Corona Arch – Moab

Moab, UT

Earlier this week we moved a hundred miles north from Bluff to Moab where we are staying in one of our favorite parks, Portal RV Resort.  This park has two sections, a nice campground of pull through sites and a resort section with large concrete sites that are for sale.  We are in the resort section tucked in next to a lot with a large three story permanent casita right beside us.  At first we were not sure about having a wall next to us, but it does provide shade during the afternoon, privacy, and gives us some protection from the high winds predicted for the next few days.

David and Karen (and Cody!) moved north with us in their seventeen foot casita trailer and are in the campground area here in Portal.

There is the possibility of poor weather for the next couple of days so as soon as we were set up the four of us got into David’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and headed out for a visit to the Corona Arch, taking advantage of the beautiful day.  Cody stayed at home needing a rest after so many days of hiking.  The drive to the arch is about fifteen miles and the hike from the trailhead is about a mile and a half so we could easily do it in an afternoon.

Heading toward the arch

Along the trail we encountered a large array of cairns.  A cairn is a small pile of rocks used to mark a trail.  This large display probably seems cool to most people, but we found it a bit out of place in an area known for its wilderness appearance.

The hike out to the arch is fairly easy, but there are two spots where a bit of climbing is necessary.  The first is up a rock face where steps have been worn into the rocks and a cable had been installed as a handrail.

Just past the cable a ladder bolted to the rocks helps you over a short but steep bit of rock.

Just past the ladder the view of the Corona Arch is right in front of you.

The Corona Arch is huge.  Look closely at the photo below and you’ll see John standing at its base.

Karen stands at the base of the arch

The arch from the other side

Adjacent to the Corona Arch is the Bow Tie Arch.  From underneath, it appears more like a cave with a hole in the ceiling.

At the base of the Bow Tie Arch a few blooming cacti added some color to the scene.

The road out to the arch, Potash Road, runs right along the Colorado River and provided some beautiful scenes on the ride back to our park.

We will be staying in Moab for a bit over two weeks so look for more pictures of rocks in future blogs!

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35 Responses to Corona Arch – Moab

  1. Mary says:

    I did that hike several years ago, loved it. That display of cairns wasn’t there then however. Did you survive the winds yesterday?

    • placestheygo says:

      We did the hike two years ago and couldn’t wait to share it with Karen and David. There were some cairns but not the overwhelming number there are now.

      The wind didn’t get really strong here til late in the evening so got in a nice Jeep trip with just a little blowing dirt. We rocked for a few hours before bed but made it through:) Thanks for asking.

  2. Im running out of WOW! Beautiful pics! and the cacti are blooming too.
    Somebody told us that cairns are actually rock graffitis and they really are out of place. When we learned that, Steve used to kick them but then there are so many to kick that he gave up 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      MonaLisa, the ranger at Death Valley NP said they don’t approve of cairns in the park because they aren’t part of the landscape. She removed several. I can see where she is coming from but they certainly have been very valuable on many hikes where the trail is tough to follow. I think it is these nonsense cairns that are unwanted. People have gone way over board since we were last here two years ago.

  3. Nancy says:

    Beautiful pictures! I too saw some cairns when I was there just recently. I agree… some are important as markers. And your example of the cairns in your photo shows what nonsense people do. I also heard that The Arches Park had some atv damage as well… tracks left behind in the wrong places etc.
    Loved your photos. We did not do this hike but we did a few others while there. What a cool climb you did!! We enjoyed Arches tremendously. I am going to be posting soon about our trip there.

    • placestheygo says:

      Our timing was just a little off, Nancy, with meeting. This area sure doesn’t lack for things to do. I, also, saw a photo of a ranger scrubbing white off from the rocks back in the Devil’s Garden. Too bad people aren’t more responsible. We are looking forward to a return visit to Arches.

  4. Sigh…it’s raining and cold here in North Carolina as I look at your pictures of blue sky and gorgeous red rocks. You’re really making me miss Utah! The hike to Corona arch was one of our very favorites. Looking forward to reading more about your time in Utah – even if it does make me jealous 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      I know exactly where you are coming from, Amanda:) That is how I felt last winter as we sat in Florida and our friends were hiking all over the southwest where I longed to be. Boy, the spring weather sure hasn’t been very kind the southern area at all. Hope the rain leaves and some springtime sun returns soon. We’ll carry you along with us as we explore:)

  5. Jim and Barb says:

    Barb and I did that hike with our kids about this time last year and really enjoyed it. I am amazed that you had the place to yourselves even if it was a weekday! When we kayaked a down the Colorado a couple of weeks ago we came out right across from the Corona Arch parking area. It is a nice float if you have time.

