Corona Arch is a hike near Moab, Utah that takes you to an impressive arch without having to fight the crowds in Arches National Park. You can get right under it’s massive trunk. We have done this hike so many times and keep bringing friends back because it is stunning.
This is also the spot of the famous “World’s Largest Rope Swing” that was all the rage on YouTube and social media a few years ago. Kenon and a group of his friends were some of the last people to experience the Corona Arch rope swing before it was banned. Currently, all rope activities on the arch are prohibited.
Trail length: 2.3 miles, out&back
Average time: 1 – 2 hours
Our time: Varies on whether or not we are staying to watch the stars
Ages of our group: 23 – 27, mid-50’s
The trailhead is located 10 miles driving west on Potash Rd from Moab, right across from Gold Bar Campground and the Colorado River. There is a large parking lot but no bathrooms or water, so plan ahead.
The trail begins by climbing a crude staircase of rock and dirt. It then evens out to cross a set of live railroad tracks. Since the track is live, there is a barbwire fence that maneuvers in a way that allows humans in but not animals. Cross the tracks and continue following the red dirt path.
The path soon begins to spread out along a rocky butte. It is difficult to know exactly which way to go because everything looks the same. There are green stripes painted on the ground to help guide the way! The trail used to be only marked with cairns which were sparse and difficult to see. The new green markers are much more useful.
About a mile in you will turn a corner and suddenly be able to see the arch. The trail gets very interesting at this point. Follow a thick wire along the cliff then ascend the cliff by climbing natural stairs, guided by another wire, worn into the rock. Turning right, there is a ladder to assist you with the final ascent.
Then continue walking along the cliff, taking in the amazing panorama until you get to the arch.
The trail heads right underneath the arch. Being under something so gigantic and sturdy is awe-inspiring. Looking out across the canyon transports you to the Wild West and it is obvious what the settlers saw in the untamed land!
Our favorite thing to do is relax under the arch until night falls. The sky is incredibly dark here and the stars shine in abundance. It is quiet, peaceful, and absolutely spectacular once the sun sets. It is an easy hike which makes returning after dark safe. Just remember to bring a headlamp or flashlight and carefully follow the green lines back to the parking lot.
Gear of the Trip:
Black Diamond Headlamp. This is a wonderful spot to star-gaze due to the extremely low crowds and incredibly dark skies. If you are star-gazing at the end of a trail, though, that means a hike back to the car in the dark. I have seen so many people begin this trail at dusk without a headlamp or flashlight! To be honest, that phone flashlight is just not going to cut it. Phone batteries are unreliable when the temperature drops at night, when you are constantly using the camera, and when the flashlight is on for an extended period of time. Portable flashlights and Headlamps are easy to carry, durable, and have long lasting batteries. And – bonus! – you can use them hands free.