Tower Arch

Moab, Utah (Grand County)

Last Updated: 03/13/2021
4.7 / 5 ( 15 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 3.4 miles
Highest Elevation: 5185 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Moab
Nearest Town w/ Services: Moab
Official Road Name:
Management Agency: National Parks Service
District: Arches National Park
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Tower Arch
Situated just outside Moab is Arches National Park. Arches is a major tourist destination known for its many sandstone arches that seem to defy the laws of nature. However, most of these famous arches are easily accessible from the main paved road and that’s typically where the crowds flock. Arches is not widely considered a Jeeping destination because it does not contain many off-road trails within its boundaries. In one sense that’s a bummer, but another way to look at it is that all the Moab Jeep fanatics and big outfits won’t put Arches on their radar, which means that what is available may be wide open for the taking. A short hike over to Tower Arch, Parallel Arch, The Marching Men, and Anniversary Arch make this trail a must do.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Tower Arch

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Starting from this point is directly off of the Salt Valley Road. The trailhead is well marked and you can't miss it. The first 1/2 mile is in soft sand with plenty of room to pass.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 38.795236, -109.658232

Starting Point: Eye of Whale Trail

This is the easier ride, but note that it is significantly longer. The turnoff for the first trail is located just before Balanced Rock, about seven miles from the park entrance and indicated by a large brown sign. If you pass the parking area for Balanced Rock you’ve gone too far. This dirt road is called Willow Flats or BLM 378. Drive for just a few minutes along it due west, about a half-mile, until you see the turnoff for Tower Arch on your right. From Salt Valley Road Take either Arches Entrance Road to Salt Valley Road just shy from Devil's Garden, or take Salt Valley Road in from 191. The trail entrance is well marked.

Camping

Not allowed

Trail Reviews (19)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
As others have said before this is not a 3 trail anymore. I was doing it solo and probably not a good idea but I went with the trail reviews of it being a 3 and was in for a shock. As far as this part of the trail it looks fun but everyone should BEWARE!! The dirt roads getting to here are absolutely horrible! I came in from the north and I have never seen such huge washboards and they were constant and incessant. Actually the whole road until you get to pavement in the park is incredibly horrible. It is almost not worth it to go see the Tower Arch but I hiked the 1.3 miles from the trail head so that was cool. It's a lot shorter hike from the 4x4 trail. Overall just beware of the terrible washboard road.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
As of 4/18/21, this trail is NOT anything like a 3-rated trail. I have a good amount of experience with TrailsOffroad ratings, both in Moab and all over CO/UT, and this trail is more suited to a 4-5 level rating. "The only issue on this trail is deep sand." could not be further from the truth. In a 3 inch lifted 4Runner on 33's, there were countless places between waypoint 2 and 7 that challenged the vehicle's flex and ground clearance. Unless you're in a heavily modified rig or have full skids, line selection and tire placement will be absolutely critical on several obstacles between waypoints 2 and 7. A spotter will be beyond helpful- a couple of the obstacles came within an inch or two of my rock sliders and rear bumper. Be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN to air down as much as you're comfortable doing so - several obstacles will require it. Outside of the surprising amount of challenging obstacles, the road was a blast. The views at the end are incredible and it makes a great day in combination with Eye of the Whale. Just make sure you're in the right vehicle and have the time/skills for a road much harder than a 3 rating!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Tons of fun! Given my lack of offroading experience I can definitely see why some would think this is a 4-4 instead of 3-3.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I almost want to down vote this one just to keep people from finding out about it. Knew it was here but didn't think much about it until we were in arches and looking for something fun... low and behold this little gem filled our afternoon combined with other wheeling in the park. Funny how many people say there is now wheeling in arches including my wife until yesterday. Ps she drove this one to get a feel for wheeling in moab.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Note, near the top of the big hill, just after Waypoint 2, there is a pretty deep hole forming. Still love this trail after 4 or 5 trips, but the secret is definitely out.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is a really fun trail in Arches! Lots of fun sections and amazing scenery. A stock 4wd vehicle will have a challenge, but nothing too bad. Great trail if you are in Arches and you are trying to get out for some wheeling.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail. Gets you away from crowds. We saw 3 other vehicles. Not a difficult trail but worth going to when in Arches. Snow and ice made it more fun. I imagine that with the crazy thunderstorms this area gets in the summer, this might be either fun in the deep sand or impassable.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I took this trail today it’s definitely a fun one a bit technical for someone still a little new to off-roading. I’d say it’s not a 3-3 anymore it’s more like a 4-4 I have 15” of clearance and I still hit the bottom of my truck a couple times. But still a lot of fun

