This quick hike runs down a gorgeous narrow canyon, meeting up with the highway at its beginning and end. Wonderful views of desert towers and sheer sandstone cliffs fill the scenery.
From Moab drive north along the 191, crossing the Colorado River until you reach the signposted turn towards Arches National Park. Pay your dues at the park entrance, then drive along the Arches Scenic Drive for 3.5km. The trailhead will be on your left, with ample parking for the hike.
|When to do|
Moderate to High
Begin at the trailhead and continue towards the obvious viewpoint. From here you see exactly where the hike will take you, down the narrow cliff-lined valley towards the parkway at the opposite end. You will quickly lose elevation as you continue along the well-maintained trail. In fact there are even little steps added to the steeper sections to make them easier on the knees.
As you reach the bottom of the valley you will feel much more isolated than you actually are, as the parking lot is completely hidden from view. The trail continues, trending downwards through the canyon. Towards the end of the hike you will be able to see the Three Gossips tower on your left, and past that the Sheep Rock. These stunning monuments of nature are jaw dropping, and impose a powerful feeling of insignificance on you and your fellow hikers.
Past the halfway point of the trail a slick-rock section begins. It’s hard to follow the exact trail at times, however cairns help enough to significantly reduce the potential for any major issue. The trail ends at the courthouse viewpoint. Return the way you came.
Beware! The canyon can easily act as a fierce wind tunnel. Pack a rain jacket or puffy coat as well as a hat to keep the howling wind at bay.
If you have two vehicles and want to reduce the difficulty of the hike, park one vehicle at the Courthouse Viewpoint. This would reduce the elevation gain to zero, and the grade of the hike to a 1/5.
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