Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring in Utah's Desert: The Corona Arch Hike

          A hike on the Corona Arch trail provides a delightful introduction to the desert’s assorted charms.  The trek begins with an uphill climb; the Colorado River comes into view on the ascent and you may witness rafters drifting along on the gentle current.  Next, a half-mile walk across open terrain showcases desert flora while lizards dart across your path.  Finally, you’ll traverse slickrock while reveling in expansive views of both Bow Tie and Corona arches.  If you’re lucky, when you reach Corona Arch you’ll have it all to yourself—relax, gaze skyward, and reflect in solitude upon this awe-inspiring monolithic span. 
The Corona Arch Trail is everything a desert trail should be—try it and see for yourself.  Find the trailhead by driving north of Moab, turning left on Potash Road and continuing 10 miles to a parking area on the right side of the road.  This hike is best attempted in late March or early April when moderate temperatures and blooming cacti increase its enjoyment.

NOTE:   In the year since this post was written, climbers have figured out how to adapt climbing gear to set up a 250-foot pendulum ride under the arch, transforming this once tranquil place into a thrill-seeking Disneyesque attraction.  Now, while reclining under Corona arch, you may have your solitude broken by adrenaline junkies swinging through the arch.  
Two days ago (March 24, 2013) a climber was killed when he misjudged the length of his rope and crashed into the ground.  I fear this unfortunate incident is likely only to increase interest in this "ultimate thrill ride".

Descriptions of the hike can be found on this website:  

        The following photos detail our progression on this rewarding hike.

A Claret Cup Cactus plant flashes its brilliant red flowers.

The final half mile of the hike presents these panoramic views
 of Bow Tie Arch—left, and Corona Arch—right.

Bow Tie Arch

Rita approaches Corona Arch.

Tim relaxes by the base of Corona Arch.

Rita is dwarfed by this magnificent rock span.
The Oxford American Dictionary defines corona
as "Architecture a part of a cornice having a
broad vertical face".
I think you'll have to agree that not a single man-made
piece of architecture could hope to compete with
this natural corona.


  1. Oh my! How I envy the marvelous hiking venues that are available to you by living in the Western U.S.!

    Each time I view one of your Blog reports from one of those stunning "Out West" locations, it makes me want to pack up and "Go West, young man" . . . well, maybe not so young, as I once was! :)


  2. John, with your extensive hiking experience I think you would really enjoy (and easily conquer) many of the hikes "out west". So maybe it's time to "Go West, young man"–no matter what your age may be!

  3. This is really a marvellous post Rita and yes, you are really fortunate to have been able to see such unique creations of nature..

    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Manikchand!
      Yes, we are fortunate to have so many natural wonders in our backyard—and to have them protected on federal lands.

  4. Hi Rita,

    This is a trip I've wanted to take for many years - thank you for sharing your tips and photos. One of these days...

    I had a similar experience hiking in Nevada's Valley of Fire, outside of Las Vegas. There is a feature called Elephant Rock that is similar to your Corona Arch. I lucked out and hiked in mid-April and was treated to many a desert flower in bloom. It's a special time of year to be in the desert as your vivid photos attest!

    1. Hi Vickie,
      I've heard great things about the Valley of Fire—it's a place I've never been. It's wonderful to see the desert in bloom, isn't it?
      When you have the time to come and visit the Moab area, let me know!