The Arch

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Its impressive structure dominates the landscape of St Louis. Officially, it is called the Gateway Arch of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

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We were able to reserve 6 nights at the 370 Lakeside Campground in St Peters, NW of St Louis. We were here last year and really liked it, so we returned. We never made it to the Arch last visit due to bad weather and construction so it was on top of the list of things to do if and when we returned. There’s still a lot of construction going on around the Arch and to buy tickets in person you must visit the Old Courthouse. (We got ours on line, discounted with our America the Beautiful Pass)

Really, the Courthouse on its own is worth a visit. It is the sight of the Dred Scott decision which was integral to the Civil War.

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Then it’s about a 8 block walk to the entrance to the Arch. The Courthouse and Arch are part of the National Park System. We continue to be amazed at the diversity and quality of our National Parks.

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It takes quite a while to get through security and wait in line for your timed ascent. When it is your time, you are crammed in a rather small pod 5 to a capsule. You are in very close quarters with complete strangers for the 4 minute ride to the top.

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Tom in the pod-like tram car

There’s a lot of clicking and creaking and we are reminded that construction of this thing started when we were in the first grade. The door opens when you are 360 feet up and you extricate yourself to a narrow room where little slits of windows present a spectacular view.

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We picked a good day, as it is very clear and we can see a long way, perhaps 30 miles.

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View from the top looking West


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View looking East and the Mississippi River

Then you wait again for a trip back down. There’s a very dramatic filmstrip about the construction and a small gift shop. They are renovating the museum so it is closed now and due to reopen in 2018.

Claustrophobia and Acrophobia aside, we are happy we made the trip. We’ll be here a few more days and then will head south with a scheduled stop at the Mark Twain National Forest and on to Branson.

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