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Corona Arch is an awesome, easy hike near Moab, Utah. It’s the perfect way to spend a few extra hours and get a little hiking in when you’re visiting Moab. The trailhead for Corona Arch is about ten miles down Potash Road, which is just after the entrance to Arches National Park. Along Potash Road, you can also see petroglyphs, dinosaur tracks, rock climbers (most likely,) and Jug Handle Arch.
This is an easy hike on a pretty well-marked trail. From the parking lot, you climb some stairs until you get to the railroad. Make sure there aren’t any trains, then cross before continuing one. You get a pretty good view of the Colorado River from up here off to the left. You’ll follow the trail around the cliff, and I use cliff very loosely here, before climbing up a small rocky area. We weren’t sure exactly where the trail went here, but if you keep closer to the left, you should be able to find it fairly easily.
From here the trail goes over open rock with cliffs and alcoves far off on both sides. On the right is a canyon and that’s where the railroad track is. The trail is pretty clear up here, and along the entire thing, well the rock area, if you’re not sure where to go, there are green paint marks and cairns marking the whole trail.
As you get closer to the canyon wall ahead of you and start rounding that corner, you’ll come to the first cable to help you get along. It’s easier to walk with it on your left, but this section isn’t too bad and I only grabbed the cable a couple times. Once you get around that corner you’ve got a good view of Corona and Bowtie Arches.
From here you just stick to the left walking along the base of the wall before coming to the second cable. This one is a little tougher and I definitely needed to hold onto it. The very bottom of it can be a little slippery with sand on the rock, so be careful. There are holes for your feet to go in that definitely help to get you up. At the top of this, around to the right, you’ll see a ladder, it’s about four feet high. I forgot to take a picture of this, but it’s super easy to get up.
Once you’re up the ladder, it’s a pretty straight shot to the arches. This area is a little steep and kind of tough on the ankles to walk on a lot since it’s a weird angle, but it’s still pretty easy. You just walk along the base of the cliff until you get to the arches. Bowtie Arch is a pothole arch in the cliff wall off to the left. There are a few hanging gardens where water seeps from the rock. I love seeing hanging gardens.
You used to be able to climb and rappel from Corona Arch, but that was banned a few years ago after someone died on a rope swing from the arch. It’s still really cool to see, though. Another fun fact, Corona Arch is also known as Little Rainbow Bridge because of it’s resemblance to Rainbow Bridge on Lake Powell.
We spent about twenty minutes just hanging out by the arch and we had it all to ourselves. This was in February, so there is just less traffic there then. In the summer, there will probably be more people around. On our way out we saw like, 15 people on their way in, so it was good timing. Overall, I really enjoyed this hike. It felt different than the other desert hiking I’m used to. I would definitely do it again and would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area.
What to bring camping on Potash Road
Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side. They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.
Snacks – These are more important for long hikes, but you never know when you’ll get hungry! I like EPIC bars (kind of like beef jerky but different), Sahale nut mix things, and Moon Cheese. There’s always the good old Clif Bars and trail mix, too.
Cozy Sweatshirt – I have a few different Patagonia sweatshirts and love them all. They’re great for layering in cold weather. I have two Re-tools, a Better Sweater, and a Synchilla. Sometimes you can find them on sale on REI or Backcountry. I also like to keep an eye out for them on Poshmark (use code REDAROUNDWORLD for $10 off your first purchase) and Mercari (you can save $10 with that link as well!) I’ve found some really good deals on both.
Sleeping pad – Gotta make the tent comfy! The one I have isn’t available anymore but this one is similar. It’s self-inflating and just needs a little help filling all the way. Buy the sleeping pad here.
Pillow – If you’re just driving, I’d just bring a regular pillow, but if you’re flying then renting a car, you might want a smaller pillow. This is a good non-inflatible option. Here is a good inflatable option.
Lantern – I love having a lantern for in the tent at night, reading in the dark, or going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The LuminAID is my favorite and you can charge your phone on it. Buy the LuminAID lantern here.
Tips for hiking to Corona Arch:
- The hike is three miles round-trip.
- It’s a pretty easy hike overall, but if you’re not super confident in your balance and footwork, the second cable section might be a little tough to get back down.
- This isn’t the best hike for ankles. After the second cable, you’re kind of walking at an angle for a bit. It isn’t the most comfortable on your ankles, but it’s still worth going.
- If you can, go in the winter. We had it to ourselves for like, twenty minutes then on our way out we saw like 15 people coming in.
- If you do go in the summer, it might be a good idea to go super early or in the evening to avoid both crowds and the heat. There is pretty much no shade, so be prepared. It was only like, 50 degrees when we went and I was still hot and ended up taking my jacket and sweatshirt off.
- Bring plenty of water and don’t forget sunscreen!
- There are little green marks on the ground that mark the trail. There are also cairns to show the way, but the green marks are more frequent and a little easier to follow.
- Keep an eye out for Bowtie Arch to the left of Corona Arch.
- This is definitely a must-do hike in Utah and a great way to escape the crowds of Arches on a Utah road trip.
Have you been to Corona Arch? What did you think of it? What is your favorite arch near Moab?