Sometimes we get asked if we have adventure fails. Of course we do! A major adventure fail was the Maple Canyon Arch Trail several years ago. We had a sprained ankle and a skinned knee within the first quarter mile, so we turned around and gave up. Recently, we returned to attempt the trail again. We found it be a nice, moderate hike to a beautiful destination.
Maple Canyon is a popular place in Sanpete County just west of Fountain Green. There is a well-known box canyon that is used by rock climbers in this same area. There is also a campground at the end of the Maple Canyon road. The Arch Trail trailhead is located right between campsites.
The parking area for the Maple Canyon Arch Trail is small. It is located just across (and slightly before) you reach the restrooms. A few of the spaces are marked as reserved for specific site numbers, but there are a few spaces that are open for non-campers. The trailhead starts at the bottom end of this parking lot and has a sign directing you to the Arch trail.
Maple Canyon Arch Trail isn’t particularly long, but it climbs steadily for around three-quarters of a mile to the arch. This makes the trail 1.5 miles roundtrip and we rate it moderate due to the climb (and maybe, our previous fail!). The trail is entirely shaded and beautiful, though it is a bit rocky. There are a few junctions along the hike, but the trail is well marked to keep you heading the correct direction.
This area also has plenty of wildlife. There were several types of birds, and we heard them singing throughout the hike. We even spotted a bobcat chasing a squirrel up a tree, though that is obviously a rare sighting. Eventually, you reach a split in the trail with a sign pointing you left to the arch. After you turn, you realize you are standing almost right under the arch.
The arch for Maple Canyon Arch trail is fairly large. You can make a short, steep climb to stand right under it. The arch is unique because it is made of conglomerate rock rather than Utah’s ubiquitous red sandstone.
After we finished this hike, we also walked through the Box Canyon we mentioned above. We finished our day with delicious pizza from Roy’s Pizza in Ephraim. We always eat at Roy’s when we visit Sanpete County.