Corona Arch

Corona Arch

Moab Area

          Corona Arch is a partly freestanding arch with a 110-foot by 110-foot opening. The route is a 1 1/2 mile hike up Bootlegger Canyon. The arch is located in a striking slickrock setting. Corona Arch is often called "Little Rainbow Bridge", which is an injustice because there is nothing little about this arch. Bowtie Arch is adjacent to Corona Arch, and is an additional attraction along the trail. This is one of the best arches in the Moab area.

General Information:
Click Here for Google Earth KMZ File.Click Here for Topographic Map.           The Corona Arch Trail is not difficult and can be completed by any healthy adult or child. No special gear is required other than footwear suitable for walking over slickrock. The hike involves walking approximately 1 1/2 miles each way over a well maintained trail with an elevation gain of 440 feet. The route will require approximately two or three hours round trip to complete.

          Much of the route is exposed to the sun and there is little shade available. During hot weather an early morning or evening hike is recommended. Every member of your hiking party should carry at least one liter of water. This hike should be easily accessible year round.

         Navigation for this hike is easy. The route is well marked. A GPS is over kill but I have included the important waypoints for the gizmo junkies. The USGS 7.5' Maps titled "Gold Bar Canyon" and "Moab" covers this hike. You should have no problems completing this hike using only common sense. This route is rated 2 I using the Yosemite Decimal System or 1A I using the Canyon Rating System.

Sierra Climbing the moki steps Looking down on the moki steps and safety cable.

Trailhead Information:
          From Moab head north out of town on U.S. Highway 191. Cross the bridge over the Colorado River. After crossing the bridge continue north for 1.3 miles to the signed "Potash" road, which is State Road 279. Turn west (left) and follow State Road 279 for 10.1 miles to the signed Corona Arch trailhead. The trailhead is located on the north (right) side of the road. The trailhead consists of a large gravel parking lot and an information kiosk.

          You might want to stop and look at the Potash Petroglyphs and Dinosaur Tracks on the drive to the trailhead. You pass right by them and they only require a couple of minutes extra to enjoy.

          Gold Bar Campground is located across the road from the trailhead, next to the Colorado River. For more information or for reservations, please call the Bureau of Land Management Moab Field Office at (435) 259-2100.

Ladder with bowtie Arch over the shoulder. Bowtie Arch

Route Information:
From the Corona Arch Trailhead (N38 34' 28", W109 37' 57"), follow the trail as it climbs east to a BLM register located on a small bench where you will also cross the railroad tracks. After crossing the railroad tracks follow an old eroded road bed through a gap in the slickrock bench above. After reaching the top of the bench the route follows a trail of cairns (little piles of rock) northeast towards the base of a large sandstone cliff. Follow the base of the cliff east to a safety cable that protects a slightly exposed section of trail. Corona Arch is visible from this point.

          After the first safety cable, continue to follow the base of the cliff to a second safety cable and moki steps carved into the sandstone. Climb to the top of the moki steps. From the top of the moki steps continue east, climb a short ladder up over a ledge and follow the cairns up to the top of a large bench. From this point, it is easy to walk along the wide slickrock bench, beneath Bowtie Arch (N38 34' 28", W109 37' 19"), and on to the base of Corona Arch (N38 34' 47", W109 37' 12"). Please be careful of steep drop-offs along the trail.

Arch Bagging Variation:
          For those who would like to visit the top of Corona Arch here is what you need to know. 50 yards east of Corona Arch is a steep buttress that has moki steps carved into it. The steep buttress allows access to a ledge system and the top of Corona Arch. The moki access is exposed and a fall could be deadly. Going up the buttress is much easier then coming down. There are several pitons and bolted anchors in the buttress that might offer some protection if you have a 60 meter rope for belays and handlines.

Corona Arch Rappel:
          It is currently illegal to rappel from the top of Corona Arch. In 2015 the BLM Banned all "extreme activities" include ziplining, highlining, slacklining, climbing and rappelling from Corona Arch. Before 2015 extreme activities from the top of the arch were both popular and legal.

          Presented for historical information only, here is the beta for rappelling from the top of Corona Arch. The rappel required two 150-foot ropes. The top of the arch is bolted. The actual rappel is approximately 140-feet with the final 120-feet being free hanging. The rappel is very intimidating and was not suitable for the faint of heart.

Corona Arch with Shauna, Stormy and Sierra beneath.

Corona Arch Statistics:
Greater Arch Dimension (GAD): 110.0 feet. For this arch, the GAD is its height.
Lesser Arch Dimension (LAD): 110.0 feet. For this arch, the LAD is its span.
Arch Type: Buttress
Rock formation and/or type: Navajo Sandstone

Rappelling from Corona Arch

Potash Railroad Spur:
          The railroad track was built in 1964. The spur connects the Potash Plant at the end of Utah 279) to the main railroad line in Crescent Junction. Just below Corona Arch, the train enters a one mile long tunnel to emerge near U.S. highway 191. The train runs several times per week, hauling potash to the main railroad line at Crescent Junction, at Interstate 70.

          Enjoy a short video of Corona Arch. Video courtesy of Dan Burt.


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