    • placestheygo says:

      We did luck out on getting some time at the arch alone. On our way down we ran into a bus load of high schoolers on their way up. Our timing was very good!!! The river is beautiful but not sure we will do any floating.

  6. pmbweaver says:

    I have never seen so many cairns in one place. Someone had too much time on their hands…lol

    We loved that hike. Just amazing how big that arch is. I think it can only be truly appreciated by standing under it.

    Love the desert in all its glory!

    • placestheygo says:

      It is a magnificent arch. It is one of our favorites. The fact that most of it is free standing makes it so impressive. And, yes, you do need to stand under it to feel the full magnitude of the size. It is exciting to see the cacti are just beginning to bloom:)

  7. Gay says:

    Corona Arch…one of my favorite hikes. Those cairns were not there last year…yikes! What a mess! I do agree with you that many a time cairns have helped us find our way, but that is ridiculous. Some kids with too much time on their hands I guess! Anyhow, hope the weather clears up and you have lots more hikes and jeep rides. And a tasty pizza at Zax!

    • placestheygo says:

      Funny you mentioned Zak’s, Gay! We just drove by yesterday and commented that we needed to go there. We ate there many years ago when we were on a motorcycle trip. But we need a long day of hiking first to earn it:)

      The weather should be clear by Sat. I guess we have a front spinning over us. But the La Sal’s are getting new white tops!! Sure looks great!

  8. Another stunning hike!

  9. Sherry says:

    This is a gorgeous hike we didn’t get to do as we were again short changed on time by medical problems when we were in Moab. Those arches are stunning and topping it off with wildflowers is well….over the top. Two weeks, you are going to have a fabulous time. Two questions for you. How did you get a site in the back section at Portal and could I contact David about his Jeep and casita combo?

  10. oooooh that looks like a fun little hike. Pinned! 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      This is a must hike, Lisa!!! The Corona Arch is one of the most impressive arches. It may only be three miles round trip but it is all up on the way in and a nice workout.

  11. Pam says:

    Love all of your Utah hikes. I retire in June and can’t wait to hit the trails.

  12. Erin says:

    Red rocks always a welcome sight! Had a look at the website … those are not casitas; they are houses!!! The two story one esp. looks out of place. Still, I think it would make a good base to explore the area. They love their cairns downunder, too 😉

    • placestheygo says:

      We laughed, Erin, when the owner called them that because our friends are traveling with a 17 ft Casita trailer. They comment that the casitas here sure are different than theirs!! The casitas are actually three stories with two floors of living above and a garage on the bottom floor.

  13. Jodee Gravel says:

    Don’t think they can really call that a casita can they? Still, it would be a welcome neighbor with the high winds. The cairns look like a rock monster’s privy 😦 Love the colors and the variety of terrain in just a mile and a half – just about perfect. Not sure I’d be thrilled coming back down the rock face where the cable is but those arches would be worth the effort. Used to love floating the river when it was smooth glass like that.

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, Jodee, our friends found it hard to call the three story houses casitas when they are traveling in a 17 ft Casita:) The cairns were a tad bit overdone. But this is BLM land so I am not sure anyone will remove them. The climb back down the slope wasn’t too bad but the “steps” were bit far apart for short legs:)

  14. heyduke50 says:

    that is actually one of my most favorite hikes there… glad to get to see it again…

  15. LuAnn says:

    Wow, another gorgeous hike! I am thrilled that you seem to be back to tip-top hiking shape Pam. Yours is the bog to pin for Utah, hands down! Enjoy the rest of your time there. Beautiful, beautiful photos. 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Lu!! I am back in hiking shaping with two good legs! Feel wonderful:) You should be able to find lots to keep you busy for months in southern Utah from our blog, for sure!

  16. Laurel says:

    Love that hike! Beautiful shots of both arches. Now I know why we’ve been seeing signs on the trails near Palm Springs prohibiting rock stacking. We’ve always appreciated cairns for directions on trails that aren’t clearly marked, but that proliferation of rocks is just absurd. Our first trailer was a 17′ Casita. Are David and Karen and Cody traveling full-time? How fun that you’re continuing on together.

    • placestheygo says:

      David and Karen don’t fulltime in the Casita. it is just a short term travel unit. But I think after this trip they will end up with something just a little bigger:) They have a gorgeous fifth wheel on their lot in Florida where they live the rest of the year. We’ll be touring together until the 23rd and then they will head off to see a few other parks before returning to FL. We’ve had a great time sharing some of our past adventures with them.

  17. Sheila says:

    I could do the “cable” hike – I could! 🙂

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