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Monday, March 7, 2016

Dog Friendly! Corona and Bowtie Arch - Moab, Utah

Delicate Arch is always in the spotlight when it comes to Moab's arches. But I am here to tell you there are a few gorgeous and equally as impressive Arches outside of the National Park's borders.  

What is the advantage of visiting Moab 
and hiking outside of the National Parks?  

Well, for starters, it is free.  The National Parks are about $25 a car to enter, where as hikes on BLM land are free and open to the public.  Secondly, while the National Parks do not allow dogs anywhere on their trails (only in parking lots and paved roads), hikes outside the park are dog friendly. Fido is welcome on BLM land and State Parks.   And lastly (and most importantly) you can avoid the mobs and crowds that flea to our beautiful National Parks.  Hiking trails outside the park are deserted compared to the high number of visitors on the trails at National Parks.  While everyone heads to Delicate Arch, head to Corona Arch. 

Dogs, free, and less people.  Have I convinced you yet?

If you don't believe that some of these arches could rival those within Arches National Parks, this post will convince you.  This hike is one of Moab's best dog and family friendly arch hikes.  Not only will you see this impressive 110' Navajo Sandstone Arch (with a 140' x 105' opening), but its neighbor Bowtie Arch awaits you at the end of the hike.  Two arches, one hike - Jackpot.  

As if this hike couldn't get any more rad, it used to be a very popular spot for Utah's dare devils.  You used to be able to Swing from the Arch.  While BLM put a two year ban on "rope activities" at this arch (for obvious and insanely dangerous reasons- 130' free fall anyone?), you can check out the video footage of the worlds largest rope swing.  

Now, onto the hike. 

Parking Area and Trailhead
Looking back a the Parking Area 
Map inside of a metal stand about .25 into the trail

Trailhead:  To get to the trailhead, follow U.S. Highway 191. 1.3 miles after the bridge crossing the Colorado River you will see Potash Road (State Road/Scenic Bi-way 279). Turn left and follow this road  for 10.1 miles to the signed Corona Arch trailhead on the right side of the road. 

The Stats: 

Distance:  ~2.5-3 miles

Elevation gain:  440'

Who:  Dog (On leash at all times) and Kid Friendly 
Notes:  There is no water along the trail so bring plenty for you and fido.  Also, this can be a very hot hike in the summer as there is no shade.  Hike it early in the morning or late in the afternoon in the hotter months. 

The Trail:  The hike is about 1.25-1.50 miles each way.  You will ascend up the trail following a few switch backs until you reach, yep you probably didn't see this coming... railroad track.  There is a barbed wire area with a narrow slot to let hikers across the tracks.  

The railroad track was built in 1964 and connects the Potash Plant at the end of Utah 279 to the main railroad line in Crescent Junction. According to several sources, the train runs several times per week, hauling potash to the main railroad line at Crescent Junction.  That has to be one of the prettiest train rides in the American West. 

Railroad tracks running through the canyon and across the trail
After crossing the tracks, you will make your way around the corner, where the trail will open up to a flat area.  From here on out, its just making your way across the trail and around another corner where you will catch your first glimpse of Corona Arch. 

Turning the corner along the trail 
"Field" of cairns along the trail
First view of Corona Arch

There are a few parts of the trail that my be a bit tricky for some dogs and young children (pictures of each below!).  Spot A really is easy, just a slick spot traversing across the trail, with a handrail built on one side.  Spot B is the trickiest, being a steep ascent up the rocks to continue on the trail.  There are spots where you can anchor your foot and use the railing to support yourself as you climb up the steep section.  My dog Olive went up and down it with only a tiny bit of hesitation.  There were a lot of other dogs on the trail that made it up this area fine as well.  Spot C, consists of a ladder.  If you have your dog with you, you can skip the ladder, climbing up a steep section of rock to your left.  

Don't let these small obstacles steer you away, they were easy, even for the four legged variety. 

Spot A- use the handrails to cross 

Spot B:  Steep ascent up the rocks to follow the trail to the arch.
Use the hand rail and foot spots in the rocks in this area.

Spot C:  Ladder to ascend up onto the trail.  Or walk around the steep pitch to the left. 

Following along the trail you will first approach Bowtie Arch on your left.  And right after, Corona Arch.  We stopped to relax under the shade of the arch, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather in February.  Enjoy the shade and the sandstone, and take in the views of the canyon before heading back to the way you came.  

Bowtie Arch
Corona Arch

Corona Arch
Section of Corona Arch
View down the canyon from the arch


  1. I love this hike. I actually did this extremely wasn't a fun start but by the end I was feeling pretty good. The scenery is so pretty! We also went when you were still allowed to swing off of it and got to watch a few people jump. So glad you can't jump anymore - too many accidents happened. - Alicia @

    1. ha! definitely not a great hike hungover in the direct sun and all exposed! Glad you felt better towards the end. I can only image the injuries that resulted from jumping off this thing. Crazy!


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