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Corona Arch

On June 4th, 2020, Skip, Ezra, and I drove on a back road near Moab, Utah, along the Colorado River. We stumbled across Corona Arch Trailhead or known as the Little Rainbow Bridge. With it being in the middle of the Covid-19 (Corona Virus) pandemic, we felt it was only appropriate to look into hiking to the arch.

Life started to open back up in Utah, so we decided to take a trip over to Moab for the week. We were meeting up with a couple of Skips friends from the army and his father Doyle and stepmom Regina in the following days. And Corona arch was the first of many hikes this week.

We always try to Boon-dock "camping in non-designated campsites" when we are out camping because free is always better. Unfortunately, we could not find any boon-dock camping in the area.

We did the next best thing and found a camping spot that would hold our large group. We found multiple campsites with a public vault toilet, fire rings, and picnic tables in the sites right outside of Moab below the mountain ridge and across the street from the Colorado river "Williams Bottom Campground." We highly recommend this campground if a shower is not a need. Click HERE to reserve your campsite.

John fowler found the 140 feet wide and 105-foot-high arch and named it Corona because it reminded him of a solar flare, and that is how it originated the name.

This arch used to be known for having the largest rope swing in North America. But due to injuries, the BLM had to cut it down a few years ago.

Directions to the Trailhead

  • From Moab, drive northwest on US 191 to the left (south)

  • Turn on UT 279/Potash Road (1.3 miles west of the Colorado River Bridge).

  • Drive south on UT 279 for 10 miles to the signed Corona Arch Trailhead on the right (east) side of the highway opposite the Gold Bar Campground and the Colorado River.

Make sure on your three-mile round trip to the arch, you enjoy the scenery. If you are not from Utah, some of the plants and flowers you may encounter on the trail will be new to you. The Mormon Tea, Blackbuck, Saltbush, Cliffrose, and Utah Juniper are just a couple.

You may also come across a mule deer, desert cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit, multiple chipmunks, and antelope squirrels. Plus, you may hear a coyote in the distance. Being in the wilderness, ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings, ditch the headphones and listen to nature.

The mile and half hike to the arch gain 440 feet in elevation, and there is absolutely no shade nor water on the trail. Make sure to bring enough water and sunscreen.

The trail is well maintained and marked with arrows and cairns (small, stacked rocks). Make sure you void making your own or destroying the ones on the trail. The trail is on slick rock pavement and sand. We recommend wearing shoes with grip.

Directions below if you do not have the Alltrails app:

  • Start at the trailhead on the right side of the parking area.

  • The trail quickly climbs a rocky talus slope and reaches a BLM register box just before railroad tracks at 0.1 miles.

  • Sign in and cross the paths.

  • The sandy trail follows an old road north alongside a cliff, then bends right below the ridge.

  • Look up left to the high canyon rim to see Pinto Arch, a pothole arch.

  • The trail climbs up a shallow rocky canyon to a broad bench and heads northeast across sand and Slick-rock pavement until it's below a tall slabby cliff.

  • Hike across sloping slabs below the ridge to a long cable anchored to posts. Past the cable at 0.7 miles is your first view of Corona Arch, a dramatic span above Bootlegger Canyon.

  • The trail, crossing Slick-rock pavement, bends left here along a wide stone bench and reaches another cable.

  • Grab the cable and climb steps chopped into a sandstone slab.

  • Climb a five-step metal ladder above to a small, twisted juniper tree and a higher bench.

  • Follow the broad Slick-rock bench around the head of a cul-de-sac canyon and bend east toward Corona Arch.

  • Bowtie Arch towers above the trail to your left.

  • This pothole arch formed when a pothole above, usually filled with water, eroded into a cave below.

  • Continue hiking along with a sloping sandstone slab and reach Corona Arch after 1.5 miles.

Overall, this was such a beautiful hike with all the sand color boulders contrasting against the blue sky. Plus, it wasn't crowded, which made relaxing and eating lunch under the arch perfectly. Click HERE to watch our entire trip in Moab.

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