The Lexington Arch Trail

Baker, NV

For our last hike in Great Basin NP, we decided to go to see the Lexington Arch.  The trail can only be reached by driving 12 miles south of Baker, then turning east for another 12 miles on a dirt road that is recommended for high clearance vehicles only.

If you look at the NPS website, you will read that the road to the trailhead and the trail itself are closed due to a fire and then flash flood last year.  But when we stopped at the visitor center earlier in the week, we were told that in a Jeep we could get to within a mile and a half of the trailhead and could hike the rest of the way to the trail.  Since the trail to the arch is only about a mile and a half, we decided this was very doable, so off we went.

The road to the trailhead

About half way to the trailhead we came to what appeared to be the end of the road for us.

But as we looked to the left we noticed that someone had found a way around the obstacle driving through the dry stream bed.  We knew the Jeep was up to the task so off we went!

A little detour

Going down through the dry stream bed . . .

. . . and back out again

OK, where did the road go?

Driving through the burned out forest

Just as we were told at the visitor center, the road disappeared into the rocks left by the flash flood about a mile and a half from the trail.

So we parked the Jeep and headed out on foot.

 

For the most part the road had been devoured by the flooded stream, so we hiked in the stream bed.

In a couple of sections the road was still there and someone had outlined the trail with rocks.

Finally we stumbled on a trail that headed up the hillside.  It was going in the right direction so we knew it had to be the trail to the arch.

After about a mile and a half through burned trees we rounded a corner and the arch came into view in the distance.

We continued to what we thought was the end of the trail where there was a nice bench with a great view of Lexington Arch.

The Lexington Arch is a six-story tall limestone formation.  Although natural arches and bridges are not uncommon, most of them are formed from sandstone.  The fact that Lexington Arch is made of  limestone leads to speculation that it was once a passage in a cave system.  But scientists are still unsure exactly how it was formed.

After lunch on the bench we noticed that the trail continued down into a gulch around the arch.  So off we went to check out the other side of this beautiful piece of stone.

Lexington Arch from the side

From the base of the hill on the other side

Remember that bench?  Do you see it in the photo below?

 

OK, let’s zoom in a bit for the visually challenged.

The photographer headed back around the arch to the bench for another picture.  When she looked at the shot below she thought she detected someone standing under the arch.

A closer look confirmed her suspicions.  Someone was waving at her!

An even closer look revealed the guy photobombing her shots!

We just love this photo!

Hiking back down the trail

At the bottom of the hill we crossed the point where we found the trail on the way up.  In a few hundred yards we came across a sign that would have marked the beginning of the trail before mother nature re-arranged the area.

A small parking area was located on the other side of the sign

The front of the sign showed the effects of the fire, everything was charred

On the return drive you must go down . . .

. . . then back up

We hustled a bit on the return hike as dark clouds were evident over the mountains.  The sky was a bit dark but it never rained.

Strange clouds on the horizon

We had a great time on this adventure, combining some great 4-wheeling, a nice hike, and great views of the Lexington Arch.  Another plus was the solitude, as we didn’t see another human the entire day.

And that concludes our visit to Great Basin.  Although a bit isolated, this park has some great hiking and a beautiful scenic drive that takes you over 10,000 feet.  If you plan to visit take note that the Wheeler campground, which is at 10,000 ft, is limited to RVs of 24 feet or less.  The Lower and Upper Lehman Campgrounds do have a few spaces that might fit a larger rig.  Sites were small and most not very level.  Also, most of the hikes are in high altitudes, 7,500 ft and higher with some starting at 10,000 feet, so be prepared.

Next up is a visit to the St. George, UT area.  More on that later . . .

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32 Responses to The Lexington Arch Trail

  1. Gay says:

    Oh WOW! Now that’s my kind of day! It’s sad about the forrest. We hiked a similar forest in Sedona. I agree…the picture you love of the arch is very nice! And, I’m liking all this zooming…and that you are enjoying your new camera.
    St. George is on our list…can’t wait to see the hikes you find there!

  2. heyduke50 says:

    well at least now I know why that trail was closed when we were there… thanks for taking us on the virtual tour nonetheless… we leave today for Leeds just north of St George as we plan to visit Zion NP…

    • placestheygo says:

      We are actually staying in Hurricane at the state park. I am hoping to make at least more trip into Zion to hike to an arch we couldn’t get to two years ago in Kolab Canyon. Have fun in Zion. We were there for a month two years ago and hike 27 days. Check out our blogs from that time.

  3. pmbweaver says:

    It looks like someone is right behind Dave in that one photo. Then I see him alone. Was someone with you are following you?

    How nice to find a bench to enjoy the view. The arch looks so different from the two side. So glad you walked around it. I can see how that might have been a cave opening.

    Awesome photos of you two and the arch. The photobomber sure has lots of guts to ruin such a gorgeous photo…lol

    Safe travels to Utah.

