Quick Hike to Mesa Arch
Utah › Mesa Arch Trailhead
Added by Lee Cuellar
- The hike is a very easy 0.6 mile loop
- Get great views and shots of historic Mesa Arch
- After the quick hike, have enough time to go hit other spots in Arches NP
- Duration: 1 hour
This is an easy 0.6 mile loop. The hike takes you out to Mesa Arch, which is one of the most famous structures of Canyonlands National Park.
If you're out with your camera, you can get amazing shots of the arch with the rugged canyon as your backdrop. Some of the best photos of the arch are at sunrise.
If you're lucky enough, you snagged a campsite Devil's Garden, making it easy for you to keep exploring Arches for a couple of days.
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Scenic Utah at its Best
Aside from Delicate Arch, Mesa Arch is probably the second most photographed place in Utah. And for good reason: It's awesome! But, that also means that its constantly surrounded by people: In front of, next to, and even on top of the arch. And since its a short hike to get to, that makes it all the more problematic if you're looking for peace and quiet. But all in all, a worthy destination within Canyonlands.
Great photo, but crowded
Dozens of people there to catch the sunrise. Still utterly beautiful, just missing the peace of desert solitude that you can get at other spots. Wished I could have gone in the winter season. Nevertheless, if you have a campsite at Island of the Sky (typically Willow Flat or Dead Horse State Park), spend one daybreak at Mesa Arch.
In my life, I have never seen a larger gaggle of photographers in my life. I mean I get it! The view is stunning and the arch pretty much create a perfect frame for the canyonlands below. If only the photographers knew what the views were like from the bottom, I think we'd be able to dilute their numbers across the park.
Stunning No Matter How Many Pictures You Have Seen
This is one of those places that pictures never will do the in-person experience justice. When I went, my partner and I were the only ones there and that made it even more magical. Sunrise at Mesa Arch is just a fantastic way to start the day. I went in April just before tourist season really kicks off. I would shoot for an off-season visit (late fall-early spring) for less people.
Crowded, but Can't Miss It
This is a definite if you are in the Island in the Sky section of the park. I did not realize that Canyonlands was split into separate entrances and so Mesa Arch is only accessible through the Island in in the Sky section. This is so easy, it is really not a hike. A short trail about .5 miles takes you to this iconic arch. Be sure to take photos from all angles of this arch. There is so much that you can capture through the arch itself and it is a beautiful place. It is very popular, so very crowded. I highly recommend going in the am or pm. This is one of the top sunrise photography spots in all of Arches, Canyonlands and Dead Horse State Park, so if you are going to do sunrise photos, get there early.
Beautiful But Crowded
Mesa Arch is a gorgeous spot. The way the arch perfectly frames Island in the Sky is picture perfect - but don't expect getting that picture to be easy. Since this is such a short hike and so near the entrance of the park the spot will be crowded with tourists and getting a shot with just the arch in the frame it will require some waiting. Also, please do not walk on the arch. There are signs stating it is not allowed yet I saw so many people doing it on my trip.
A must see
If you are visiting the Island In The Sky district in Canyonlands then you have to check Mesa Arch off of the To Do List. The trailhead is right off the main highway and the trail itself is short and easy. Perfect for families and people of every ability. Don't leave Canyonlands without seeing it!
I loved this hike and the views, it was easy and didn't take long at all which was nice for a day when we had a lot else to do. The only thing that makes it a little less exciting were the massive crowded standing on and around the arch making it nearly impossible to get a photo without anyone in it.
More Adventures Nearby
Catch a Sunset at Green River Overlook
Utah / Green River Overlook
Turn right on Highway 313 after Mesa Arch Trailhead and follow the road past Willow Flat Campground to Green River Overlook. Park at the parking lot. Climb over the railing onto the rock edge.
Backpack to Joint Trail in the Canyonlands Needles District
Utah / Squaw Flat Campground
A large part of the grandeur of Canyonlands National Park is the vast barren vista at Island in the Sky, but no visit to Canyonlands would be complete without the intimate and immersive desert experi.