Tower Arch

Moab, Utah (Grand) Technical Rating: 3-4

Last Updated: 10-22-2017

Tower arch
Status: Open
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3.3 Miles
Category: Desert
Highest Elevation: '
Duration: about 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Go: N/A
Connecting Trails:
Eye of the WhaleSalt Valley Road
Nearest Town:
Moab
Nearest Town w/ Service:
Moab
Nearby Trails:
Cache ValleyEye of the WhaleSalt Valley Road
Forest Service Road: #
Forest Service / Park District:
Arches National Park

Tower Arch Highlights

Highlights: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah

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.

Technical rating: (3-4) Easy

Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves but rocks to 9". Water crossings usually less than hub deep. Passable mud. Grades moderate, up to 15 degrees. Side hill moderate up to 15 degrees. 4WD under most conditions. No width problems, vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.

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Directions to Trailhead

From 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.

 

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:

38° 47' 42.85"N
109° 40' 2.17"W

GPS Exchange File:

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Route Description

This trail offers a little bit off everything from deep sand to minor rock crawling. There are two entrance and exit points on the trail that allows you to do either half the trail or all of it. For the entire trail enter the trail from Salt Valley Road where it quickly enter a series of light obstacles as you climb up and over a hill with amazing views of Klondike Bluffs and the Marching Men, plus the amazing surrounding landscape. The trail meets the Eye of Whale trail where it turns into more sand and less rock for the final leg to the parking area of the Tower Arch hike. As always do not attempt the deep sand in heavy rain and avoid the washes in bad weather.

1: Tower Arch Trailhead From Salt Valley Road

Tower Arch - Waypoint 1: Tower Arch Trailhead From Salt Valley Road Tower Arch - Waypoint 1: Tower Arch Trailhead From Salt Valley Road Tower Arch - Waypoint 1: Tower Arch Trailhead From Salt Valley Road

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

2: Hill Climb

Tower Arch - Waypoint 2: Hill Climb Tower Arch - Waypoint 2: Hill Climb Tower Arch - Waypoint 2: Hill Climb

Immediately after you start up hill you encounter bedrock and a series of minor obstacles as you climb up the hill with nothing rated over 5. Any aggressive stock SUV can do this portion if the driver keeps the vehicle level. There are no particular lines to take but as you can see from this photo the Jeep coming down got some nice flex.

3: Obstacles

Tower Arch - Waypoint 3: Obstacles Tower Arch - Waypoint 3: Obstacles Tower Arch - Waypoint 3: Obstacles

4: Ledges

Tower Arch - Waypoint 4: Ledges Tower Arch - Waypoint 4: Ledges Tower Arch - Waypoint 4: Ledges

The west side of the hill is made up mostly of slick rock with tiny shelf ledges easy to grip while going down or up.

5: Deep Sand

Tower Arch - Waypoint 5: Deep Sand Tower Arch - Waypoint 5: Deep Sand Tower Arch - Waypoint 5: Deep Sand

Just to the west of the hill it turns sandy and is fun to play in. The trail continues straight and is simple, wide and only issue would be in wet weather.

6: Marching Men

Tower Arch - Waypoint 6: Marching Men Tower Arch - Waypoint 6: Marching Men Tower Arch - Waypoint 6: Marching Men

Views of Marching Men from various locations along the trail.

7: Eye of Whale Trailhead

Tower Arch - Waypoint 7: Eye of Whale Trailhead Tower Arch - Waypoint 7: Eye of Whale Trailhead Tower Arch - Waypoint 7: Eye of Whale Trailhead

Either can be entrance or exit from the trail.

8: Maze and Sand Area

Tower Arch - Waypoint 8: Maze and Sand Area Tower Arch - Waypoint 8: Maze and Sand Area Tower Arch - Waypoint 8: Maze and Sand Area

9: Parking Lot/ End

Tower Arch - Waypoint 9: Parking Lot/ End Tower Arch - Waypoint 9: Parking Lot/ End Tower Arch - Waypoint 9: Parking Lot/ End

Plenty of parking for at least 15 vehicles. Hiking trails start just to the north of the parking lot.

10: Tower Arch

Tower Arch - Waypoint 10: Tower Arch Tower Arch - Waypoint 10: Tower Arch Tower Arch - Waypoint 10: Tower Arch

Hiking trails start directly at this parking lot.

11: Parallel Arch

Tower Arch - Waypoint 11: Parallel Arch Tower Arch - Waypoint 11: Parallel Arch Tower Arch - Waypoint 11: Parallel Arch

Hiking trail starts directly at the parking lot.

Camping and Lodging

Camping & Lodging: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah

The only camping within Arches National Park is at the official Arches Campground which has 50 sites. We suggest camp spot #19 as it has some clearance from being directly camped next to the road and plenty of space in the back for privacy. The group site is set up very well for setting tents up in the sand with plenty of picnic tables for cooking and gathering.

Just outside the park there are plenty of dispersed and rustic locations along Salt Valley Road.

Brandon

Brandon Marlow

"It isn't an adventure until something goes wrong" -Yvonne Chouinard Brandon is always trying to get outdoors as much as possible, whether on a short day...

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Questions & Answers

Question:

Can a Dodge 2500 long bed make the trail?
By Mark on April 30, 2017
respond

Answer:

Yes, it should do ok. If you plan on going out via Eye of Whale, there could be an issue at one location where you could become high centered. 4WD may be required.
By Todd Taylor Official Crew on May 01, 2017

Question:

When entering salt valley road from the north, what is the road condition to Tower Arch trailhead?
By Reg on March 23, 2017
respond

Answer:

Salt Valley Road is a double vehicle width dirt road with no obstacles. When its dry, it would be easily used by most vehicles. With a little moisture, it may have the potential to get muddy and rutted quickly. I think I recall it having some ruts last time I was there from a prior storm. Salt Valley Road turns to a gravel road at a point when you are in Arches and is well maintained until it reaches Arches Scenic Drive.
By Brandon Marlow Official Crew on March 23, 2017

Trip Reports

Missing profile

JTG

Offroaded on 10-22-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Sunny

Low Temperature: 44° F

High Temperature: 54° F

Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah

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.

Tj

TJ Bosworth
Official Crew

Offroaded on 03-05-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Partially Cloudy

Low Temperature: 50° F

High Temperature: 58° F

Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah

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.

Tracy

Tracy Barker
Official Crew

Offroaded on 03-05-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Cloudy

Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah Trip Report: Tower Arch - Moab, Utah

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.

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