A hike to Corona Arch

In contrast (and pleasing counterpoint) to the surprisingly verdant trail up Negro Bill Canyon, the hike to Corona Arch delivers just the sort of exposed slickrock scrambling that visitors to canyonlands country might anticipate. And perhaps even savor.

Peculiar crescent-shaped fungi on a north-facing wall along the trail

The trail – which begins at a parking area off Scenic Byway 279 (aka Potash Road) – climbs away from the Colorado River, crosses a remarkable railroad right-of-way cut directly into the native sandstone, and features cabling in a couple of areas to make the ascent up the slickrock more manageable for flat-footed lowlander tourist-types.

Rough cut

There’s even a metal ladder emplaced to facilitate navigating a particularly precipitous portion of the trail… though parties with pooches can easily work around it by simply walking about 25 ft. uphill from the ladder, where the slope is less severe.

Bowtie Arch (l.) and Corona Arch

The payoff comes about 1.5 miles in (and up) from the trailhead, where one turns the corner to find a grand vista of Bowtie and Corona arches. A series of hanging seeps lend a touch of greenery (in the form of nestled trees and rock-clinging mosses) to the otherwise unremittingly red and blue of the rock cliffs and sky, respectively.

Bowtie Arch and hanging seep

From here, it appears that a short jaunt beyond Corona Arch may lead to an easy sloping walkway to the top of the arch – though more adventurous sorts (or more foolhardy ones – take your pick) may find that the far side of the arch itself makes for a manageable angle for free-climbing.


Visitors should be sure to leave their own rock upon the rapidly-growing stack of same left behind by previous trekkers, on a wall constructed for that very purpose.

Register rock

(There are plenty of rocks scattered around to choose from – I selected the one that seemed to be calling to me, and I left well-satisfied with its placement.)

Corona Arch

The cloud

Raven shadow

The seep

Juniper wall


17 thoughts on “A hike to Corona Arch

  1. Pingback: Moonflower Canyon | Arthouse Photography

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