Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Tree Arch Trail

Christmas Tree Arch is located in the Windows Section of Arches National Park in southeast Utah. It is vaguely visible along the short trail to Double Arch to the right, past the formation that looks like the Sphinx. The Park has a sign at that point telling visitors that there isn't a trail going over to it from Double Arch.

From the west side of the North and South Windows parking area there is a route along a small wash and between some rock fins that leads to the back side of Christmas Tree Arch.

From the Windows Primitive trail you can see between these fins. The path I walked is connected to the Windows Primitive Trail by an obscure trail junction. Going this way I didn't see any "This is not a trail signs."
There is a little climbing but it's not too hard to get between the fins, and then get up under the arch and look through back toward the Double Arch area. From there, the Sphinx like formation is visible and there is a minor arch up to the right looking through the opening.

Looking the other way from Christmas Tree Arch, a drainage allows the hike to continue and the view to the north is toward the Delicate Arch area. There is another arch, Ribbon Arch, down the drainage and to the left around the corner.
I thought that I scanned carefully but somehow missed Ribbon Arch, unless it is here and I'm not seeing it. I see some alcoves and almost arches, but I didn't go up closer. Ribbon Arch is supposed to be a thin strip near the top of the cliffs. I hiked in this area for about 1:30 hours.

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