally The Organ is on the far right of this image. The rightmost fins are roughly 435 feet (133 meters) high, but very thin. All arches began as fins. Depending on hardness variations within the rock and erosion, some fins turn into arches. Arches National Park contains the highest concentration of natural stone arches on earth, and thousands of fins that will eventually become arches. I highly recommend taking a look at the very interesting and interactive "Then and Now" web page from the U.S. National Park Service. It uses actual photographs to show how Skyline Arch and many other features in Arches National Park have changed in fairly recent times.