On Saturday morning we planned to go on a hike in Canyonlands NP with Steve and Mona Liza (Lowes RV Adventures). But the day dawned cloudy and cold with rain possibilities in the forecast. Since the hike we planned was lengthy and in an exposed area, we thought it best to cancel the hike. Of course, as it turned out the day was mostly sunny with no rain in sight.
Even when the sun poked through we were wary of the weather, so we decided to take a shorter hike closer to home to find a little visited arch in nearby Arches NP. We tried to find the Ring Arch last year but turned up the wrong canyon and failed to locate it. This year we looked up the coordinates of the arch and located it on Google Maps. While researching the location of the arch, we learned that not far from it there is a nice little tunnel through a sandstone wall. So off we went to find both locations.
We entered the park and drove on Arches Scenic Drive to a parking area on the west side of the road, just north of the small bridge over Courthouse Wash.
Not far from the road (the red arrow in the photo above) the trail goes by a large boulder.
On the other side of the boulder are some images scratched into the rock. One blogger called this “Cowboy Art” for lack of a better name.
A date scratched above the images is Nov. 11, 1917, one year before the end of WWI.
Continuing past the Cowboy Art the trail goes through a riparian area along Courthouse Wash, which has a steady flow of water.
We made our way along the trail as it crossed numerous dry washes and the round slickrock at the base of the tunnel came into view.
It is a little tricky to get up into the tunnel, but John was able to get there with a little help from another hiker who was also trying to get up and in. John then helped the other hiker up the rock.
Next, we hiked about a mile to the south to visit the Ring Arch. We couldn’t find a trail and ended up bushwhacking our own trail.
Two years ago a large section of the right side of the arch collapsed, so Ring Arch is now very thin and may not have much life left.
On the hike back to the road we again couldn’t find a defined trail. So we followed some animal trails, enjoying great views of the snow covered La Sal Mountains in the distance.
The mountains also provided the backdrop for great views as we drove through another section of Arches NP after completing the hike.
Although we didn’t get to do our planned hike with Steve and Mona Liza, we did get to finally locate Ring Arch and cross it off our to-do list.