Tower Arch Trail – Arches National Park

Tower Arch Trail is a less traveled much less visited hike in Arches National Park which is exactly why it’s worth seeing. The feeling of having a trail nearly to yourself is hard to find these days.

Tower Arch Trail

This is a fun hike with many sights and few visitors. When we arrived there were 10 cars in the parking area and we saw maybe 10 people on the hike. You won’t find many hikes like Tower Arch Trail within Arches National Park with so few people. The 9 mile washboarded road is likely what keeps people away.

Facts To Remember


Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 5.2 miles round trip / approx 3-4 hours
Elevation Gain: 100 feet
Starting Elevation: 4,970 feet
When To Hike: Year Round
Permits: No
Pets Allowed: No
Starting Location: Klondike Bluffs parking area
Time of Year: October, 2019

Parking and Getting There

We started our drive to Tower Arch trailhead using Salt Valley Road. This road is located in the northern area of Arches National Park and just north of Sand Dune Arch.

The road is almost 8 miles and is unpaved and very washboarded.

The drive is flat and has little to see but if you love this type of landscape it’s still enjoyable.

After approx 8 miles, you will see signs for the 4×4 road and to Tower Arch. Follow Tower Arch sign on the 1.3 mile Klondike Bluffs Road, also unpaved. At the end of this road, you will arrive in the parking area.

Parking is very limited in the main area but you can park on the side of Klondike Bluffs Road if needed.

There is also an information kiosk and a pit toilet. This is the ONLY toilet on the hike!

A view of the parking after the initial hike uphill

Hiking Tower Arch Trail

We have been looking forward to this hike for a long time. Each visit to Arches National Park takes us to the easier to access hikes.

The Hike Begins

The initial hike is steep and rocky and well marked. Just watch for cairns as you go. Once you get to the top, you’ll have a fantastic view of the valley.

Views After the Initial Hike Uphill

Marching Men

The Marching Men are part of a gigantic fin of eroding sandstone. The appear to be soldiers standing at attention on top of the massive sandstone fin.

Sandy Uphill Hike

This section of the hike isn’t very long but it’s uphill and all sand. It’s a leg burner! Aimee found a path around it but it took her the same amount of time but didn’t burn her legs.

Tower Arch

This is a BIG arch with a 92 foot span! It is a large and solid arch! Very impressive sight as you come around the final turn in the trail.

Parallel Arch

This arch is just to the right of Tower Arch.

Thru the Arch and Above

After passing thru Tower Arch, we climbed over some boulders and worked our way to the left and up to the top. Fantastic view from up here! We spent easily an hour sitting up here enjoying the view.

Heading Out

Our Thoughts

This hike has it all except for crowds! Lots of interesting sights along this moderate hike. If you don’t mind driving on an unpaved road then you should check this hike out. We think you’ll like it!

Suggestions and Tips

Leave early as the washboarded road could take time if you drive slow like we did.

Are you Considering This Hike?

Check on road conditions at the visitor center before attempting the drive to the trailhead. The roads are sand, dirt and are very washboarded and likely difficult or impassable following/during rains or snow.
Check the weather for rain or bad weather and dress accordingly.

Hike Recommendations

Water: Always bring plenty of water as summer temperatures can be brutal
Food/Snacks: Always bring some food
Hiking Boots/Shoes: Traction is Important – No sandals, flip flops, slippers, dress shoes
Hiking Sticks/Poles: Poles will reduce the impact on knees and leg muscles.

More Useful Information

Arches National Park map

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