Arches National Park has annual rainfall of less than nine inches with fewer than six inches of snow. This low precipitation, together with an elevation above 5,000 feet and very hot summers, have created a high-desert ecosystem. Shrubs are the dominant vegetation, including blackbrush, four-wing saltbrush and cliffrose. Two tree species have also adapted to the harsh environment. Pinyons have reddish bark, crooked trunks and can survive up to 200 years. Utah junipers like this one often appear dead. In reality, the plant stops sending moisture to its extremities during dry periods. The park’s rocky landscape also hosts about 50 animal species. Chances are you might spot a desert cottontail, a mule deer or some of the eleven types of mice and rats. Consider yourself very lucky if you see a red fox, desert bighorn sheep or a mountain lion.