hiking corona arch

Hiking Corona Arch in Moab, Utah

On my way to Antelope Canyon in Arizona, I made a pit stop for a hike in Moab, Utah. I was driving from Breckenridge, Colorado to Page, AZ, which is a quick nine hour drive. I had heard about Corona Arch after doing a typical Millennial google search and talking to two friends that had recently camped and hiked in Moab.

Before pursuing this hike, I confirmed with my friends Andy and Whitney that this wasn't a strenuous day long hike and it was only three miles and two hours long. The trail head to Corona Arch is off the Utah Scenic Byway 279, 10 miles west of Utah 279/U.S. 191 junction.​

Thankfully I had used Maps.ME on my roadtrip, because I had horrible service during my journey. On the app you can download the areas you are traveling to and navigate to saved places. It's a lifesaver when you don't have WIFI or data.​

At the very beginning of the hike you have to cross an active railroad track. Still owned and operated by Union Pacific, as you look down the tracks and you wonder if it ever ends. ​I was half tempted to walk down the path, but decided I had better keep my eye on the prize: hiking to Corona Arch.

hiking in corona arch

The trail to Corona Arch was mostly flat, you only gain about 440 feet in elevation. It was a little difficult to tell what was the trail and what wasn't, but the cairns scattered throughout the desert lead me to the arch.

moab hikes

Cairns on cairns

My hike was mid day and mid week, so I was essentially on my own embracing the wilderness. As I got closer to the arch, I was slightly deterred by the parts of the hike that were sectioned off with steel ropes. As I crossed the steep parts, I clung to the steel rope (meant to function as a "hand rail"), just in case clumsy Colleen came out. 

The "handrail" ​was the only thing protecting me from the imminent demise into Bootlegger Canyon. Not only did the name sound unpleasant, but so did the fall.

Finally, I turned a corner and was able to see the beautiful arch! I took a break, drank some water, and enjoyed the view, while debating whether I wanted to climb up the side of the rock to get a closer look.​

​As someone that is a little risk adverse, I surprised myself by making the decision to climb the side of the rock to get a closer look at Corona Arch. I put my camera away so I'd have both hands free to cling to the steel rope as my feet carefully navigated the tiny foot holds. 

corona arch directions

Bowtie Arch

Once I reached the top of the treacherous climb, ​I walked along the edge (not too close, of course!) to my next obstacle which was a sketchy metal ladder. I carefully got myself to the top and gingerly walked along the edge until I came face to face with Bowtie Arch.

​Bowtie Arch is a sandstone porthole. A sandstone porthole is when water collects in depressions of the sandstone. Eventually the water erodes through, hence making a hole. 

Immediately to my right was the massive Corona Arch that's over 100 feet tall. ​The arch is so wide that airplanes have even flown through it! 

corona arch trail

The hike to Corona Arch was a great way to break up the drive and probably due to my timing and being a bit off the beaten path I was completely by myself. No worrying about traffic, parking, and tourists getting in my photos! I highly recommend it, but bring lots of water! Or better yet, bring a cheeky Corona beer to enjoy at the arch 😉

13 comments

  1. Sheena

    I remember seeing the railway tracks photo on your Instagram, so happy to come across the post too! Corona Arch looks absolutely stunning, I just love being in the desert & I’d love to visit this place one day.

  2. Great to see, love the canyon views really would like to hike around a canyon if I’m heading to the US and of course got to do a selfie 🙂 Be interesting to see where those railroad tracks lead to as well.. 🙂

    Fellow travel blogger,
    OneTechTraveller

  3. A really enjoyable post and Utah is a part of the world that I have long wanted to visit. I actually have a friend (also Irish) married and living out there now and he has often told me of how striking the scenery can be though and you certainly managed to capture at least some of this in your photos. Perhaps I’ll be able to concoct a good excuse to visit him in the not too distant future!

  4. The terrain looks so rugged and out of the world. It looks like a place where you have just landed in a UFO! The place looks incredible with a wild kind of beauty.

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