We know. Mentioning anything “corona” these days is not exactly the best. But we promise this post is well worth it! Really, it’s not often we take a break from national parks, but sometimes our hikes and adventures between parks are too good not to share. Today we’re in between our posts about Arches National Park and about to start covering our time in Canyonlands National Park. But first, we wanted to share about hiking the Corona Arch Trail in Moab, Utah. It’s a hike you’ll definitely want to add to your list the next time you’re in the area.
You may already recognize Corona Arch from some popular videos distributed online a few years ago. Since it’s not on National Park Service lands, the rules and protections on the arch are slightly different and this ultra-tall arch has been featured on some online stunts over the years. More than 28 million people have viewed Devin Tramp’s “World’s Largest Rope Swing” video of the arch:
About the Corona Arch Trail
The Corona Arch Trail is located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands (hence the climbers and rope swing).
It’s located about 20 minutes from Moab, Utah and a great addition to visits to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, or Deadhorse State Park. Because it’s slightly off the beaten path from the busy Arches trails, it was one of the closest and most private experiences we had with an arch on our road trip.
The arch itself is one of the largest in Utah, measuring 140 feet across by 105 feet high. Along the way, you’ll also see views of Bowtie Arch and Pinto Arch.
Distance and Difficulty
The trail for Corona Arch is an out-and-back, moderate 3 mile trail. Round trip the hike took us about 2 hours, although we stopped for plenty of pictures and waited a bit longer in the shady spots to admire the view.
The trail is mostly flat, but is listed as moderate since in two spots chains and slick rock steps are required. Both spots are near steeper areas of the surrounding canyon. We managed the trail just fine, but if you have concerns about heights, this might not be the best spot for you.
Where is the trailhead?
The trailhead for Corona Arch is located along Potash Road (Utah Highway 297) near Moab. From downtown Moab, travel north approximately 4 miles on Highway 191. Turn left onto Potash Road and travel about 11 miles. The parking area for Corona Arch is on the right side of the road and well-marked. The trail departs from the posted sign at the south end of the parking lot.
Indigenous Roots at Corona Arch
As part of our commitment to a more Diverse NPS, Park Chasers wants to acknowledge that the lands we now enjoy were once the home of many different indigenous communities.
The areas around Moab, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands Natinonal Park were once ceremonial for people who lived and farmed in the Moab valley.
According to the National Park Service (nps.gov)
“Moab is the only major crossing of the Colorado River for hundreds of miles, so this area saw extensive travel and trade, making it an important cultural feature for all tribes on a regional scale.”
The lands around Corona Arch once belonged to members of the:
- Pueblo of Zuni (or A:shiwi),
- the Hopi Tribe,
- the Southern Ute Indian Tribe,
- Ute Indian Tribe-Uintah and Ouray,
- the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, and
- the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians.
To learn more about native communities in the area and how these lands were in many cases were forcibly stolen from their inhabitants – visit Native Lands.
To learn more about our commitment to greater diversity, inclusion, and access to public lands visit DiverseNPS.
What You'll See
From the parking area, you’ll quickly cross a set of railroad tracks used primarily for hauling potash from the mining areas around Moab. Twice per day there’s trains running from inside the mountain (North America’s largest potash deposit) right past the trail parking area.
Don’t forget to turn around on the way in to catch some gorgeous views of the sandstone cliffs and the Colorado River. You’re heading up a steady climb at this point, the most elevation change of the trip.
From this point, the trail enters into a wide sandy area where you’ll see lots of classic examples of the desert plants that call Moab home. Be careful to stay on the trails here as walking on the fragile desert soil can cause hundreds of years of damage.
At around 0.7 miles in, you’ll encounter a long cable built into the slick rock sandstone. We didn’t need it to stay upright, but it’s there if needed.
Just past the cable, you’ll see a cairn garden followed by the first views of Pinto Arch. If you’re not so sure about heights, this is the part of the trail where you’ll likely want to turn around.
The next stretch you’ll encounter a set of moqui steps and cables. Take your time climbing and allow plenty of space for hikers coming down the slope.
Once you’re past the cables, it’s smooth hiking all the way to Corona Arch. On the left you’ll have great views of Bowtie Arch, although it’s hard to not peel your eyes off the stunning height of Corona.
Be sure to take your time and see the arch from both sides. Cross under and enjoy a few minutes of rest in the shade of the arch. The view from the other side is just as stunning.
We loved how secluded this hike felt –there were only a handful of people the entire stretch of trail. Very different than our arch hikes at Delicate Arch and the Devil’s Garden area. We also loved that in the late-afternoon, the area had a terrific orange-red glow.
Once you’re finished with views of Corona, take the same route back to the parking area as you came.
When to Hike the Corona Arch Trail
Hiking is great in Moab all year round, especially to Corona. Given the open sandy flats on the first 1/2 mile of trail, it’s best to hike Corona Arch early in the morning or late in the day. We loved the late afternoon light on the arch and recommend that as a first choice.