Portal Overlook hike near Moab, Utah
Portal Overlook hike near Moab, Utah

Portal Overlook hike

Moab and Arches National Park
View Photos
Trail views on Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab, UtahAmazing scenery on Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab, UtahGreat scenery on Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab, UtahBeautiful views across the valley on Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab, UtahArches National Park view from Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab, UtahTrail of Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab leads along the ridgeView from the top of Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab, UtahGreat scenery of Dead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab, UtahDead Horse Point Loop hike near Moab is surrounded by beautiful cliffs

Portal Overlook hike

Distance: 8.2km
Elevation: 391m
Time: 2.5-3

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.3 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

An incredible hike with stunning views and way less traffic that most of the popular trails in the area. Though it involves more climbing than typical for the region, it is well graded and definitely worth the effort.

Portal Overlook hike Map

Getting there

Head north from Moab and turn left onto the S 279, just after crossing over the Colorado River. Continue along this highway for 6.4km until you reach the Jaycee Park campground. This turnoff comes up super fast, so watch out! If you find yourself driving underneath the dozens of climbers at ‘Wall Street’ you’ve gone too far. The trailhead is located opposite the 7 Site campground.

I’ve done this 62 people have done this
I want to do this 86 want to do this route

About

When to do

Year Round

Backcountry Campsites

Yes

Toilets

Yes

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Portal Overlook
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Portal Overlook

Start the hike just past the large dumpster and hike along the narrow, sandy, single-track path. The trail starts out flat for the first 0.8km or so, then emerges from the trees and starts to gain elevation quickly. Thankfully, the terrain becomes more pact and easy to walk on as well. Beginning deeper in the canyon, you will backtrack near the roadway you drove in on before gaining enough elevation to leave it behind. You will also be granted great views of the Colorado River as you climb.

As the trail steepens you might start to notice mountain bike tracks. This trail is in fact also a popular mountain bike decent, so watch out for speedsters shredding the incredibly gnarly trail! At times the route can be hard to follow here, but there are plenty of cairns to assist you along the way.

By the halfway point you should be able to see the Le Sal Mountains peaking around behind the opposite canyon walls, looming over the Moab skyline. If you go early enough in the season these mountains can still be snow covered, giving fantastic contrast to the hot and sandy desert you’re currently trudging through. One season we actually got snow on this hike in late April, though that is incredibly rare.

After gaining most of the elevation for the hike, you’ll emerge from the entire Canyon and turn left to continue along the ridge-line. From here the trail seriously narrows. For those scared of heights this might be the turnaround spot. Don’t worry though, the views in the early section of the route are similar to those at the end.

As you close in on the end of the trail you will start to get views looking down into Arches National Park. In the distance you will even be able to make out Balanced Rock pretty clearly. The end of the trail is denoted by a switch from single to double track. Spend some time here to enjoy the enormity of the scenery, as it truly is spectacular for a complete 360 degrees. You will be able to see great planes, dramatic towers, the quaint city of Moab, the Colorado River as well as the La Sal Mountains all from the end point of this hike.

If you want to find other great hikes around Moab and Arches National Park, check out the Delicate Arch Hike, Double Arch Hike or the Dead Horse Point Hike.

Insider Hints

  • In late summer the canyon walls can give shade to this hike later in the afternoon.

  • Take breaks in the shade underneath some of the large boulders located along the trail.

Comments

Clara Fields 6 months ago

The hard work is paid off with an amazing view of the Moab Valley. So worth it!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 45m Time Taken
Barbara Clarkson 6 months ago

Great trail to a beautiful arch. Perfect!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3h 00m Time Taken
ArnoldM 6 months ago

Definitely recommend going back for sunset.. It was spectacular!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 25m Time Taken
ShantiLewis 6 months ago

Be sure to have plenty of water before, during, and after the trip and be careful while hiking up.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3h 00m Time Taken
leo_Martini 6 months ago

It really is amazing and you should definitely go.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
3h 00m Time Taken
Stevie M 8 months ago

Awesome workout/hike. I loved the second half of the hike which is more exposed

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
2h 30m Time Taken
BoulderBound 8 months ago

Splendid views love the large boulders located along the trail.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Sammy L. 9 months ago

Lovely views of the river as you hike

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
brandonlong 1 year ago

It was perfect! Portal Overlook is extremely awesome!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Adriana K. 1 year ago

A great place to go for some quiet and solitude.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
26 Comments Show all

Similar hikes to the Portal Overlook hike

Devils Garden Loop

Devils Garden Loop

Difficulty:
12.4km
368m
3-4.5h

Devils Garden Path challenging hike snakes along a wide, well-travelled trail to an array of otherworldly, towering arches, all dubbed…

Delicate Arch hike in Arches

Delicate Arch

Difficulty:
5.4km
226m
1.5-2h

The most popular trail in the park, the Delicate Arch hike leads up a steep slick rock section to the…

Hike the Devil's Garden in Moab

Devil's Garden

Difficulty:
4.2km
99m
1-1.5h

This quick hike runs down a gorgeous narrow canyon, meeting up with the highway at its beginning and end. Wonderful…