Utah packs fantastic hikes and walks through its many national parks and treasures, so it’s easy to take a good walk in Utah. As I mentioned before, sometimes the walk isn’t so much about the scenery, but how you connect as you walk. For this walk, not only was it about the scrumptious views, but it was also about how I felt while I did this hike on my own, the Corona Arch hike in Moab, Utah.
This hike is not in one of the National Parks in Moab, Utah. I’m not sure why–it’s a high quality and well-maintained hike. The Corona Arch can be accessed via a 1.5-mile hiking trail from Utah State Route 279. You’ll find signs along Route 279 leading to a parking lot across from the Colorado River. Pack on at least a half gallon of water, tighten your boot laces, and head straight up the trail.
The beginning of the trail takes you along pea gravel, and then the trail opens up to a rock plateau you’ll cross. The trail markers point you in the direction. But these aren’t normal trail makers–you’ll actually watch for small piles of rocks called cairns. They dot the landscape and mark where you’ll walk. Keep your eyes on the next cairn, as it’s easy to get off the trail.
About half way to the Corona Arch, you’ll come around a corner and see more cairns than you’ve ever seen in your life. I don’t know if one person spent the day setting these all up, or if each hiker has personalized her own set. I took a break and built my own cairn. Convinced I knew which one was mine, I had no idea how to find it on my return trip.
The hike ends up taking you around the end of a rounded canyon. First, you must climb up a well-bolted ladder and then SpiderMan yourself around the side of the canyon. You’ll also use a set of cables to manage your walk around the edge of the canyon to the to the Arch. Take a deep breath and just do it.
Finally, after about an hour, you’ll arrive at the Corona Arch. Like all the other arches in Arches National Park, the beauty will steal your breath. But unlike the more crowded National Park, you’ll get your own private viewing. Yes, there are enough people on this hike to be available in case you need help, but there aren’t too many that it spoils your private experience. For me, I even got the chance to mediate under the Corona while facing the canyon.
After eating my lunch and resting my legs, I journeyed back the same way whence I came. The views on the return were as stunning as the trip out. I did this hike on July 4, 2014. This Independence Day, I am recalling this hike as a moment that I really started to use walking as my platform for connecting with others and myself. This is why I pick my hike out to Corona Arch as my best walk in Utah.