I must admit, after a full day visiting Arches National Park, both the main part of the park and the backcountry, we had a bit of arch fatigue – 10 hours of driving, stopping, getting out for short walks and taking pictures had us exhausted. In fact, we weren’t even sure we wanted to see another arch on our last day in Moab. But, I had heard great things about the Corona Arch, so we pushed ahead and took Highway 279 about 20 minutes out of town along the Colorado River, stopping to see petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks along the way.
The hike to Corona and Bowtie Arches is an out and back trip of about 3 miles, with about 450 feet elevation gain. The trail starts with a decent incline, but then turns more gradual after about a half-mile or so, when the terrain turns to slickrock. Throughout the trek, hikers are rewarded with stunning views of canyons and rock formations. There are a few points where the trail is marked on the rock itself or with cairns. Once the two arches are visible in the distance, there are some “obstacles”, as my son likes to call them – a cable with footholds in a steep portion of the rock and a ladder. This was a highlight of the hike for all of us, as it increased our feeling of adventure, even though the hike was a shorter one. But, the biggest highlight was the 105-foot Corona Arch. We were lucky enough to get the arch to ourselves during our visit; early morning and later evening see more visitors. On the easy walk back from the arch, we all agreed it was our favorite arch and a favorite hike.
Some notes about health and safety on this hike…
- Because of the cables, ladder, and a few spots where there is a significant drop-off, it is recommended for children old enough to understand the need to be cautious and stay close.
- Despite its short length, take ample water for the hike. We took 1 liter per person and finished it in the last few minutes of the hike. We should have taken more like 2 liters per person (or more) to be on the safe side.