Overview

This short loop hike visits Balanced Rock; a gravity-defying formation that features a massive Entrada sandstone boulder perched precariously on top of a delicate pillar of mudstone. Approximately half of the loop is on a paved walkway; the other half follows a dirt trail with stone steps and uneven surfaces up and around to the base of the rock and back to the starting point. At just 0.3 miles round trip this hike is suitable for children and adults of all skill levels.

Trailhead

The Double Arch Trail begins at the end of The Windows Road in Arches National Park (38.688181, -109.538525). To reach the trailhead from Moab, Utah:

  1. Drive north on Highway 191 for approximately 4.0 miles to the entrance of Arches National Park.
  2. Turn right onto Arches Scenic Drive and drive 9.1 miles to the turnoff for The Windows Road on the right.
  3. Turn right onto The Windows Road and drive 2.6 miles to the Double Arch parking area at the end of the road.

The Hike

From the parking area, begin hiking on the paved path toward Balanced Rock. After approximately 0.10 miles, the paved path ends. Turn left onto the marked trail and begin hiking up the slope ahead. Follow the trail as it skirts around the edge of Balanced Rock, offering a unique angle every time you look up.

For perspective, the boulder on top is 55 feet high and the entire tower is 128 feet tall. Some day the forces of erosion that created this fascinating landmark will eventually topple it. After 0.3 miles the trail reconnects with the paved path near the parking area.

Rules & Regulations

  • $25 per vehicle fee required to enter Arches National Park. (Annual and regional passes are available.)
  • No dogs allowed.
  • Pack out all trash.

Special Considerations

This area can be extremely hot during spring, summer and fall. Carry plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing.

Credits

This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.