    • placestheygo says:

      You weren’t suppose to catch that, Marsha! John didn’t think you would be able to see the other person. Yes, someone did catch us on the road, and we tackled the drive together. He was going to hike with us but after a half mile he decided he didn’t have time. Strange! So he went back. I don’t think he was really prepared for what we had to hike through to get to the trailhead.

      We were very surprised to see the bench up there. Not something we usually find after a steep, long uphill.

      It was great fun to realize that the trail went on and it led us inside the arch.

  4. Suzanne says:

    Fascinating to see how quickly an area can change once Mother Nature decides to reclaim it! I hope “up next” includes some hiking in one of my favorite spots — the little Snow Canyon!

    • placestheygo says:

      We’ll have to check out the Snow Canyon and see if there is anything we missed on our last visit. Since it has so many very short hikes, we combined a ton trails and made it a long day last time. But it was very pretty so we may repeat. Thanks for the suggestion:)

  5. What a very cool day with all the off road exploring. That is a really neat arch and I love the shots you got of it and of you two each in it!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Lisa! We almost didn’t visit the arch because of the road. So glad we decided to go and see what we would find. This is the first time since our last visit west that Jeep has had any challenge. For some reason I was expecting a much smaller arch. Boy was I surprised.

  6. Laurel says:

    Thanks for taking us on a hike we missed during our trips to Great Basin! Your photo tour made me feel like I was right there with you. Great photo of the arch against the blue sky with the clouds. That was a BIG arch, judging by how tiny John looks in the photos!

    • placestheygo says:

      Maybe one day the road to the arch will be repaired, Laurel. But it will take awhile to move all the rock that washed down. I was surprised how large the arch was. It is easy to see why they think it may have been a cave.

  7. Ingrid says:

    If there’s an arch out there, I know I can count on you guys to find it 🙂

  8. LuAnn says:

    A great hike and some awesome 4-wheeling…cannot imagine a nicer day, particularly without anyone else on the trail. Love that photo of the arch with the clouds hanging over it. 🙂

  9. Rick Doyle says:

    Another fantastic hike for sure. All of your photos of the Arch are simply amazing.

    That was quite the road and stream you had to drive over and through to even get there. Seems to have been well worth it though.

  10. Sherry says:

    That’s a trail Ruby could never get us to so I’m sure glad to see that interesting arch. Great pictures from all directions. Thanks for the zooms out and up. It gives a much clearer idea of what you were seeing. Looks like a terrific day!

  11. Erin says:

    A great adventure, but doesn’t look like we can do it in the CR-V. That arch is really something else … so different, and therefore special. Good thing you found that trail up to the arch … a different perspective reveals more character.

  12. Jodee Gravel says:

    That area really suffered the double-whammy with both fire and flood. I would say the flood won the “most-damage” challenge though – can’t believe that was a parking lot 😦 Looks like the fire stopped just at the bench. The arch is beautiful – it really looks different in “that color”. Great shots of the Jeep and the trails – thanks for taking us along 🙂

  13. RJRVtravels says:

    Great hike! Nice to find “parks less traveled” – We were there a couple of years ago and so are passing it up this year. We are on Hwy 93 in Nevada (traveled 93 from Missoula). Headed for Valley of Fire tomorrow.

  14. allisonmohr says:

    This post really makes me want a Jeep. I was driving on a dirt road yesterday with a hump in the road, which put the nose of the pickup so high I could not see the road. Jim had to tell me how far to turn the steering wheel because all I could see was the hood. It’s quite unnerving. If we didn’t have four bikes there would be a Jeep. That was a great looking hike. It appears that we will just miss you in Hurricane. Quelle dommage.

    • placestheygo says:

      We understand how your vehicle needs to fit your equipment. We couldn’t get a Jeep until we decided to sell our motorcycle and could tow four down. We only have teo bikes and they do ride inside the Jeep. They fit well.

      When do you come to Hurricane? We are here til Thursday.

  15. First thank you for sharing this park for I don’t think our CRV can bring us excitement as your jeep.
    Secondly, that guy in a red shirt photobombing your arch picture is way too happy to be up there.
    That is really an interesting arch, something that surely or maybe have brought a smile on your face Pam.

  16. Jim says:

    Glad I found your photos of the trip to the Lexington Arch. Although the trail is officially closed, I hope to make my way there in the Fall of 2015. I visited Great Basin for several days in June of 2014 and realized how much there was to explore. Wish some luck, I hope to return as part of their Artist in Residence program. Your photos and background provide some great insights.

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Jim! I’m not sure they’ll ever reopen the road to the arch. The last mile and half we walked in was a mess with deep rocks and boulders. I can’t imagine clearing it. But if you have 4×4, it is worth the effort.

      Good luck! It would be a neat place to be the Artist in Residence.

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