Trip Report: Corona Arch
CORONA ARCH HIKE IN MOAB, UTAH
Round Trip: 3 miles
Hiking Time: 2 Hours
High Point: 4400 Feet
Elevation Gain: 440 Feet
Best Season: Spring, Fall and Winter
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Paw Comfort: Sandstone
Water: Bring Your Own
Map: USGS Moab (UT)
Contact: Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office (435) 259-2100. www.blm.gov/utah/moab
Getting To Corona Arch:
Head north out of Moab on U.S. Highway 191. About 1.3 miles after the bridge that crosses the Colorado River turn left (west) onto Potash Road (State Road 279). Follow 279 for 10.1 miles to the Corona Arch trailhead. The trailhead and parking area are on the right.
Notes: Corona Arch is also known as “Little Rainbow Bridge” because of its resemblance to its Lake Powell namesake.
Stop at the Potash Petroglyphs and Dinosaur Tracks either on the way up to the trailhead or the way back from it. You can see the Petroglyphs from your car and the dino tracks are just a short 200-yard skip from the Poison Spider Trailhead, 6 miles from the Potash Road sign.
Doggies may not be allowed to check out Arches National Park but that doesn’t mean they can’t visit one of the coolest arches in southern Utah. From the top of this relatively easy but exposed trail you can see the Colorado River and slickrock canyon as well as Corona and Bowtie arches. The most strenuous part of the hike is at the beginning when you hit a steep scramble up to railroad tracks.
Just below Corona, the tracks enter a one-mile tunnel built in the 1960s to carry Potash- form of potassium carbonate used to make soap, fertilizer and glass. Trains still run through the area several times a week to connect to Crescent Junction at I-70 in Colorado.
Make sure you register at the visitor box near the railroad tracks. When you cross the tracks, you’ll follow a flat dirt road then turn up for stone, sandstone and sharp drops on your left. At the crest, you’ll cross the plateau and trek over an enormous sandstone boulder with a cable line bolted in, in case you need extra support. Although not as tenuous as it looks, agoraphobics and skittish dogs should turn back.
As soon as you round the corner, you see that magnificent natural handle arch tickling the sky. A small plane once soared through the 140-foot by 105-foot opening! Of course, the natural beauty of the arch is usually broken up by the horde of hikers converging at its base.
At this point, you may need to have a friend stay back with your pooch if you want to get any closer to the arch. Cairns mark your way to the next cable but unless you’ve got a cragdog or one small enough for carrying, he’ll never make it up the short ladder. Plus, with the sun beating down on you both and the lack of water on the trail, he might be ready to turn around. If you have dog booties, use them. The sandstone acts like sandpaper on their paws and you wouldn’t want them limping their way back to the car.
Keep Going To Corona Arch
If you do decide to continue, the ladder takes you over a small ledge and is actually the scariest part of the hike (unless you choose to climb the arch; in which case, descending the arch is hair raising).
Stop every so often as you hike to Corona. The acoustics carry footsteps and voices for miles. Unlike Corona’s handle arch, Bowtie Arch is a “pothole arch”. Perched about 100 feet from the trail, high on the edge of a cliff, the hole broke through the rock and eroded to what you see today.
What To Bring
Protect your pup’s pads with Ruffwear’s Grip Trex Booties. The paw wear features a Vibram outsole that will keep hot, rough sandstone at bay while the breathable mesh upper provides comfort when you’re hiking on those warm days in Moab.
You don’t have to choose between carrying just a water bottle or lugging a bulky pack when you take the Camelbak Arete 18 on your hike. It’s ultralight but still roomy enough to stash a layer or two, snacks, water and camera. Plus on longer treks you can turn it inside out and use it as a hydration sleeve in a bigger pack.
One of the best things about hiking Moab in the fall (besides the perfect weather) is the ability to pack one of the seasonal Clif Bar flavors. The holiday lineup last year was Hot Chocolate, Iced Gingerbread and Pumpkin Spice and sold out fast. Keep your eyes on those REI shelves and snap up this fall’s bounty.