This climb is excerpted from An Outdoor Family Guide to the Southwest's Four Corners, by Tom and Gayen Wharton, published by The Mountaineers, Seattle. ©1995 by Tom and Gayen Wharton. All rights reserved.
Though located near Arches National Park, Corona Arch is found on Bureau of Land Management property. To reach the trailhead for this interestingand often uncrowded3mile roundtrip hike, drive north from Moab across the Colorado River bridge on US 191. Turn down Scenic Byway 279 on the north side of the Colorado River. Along the way, road signs point out ancient Native American rock writing panels as well as a place to view dinosaur tracks. The viewpoints are worth a quick look. A sign that reads "Corona Arch, Bow Tie Arch" directs hikers to a parking lot across the Colorado River.
Corona Archwith its 140footby105foot opening (someone once flew a small airplane through it!)can be viewed from a distance. But walking underneath this and nearby Bow Tie Arch allows the most impressive views.
To reach these views, hikers use a primitive chain railing that trail builders cemented into the rock to help boost them up a steep portion of the trail. A few feet farther, hikers climb a ladder. Though not especially dangerous, the chains and ladder will give children a sense of adventure, adding to the fun of the walk. Stop for a few moments at the small alcove at the top of this trail. The acoustics are such that footsteps and voices from Corona Archstill a good distance awaycan be heard. To test the sound while hiking with several people, leave a few under the alcove and let the others hike to the arch.
Do not miss the hanging garden that adds touches of green and black to the surrounding red rock. The garden is located under Bow Tie Arch, which seems to be a natural conduit for water flowing above.
Walk to the base of Corona Arch where the sheer size of the natural formation seems certain to create a lasting family memory.ABOUT THE AUTHORS
An award-winning writer, Tom Wharton is the outdoor editor at The Salt Lake City Tribune, the author of Utah: A Family Travel Guide, and co-author with his wife, Gayen, of Utah (Compass American Guides). Gayen Wharton is a nationally recognized sixth-grade teacher. The parents of four children, they live in Salt Lake City.