Tower Arch | Arches National Park

If you are looking for a hike that is off the beaten path in Arches National Park, then check out Tower Arch. This trail is not along the main road, so many people skip it. We hiked Tower Arch in Arches on our most recent trip and we loved this trail. There were very few people and the scenery was beautiful.

Tower Arch is quite large.

Getting to Tower Arch

Tower Arch in Arches is only accessible via dirt road. Though we found the 8-mile drive to be in great shape, ask at the Visitor Center about current road conditions before heading out to the trailhead. Our van had no trouble driving this road.

Make sure to use the map and take the correct road. There are two splits to be aware of. One is a four-wheel drive only road that you won’t make without a Jeep or large truck. The other split comes shortly after the turn off for the 4WD road. Stay to the left for Tower Arch as the main road continues out of the park. There are signs at both of these junctions.

The road is passable for most vehicles.

Trail Info

There is a 1.3 mile hike to reach Tower Arch (so 2.6 miles roundtrip). This hike is moderate due to the unstable footing, uneven trail, a few steep climbs, and mostly, the lack of shade and burning sun. Make sure to take plenty of water and wear a hat and sunscreen, and you’ll be okay.

The trail starts straight up the ridge. Small cairns mark the way, but the trail is still a bit difficult to follow. Keep your eyes upward as you climb up, and you will see the cairns. All trails lead to the top of the ridge, but work your way to the left as you ascend. After a short climb, you get to the top of the ridge and start a long sloping hike down. Most of the hike is this gentle slope, and the trail runs for around a mile before it turns right between the ridges. Enjoy the beautiful views on this 1.0 mile section of hike. You can see for quite a ways, and the rocks are lovely. We took a lot of pictures and looked for shapes in the rocks, too.

The trail begins with a climb up these rocks.
Watch for the cairns along the way.
The climb is pretty serious, but luckily it is over soon.
Make sure to stop and admire the views once you reach the top.
There are some great rock formations.
You could see pretty far out into the distance.
The trail then crosses a large open space.
We loved the scenery on this trail and took a bunch of pictures.

At about the 1.0 mile mark, there is a steep climb in some sand. This was the worst part of the hike in our opinion. The sand made the uphill even worse. But once you push through, you are almost to Tower Arch. At the top of the sandy hill, you begin to walk through some narrow fins of rock. This offered some shady spots to sit and rest and drink water after that climb.

This is our least favorite part of the trail.
Once you get past the sand, you’re almost there.
Walking through the fins is really cool.

After you come through most of the fins, make sure to take a look to the right because there is a large, paneled arch on your right. You have to climb up to it, but there is a very narrow arch up above that is cool to stand beneath. It reminded us of Tapestry Arch. This is not Tower Arch, but a bonus arch along the way.

An extra arch to enjoy on your way to Tower Arch.

Tower Arch

Just 50 yards further along the wall, Tower Arch opens up, and it is really large. The span is 92 feet at its largest point according to park literature. Right in front of the arch is a narrow slot to walk through, which was a great way to end the hot hike. You can then climb up into the arch rather easily, but you have to back up quite a distance to get it all in a photo. We also struggled to know the reason this arch is named Tower Arch. Is it the large white tower standing high above it as you approach? Is it the smaller tower framed in the front of the arch as you look out through the back? We don’t know the answer.

Why is it called Tower Arch? What do you think?
Walking through the little slot is a fun way to end at the arch.
It is pretty easy to climb up closer.
The view back through Tower Arch is our favorite part.

After you have enjoyed Tower Arch, the trail is the same back to the parking lot. Of course, it seems a little longer since it is slightly uphill the entire way!

We love hiking in Arches National Park with our family. Here are all of the awesome family-friendly hikes we have found in Arches.

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