Ring Arch

Ring Arch

Arches National Park

          So you have done all the tourist hikes inside Arches National Park and you are now looking for a really cool arch, seldom visited, with no crowds and no trail? Rarely visited Ring Arch might be the hike you are interested in. The route is easy to follow, requires only a couple of hours time, and follows a cheerful stream much of the way.

Circle of Friends:
          Ring Arch is part of the "Circle of Friends" program. Members of the "Circle of Friends" have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints, trailhead location and detailed maps. If you would like more information on joining the "Circle of Friends" visit the sign up page.

"Circle of Friends"

Ring Arch Stormy & Sierra on the trail

General Information:
          Ring Arch is a wonderful desert hike that will require 2 to 3 hours round trip. Elevation gain on this hike is virtually nil. This route should be easy for any experienced hiker.

          Navigation for this route is moderate. There is no trail for most of the way. Paying attention to your map and route description is required. Good map reading skills are helpful. This route is rated 1A I using the Canyon Rating System.

          You will encounter areas of cryptobiotic crust along this route. Please avoid disturbing all cryptobiotic crust. Stay on existing trails, walk in wash bottoms or on slickrock. Go out of your way, literally, to avoid cryptobiotic soil. Cryptobiotic crust requires five to ten years of undisturbed growth before it even becomes visible as an irregular, blackish mat on the soil surface. A single footprint by a careless hiker can destroy decades of growth!

Trailhead Information:
          The trailhead is located inside Arches National Park and  is accessible to all vehicles in all conditions.

Sierra in Courthouse Wash Sierra & Stormy in Courthouse Wash

Ring Arch Facts:
          Ring Arch is an old pothole type natural arch, formed of Entrada sandstone. it has a span of 64 feet, a height of 39 feet, a thickness of two feet, and a width of 2 1/2 feet. The arch was discovered on March 31, 1940, by Harry Reed, Moab photographer and former custodian of Arches national Monument. Slim Mabery, former district ranger at the monument, named it Ring Arch for its shape.

Ring Arch

Arch Bagging:
In 1982, Gerry Roach wrote a self published book titled "Arch Bagger". This was his first book and a mere 300 copies were printed. The book is long out of print, and it is very rare. Ring Arch was one of the 39 arches identified in Arch Bagger.

          After Roach published Arch Bagger, the National Park Service defined new rules for climbing in Arches National Park. Climbing is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps. This rule presumably affected 16 of the 39 arches described in Arch Bagger. One of them being Ring Arch.

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