Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Balcony Arch and Picture Frame Arch-Behind the Rocks

Balcony Arch and Picture Frame Arch are in the Behind the Rocks area south of Moab in southeast Utah. The access is a west turn on the BLM Behind the Rocks road at mile post 112.9 on Highway 191.

It is 5 miles west on the BLM road then about 0.2 miles north where a large sandstone rock mass is visible. It is possible to park right below the east facing Balcony Arch. The Behind the Rocks road has some bumpy rocky spots and might be sandy after a long dry period. The sand was firm and easily drivable with a Subaru during my visit, but travel is slow.

There is a system of marked side trails in this area for off highway vehicles and mountain biking. There is also an effort to restrict vehicles and camping to designated areas to restore the desert vegetation. Looking back to the east, there are good views toward the LaSal Mountains, still with snow in mid June.
It is only 10 minutes of walking to the north side of the same rock mass where Picture Frame Arch can be found. The views to the north are toward the jumbled Behind the Rocks area. A few of the area designated camp sites are along the east side of the sandstone rock mass.
Picture Frame Arch is also in a vegetation damaged area and has signs asking for restricted travel in the area below the arch.
My total visit to Balcony Arch and Picture Frame Arch took 30 minutes including about 20 minutes of walking.

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