Cedar Wash Arch

CEdar Wash Arch 1

Cedar Wash Arch is a beautiful sandstone arch in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It is much different than the arches you’ll see in southeastern Utah because it is white and not red. There is a short hike to the arch, and the trail can be somewhat confusing.


There is a small unmarked parking area at the trailhead for Cedar Wash Arch. Pull in and park on the small loop. If you’ve accessed the trail from Escalante as we suggest, pay close attention to the instructions as there is a false trail that led us away from the arch. Park your car and you’ll notice a small set of tire tracks that goes about 15 yards into the trees. This turns into a trail, but it is a fake trail that peters out in the middle of nowhere after about a half mile. The real trail starts behind the dead cedar tree and runs in generally the same direction you were driving your car (if you came from Escalante). You’ll travel down and to your left, and you’ll still be in sight of your car when the arch comes into view less than half a mile down parallel to the road.

Cedar Wash Arch 2
The trail is next to this tree on the far side of the pull out area, not back to the right of this picture where the faint tire tracks lead down.
Cedar Wash Arch 3
See the small trail heading down?
Cedar Wash Arch 4
This is a look at the trail coming up. Our blue van is barely visible in the middle of this picture behind the dead tree.

At this point, you’ll step out on to the slickrock, which you’ll follow as far as you want toward the arch. We walked about a quarter mile toward Cedar Wash Arch until it started to disappear behind an outcropping of rock. This made our total roundtrip distance about three-quarters of a mile, probably less. If you continued on toward the arch, it may come back into view, but it looks like you’d be standing above it at a bad angle to view the arch. If we hadn’t been lost for awhile, and if the sun wasn’t disappearing fast, we would have walked all the way over, just to see what it looked like! Hopefully we can help you find it easier than we did.

Cedar Wash Arch 5
When you get to the bottom of the dirt trail, you will see all the slick rock. Look to the left and you should spot the arch.
Cedar Wash Arch 6
There is plenty of room to walk around on the slick rock, but sometimes you need to get close to the edge to keep the arch in sight. Keep a hold of the kids!
Cedar Wash Arch 7
This is as close as we got to the arch since it was getting dark.
Cedar Wash Arch 8
We would have loved to walk all the way out there, if we had more daylight, but we aren’t sure the views would be any better than where we ended up.

This hike is easy for kids, but be careful about the slickrock as it falls away to the right. There is a nasty drop of around 25 feet in some places, and though it’s easy to stay away from the edge, the best views of the arch are nearest the edge. The slick rock is wide though, and it’s easy to keep kids safe and far away from the drop off. You really can see the arch fine from anywhere once you come down onto the slick rock.

Cedar Wash Arch 9
The arch can be tricky to spot because it’s coming out of the side of the cliff, so look closely.

Directions: Because this arch lies out Cedar Wash Road, it is well paired with Covered Wagon Natural Bridge. To reach the trailhead for Cedar Wash Arch, use Center Street in Escalante. Drive this road south for for 3.5 miles, then it will become dirt. At 4.6 miles it becomes Cedar Wash Road. At 7.7 miles you will see the sign and enter Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. At 9.0 miles, you will see a small turnout; this is for Covered Wagon Natural Bridge. At 10.1 miles, you will come to the turnout for Cedar Wash Arch. It is a pull through (half circle), and the trail is all the way on the far side by the dead tree picture above. The trail heads almost parallel to the road down to the slick rock. Good luck and we don’t guarantee you won’t get lost!

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