Arches National Park in Utah to see major construction | SteamboatToday.com

Arches National Park in Utah to see major construction

Photographing the Delicate Arch at sunset is one of the highlights of a trip to Moab and Arches National Park. Be warned though. If you're standing too close to the arch at the peak of the sunset, be prepared to be booed by a sea of photographers.

— Steamboat Springs residents who partake in the spring migration to Moab will want to pencil in some extra time, and patience, if they plan on visiting one of the area's most popular national parks.

Arches National Park will be undergoing a major $16 million road reconstruction project from March through November.

And that means more delays and closures inside a park that can already bring traffic to a crawl at times.

Devils Garden Campground, the only campground inside the park, will be closed for the duration of the project.

Some trails in the park could close as the roadwork advances.

And all visitors will have to exit the park by 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday due to night paving operations.

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According to the National Park Service, the roads in the park were originally designed and built to accommodate 75,000 visitors each year back in the late 1950s.

But with the park now seeing more than 1.5 million visitors each year, park officials said the roads and pullouts are in need of some upgrades.

Click here to view a more detailed Q&A from the park about the project, or follow Arches National Park on Facebook for more information.

Of course, the construction won't completely ruin a trek to the area, which is a five-hour drive from Steamboat.

Visitors can still stay and stargaze in the park Fridays and Saturdays.

And for visitors who arrive in Moab early enough on a weekend, prime camping spots still can be found along the Colorado River off of Utah State Route 128 (Colorado River Scenic Byway).

The closer you get to Moab, the more full the campsites tend to get, so plan on trying to grab a spot earlier in the day.

If the river sites are full, there are a number of camping spots offering mountain views in the Sand Flats Recreation Area.

Other attractions that aren't too far from the Moab area include Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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