The Tower Arch trail is a great family hike to a large natural arch in the remote Klondike Bluffs area of Arches National Park. Aside from the outstanding scenery of Klondike Bluffs, one of the biggest advantages of the Tower Arch trail is that it doesn’t see nearly as much visitation as the trails accessed from the paved roads around the park. The trail is mildly strenuous due to one fairly steep climb and about an abundance of walking in soft sand, but is suitable for most healthy adults and children.
The hike to Tower Arch begins at the Klondike Bluffs parking area, just off the Salt Valley Road in Arches National Park. The trailhead is usually accessible to passenger cars but can become impassable after storms. Check in at the park visitor center for current conditions.
From Moab, Utah:
- Drive north on Highway 191 for approximately 4.0 miles to the entrance of Arches National Park.
- Turn right onto Arches Scenic Drive.
- Drive 17.1 miles to the turnoff for the Salt Valley Road on the left.
- Turn left onto Salt Valley Road and drive 7.2 miles to the signed junction for Klondike Bluffs.
- Turn left toward Klondike Bluffs and drive 1.0 mile to the parking area at the end of the road.
A vault toilet is available at the trailhead. There is a $25 per vehicle fee to enter Arches National Park.
From the Klondike Bluffs parking area, begin hiking on the trail heading south, which climbs steeply to the top of a ridge before cresting into an open valley with beautiful Entrada sandstone fins and pillars all around. Continue on the well-marked trail as it skirts along the south edge of the valley before crossing over a dry, sandy wash.
As you climb out the other side of the wash, notice the line of freestanding stone pillars to the south. This interesting formation is called The Marching Men, as it looks like a line of figures marching along the ridge.
Continue on the sandy trail as it climbs to the top of a hill and turns north into a maze of interesting sandstone fins. The trail passes between some of these fins just before arriving at Tower Arch (38.788967, -109.687183).
With a span of just over 100 feet, Tower Arch is an impressive sight. It’s also relatively easy to get up under the arch and climb around a bit for a different view. The westward orientation of the arch provides an excellent perspective to watch the sunset, however don’t forget to bring a flashlight for the hike back. Return to the trailhead the way you came. Total hiking distance is approximately 3.0 miles round trip.
NOTE: It is possible to access Tower Arch from a trailhead at the end of a remote 4WD road, which shortens the hike to just 0.6 miles round trip. However, the 4WD road can often become impassable. Check with the Visitor Center for more information on road conditions and how to access the 4WD trailhead if you plan to use that access point.
Rules and Regulations
- No pets allowed.
- No littering.
- Pack out trash.
This hike can be very hot in the midday sun. Bring plenty of water for each member of your group.