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
A most do! Trail starts with a technical climb and just gets better. Amazing views and ends at the tower arch. From the parking area, the tower arch seems far but do the trek to the arch, it’s worth it. Definitely air down if you can.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
What an awesome trail! This is the perfect blend of being technical enough for beginners to get some experience while still entertaining the advanced drivers. The area is beautiful with rock formations all around. I'd do this trail again in a heart beat. I wouldn't recommend this trail for full-size rigs - I have a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon and still scraped the underbelly in a few spots.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
A must do and escape the crowds . Full day if you start north and head south on Salt Valley Road, then west onto tower arches. It is rated 3 , I felt it was a 4 . Some real areas that need spotting and maybe the very wet winter before left bigger holes . We had lunch at arch then returned to Moab via eye of the whale trail and warm springs to highway 191 truly a must do and spend time at the arch . ! Could have sworn we saw a Dinosaur. Definitely saw tracks . ( stock rubicon )

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Nice trip and the parking area at the arch made for a perfect lunch stop. Continued to Eye of the Whale Arch from here.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Awesome trail that can be done in most stock vehicles. I really enjoyed the lack of crowds. A must do if you're trying to escape the crowds of Arches.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail without too much traffic (we ran it pretty early, like 8am). NOTE: The trail is within the boundaries of Arches National Park, so familiarize yourself with any particular rules regarding 4x4 travel within National Park boundary and STAY THE TRAIL! There are a lot of bypasses that are being used to get around some of the obstacles, but be advised, that these are not legal (we found the "no motorized vehicles" posts thrown into the bushes). I'm not sure about the trail rating on this one... 3 seems a bit too light for this trail. I would give it a 4 or 5 probably compared to other trails rated "3" in this area (maybe I'm just bad a wheeling!) Although nothing about the obstacles is particularly "hard," there are lines in which you could definitely sustain body, frame, or drive train damage, especially going uphill, so pick your lines accordingly. We had 2 vehicles, and we both needed spotters are a few obstacles. That said, this one of the most fun trails I've done in a while. It was short, moderately challenging (at least for our lightly modified vehicles), and had great views. The walk to the arch at the end was enjoyable and easy for everyone. Don't leave without checking it out!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Not sure if it’s due to erosion during the last winter, or other factors, but the trail was more difficult than anticipated to get to eye of the whale trail. Going up the hill with obstacles, there was at least a few spots that required stacked rocks to lessen the ledge height, and there is a very well used system of bypasses that are in place to get around the current obstacles. I have a full set of skid plates and rock sliders on a no lift Tacoma, and put them to use quite a few times on this trail. Based on current conditions, you probably should have at least 33 inch tires and a lift kit to do this trail.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We did this with our long bed extended cab Chevy. A few spots were tight and we had to get out to do some spotting in a few places. Other than that, no issues. This is a scenic and fun road to do. You could make it more challenging depending on the lines you choose. The Tower arch itself is really neat too. We didn't take the time to look around much for Anniversary arch. I will say I don't think is where the way point from this guide shows it.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I have not been to Tower Arch since 2008; the trail has not changed dramatically, it is much like I remember it. This is an easy trail with a few ledges but nothing a stock 4x4 cannot handle. It was great fun to include Tower Arch with others such as Eye of the Whale. Both are easy and close to Arches National Park.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Living in Salt Lake, Moab makes for a great 3 day weekend. After debating on trails to run for the weekend, we decided on spending most of Sunday running Klondike Bluffs, Klondike Bluffs Escape, Tower Arch, and Eye of the Whale. Tower Arch is an amazing trail with a few fun little challenges on the way to a not very popular arch. The arch itself is very large and will probably remain standing for quite a long time. I didn't however make the small hike over to Anniversary Arch. The weather was typical for early March, but provided a great getaway from the constant cold and snow in Northern Utah.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great trail. This video is the complete uncut trail from 2014 when I did it with a stock height FZJ80 and a completely stock 2nd gen Tacoma with sliders. The video is tagged for different parts of the trail and joins this trail and Klondike bluffs

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: Can a Dodge 2500 long bed make the trail?
–Mark (04/30/2017)
–Todd (05/01/2017)
Q: When entering salt valley road from the north, what is the road condition to Tower Arch trailhead?
–Reg (03/23/2017)
–Brandon Marlow (03/23/2017)

Writer Information

TJ Bosworth

Mapping Crew - Utah

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, he's only been off-roading since he was 16 but fell in love immediately. He attended college in Denver for Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management and wheeled in Colorado for 4 years, but ended up moving back home to Salt Lake City. He currently works in an off-road shop and spends his free time doing anything he can to stay busy, which is usually working on his jeep or playing music. Outside of off-roading, he is an avid whitewater rafter and outdoor cook. Camping at least every other weekend in any season is a normal year. The further from civilization, the better. Bring on the memories!
For individual use only, not to be shared.