Thursday, October 1, 2009

Behind the Rocks to Rim Arch

The Behind the Rocks Trail is a 4WD route in the rocky wilderness area about 10 miles south of Moab in southeast Utah. The turnoff is at mile post 112.9 on the west side of Highway 191.

About 0.4 miles along the dirt road there is a turn off to the right that is the beginning of the route. It is easy to drive any vehicle to this point and the route gets rougher beyond.

The route is well marked for about 1.2 miles as it approaches an area with many conehead sandstone formations and arrives at a fenced vegetation restoration area where the main trail turns left. There is an old trail that continues north to the right toward Moab Rim Arch and Tukuhnikivista Arch.

About 0.5 miles along the side trail the Moab Rim Arch comes into view. I didn’t see any other hikers on this trail but met one couple exploring on an ATV.

There is a blue sky angle for Moab Rim Arch along the west side. This area has the typical canyon area vegetation of Pinon Pines and Utah Junipers with scattered small shrubs.

This trail also has many rim views toward the LaSal Mountains and the Spanish Valley south of Moab. About 0.4 miles past the Rim Arch, the rough road ends at a turnaround point with elevated good views to the east.

Back to the west the Tukuhnikivista Arch is visible high above on the upper rim. The climb up to the arch looked steep. I climbed part of the way to get a better view and saw some rock cairns along the way, so there may be a trail going up. I’ve seen pictures of this arch framing the mountains to the east so it is possible to make the climb.

After getting closer view I returned to the trail head. My hike was about 4.2 miles and took 2:15 hours on a warm 85 F day in late September. I carried 2 liters of water and drank it all.

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