Navigation for this route is easy. There trail is well marked and often traveled. Mistakes in navigation are easy to overcome and correct on this route. A GPS is extreme overkill. Good map reading skills and the USGS 7.5' Map titled "Klondike Bluffs" are helpful. All waypoints and maps for this route use the WGS84 datum. This route is rated class 1 I using the Yosemite Decimal System.
Follow the route described and you will avoid 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!
Tower Arch Facts:
Tower Arch History:
The inscription on the south abutment reads "DISCOV'D BY M. AND MRS. ALEX RINGHOEFFER AND SONS 1922-23." the inscription has led to much controversy because the name "Ringhoffer" is misspelled and the date 1922-23 is cryptic. The Ringhoffer family operated a silver mine in Salt Valley and spent Sundays exploring the surrounding country. The family was probably aware of the arch. It is unknown who actually carved the inscription.
The second inscription reads "Minaret Bridge, H.S. Bell 1927." In 1933 and 1934 the Arches National Monument Scientific Expedition conducted an in-depth reconnaissance of the new monument. The expedition was led by Frank Beckwith, a local newspaper editor and amateur scientist, who was responsible for naming many of the arches. Including the naming of Tower Arch. It appears that Beckwith was unaware or disregarded the name Minaret Bridge.
Follow the main road into Arches National Park and do not turn-off until told to do so. From Arches National Park Visitor Center drive into the park for 16.3 to the signed dirt road on the south (left) side of the road. Turn south on the dirt road, pass through a gate that is locked during bad weather, and follow the dirt road for 7.0 miles to a signed junction. The spur road to the west (left) offers 4x4 access to Klondike Bulls. Continue north (straight ahead) on the main dirt road for an additional 50 yards to a second signed spur road heading west (left). Follow the second spur road for 1.0 miles to the Tower Arch trailhead.
The Tower Arch Trailhead is identified by parking for several vehicles, information kiosk and a a pit toilet. The trailhead is accessible to all vehicles in good weather. The dirt road become impassable during inclement weather.
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