By Lynn Arave
ARCHES National Park was a late bloomer, as far as paved road access goes.
Dr. J.W. Williams and other Moab residents were credited with the first automobile ride into Arches in 1936 -- and they only reached the Balanced Rock and Windows area. They took a very rough path, basically what a jeep trail would be called today.
It wasn't until 1948 that the State of Utah spend $16,000 to improve the road into Arches -- and even then this was an unpaved road -- and only to Balanced Rock and the Windows formations (according to Times Independent Newspaper, Oct. 22, 1947 and April 22, 1948).
It wasn't until the summer of 1957 that the 9.2 miles of road from State Highway 191 to Windows was paved, at a cost of $700,000.
It was still an unpaved road northward from there, to the Devil's Garden.
This section was probably improved and paved by the late 1960s.
However, the side road to Wolf Ranch and the Delicate Arch trailhead was unpaved until the early 1990s.