Friday, March 6, 2009

Tower Arch Trail

The Tower Arch Trail is a 3.4 mile out and back route to the large Tower Arch in the Klondike Bluffs area of Arches National Park in southeast Utah.

The Trail Head is along the Salt Valley gravel road that connects with the main park road near the Sand Dune Arch Trail in the north end of the park.

The trail climbs away from the trail head and overlooks the Salt Valley. It then descends toward a drainage with towering cliffs on both sides and scattered Pinon Pines and Utah Juniper trees on the canyon floor. Along the cliff sides there are several small arches to watch for, some of the 2000 that are in Arches Park.

Climbing away from the drainage the route passes through an area of loose sand. I thought the formation to the south resembled football goal posts, but it is named the Marching Men. There are numerous pinnacles and fins along this scenic trail.

Coming down the final fin before Tower Arch, there is a small arch to the right. This might be a double arch, but I didn't see any light shining through the back arch. This arch is more noticeable on the return hike and is easy to get under for the blue sky angle. I think this is called Parallel Arch-Inner and Outer.

The large Tower Arch has a span of 92 feet, height of 43 feet, and is 50 feet thick.

Just before arriving at Tower Arch, there is a trail junction with the route leading from the 4WD road that leads from the Balanced Rock area. The 4WD road provides an alternate but longer route to return to the trail head. Using this loop route the total hike is 6.1 miles. I spent 1:30 hours on the 3.4 miles that I hiked.

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