Hiking the Fiery Furnace and Surprise Arch

If you would like a good hiking challenge, you’ve got to check out the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park. This winding, twisting, rocky hiking trail squeezes through a maze of rock formations, slot canyons, and other burly obstacles. Be ready to use your hands for this challenging hike.

Where is the Fiery Furnace?

You’ll find the trailhead along the main road through Arches, just past the Salt Valley Overlook on the right side of the road. However, you’ll need to stop by the permit office at the Arches Visitor Center or reserve your spot in advance for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Is the Fiery Furnace in Arches Difficult?

The Fiery Furnace is a 1.7-mile loop hiking trail located in a sea of rock pinnacles also called hoodoos. Despite the low mileage, this is a surprisingly challenging hike that makes for a fun and adventurous desert hike.

Expect to scramble, or climb using your hands across dangerous features in order to complete the Fiery Furnace hike. You’ll be climbing through squeezes of rock, using stemming techniques (where you push on opposite sides of a rock wall with your feet), and even have to jump in a few spots. Children under the age of 5 are not allowed on the trail.

If you’re well-versed in canyoneering, hiking through slot canyons, or rock climbing, this trail isn’t too demanding. However, the route is sometimes confusing so be sure to do your homework and research the route in advance. Expect to put your skills to the test.

The entire loop leads you to Surprise Arch, a lovely rock arch that’s worth the fun and effort to reach.

Pro Tip: Sandstone is rough on your skin (and clothing). Consider wearing pants or a long sleeve shirt you don’t mind getting torn up. Closed-toed shoes are a must. You’ll also want to bring plenty of water, it gets hot and the rocks get hot throughout the day, they don’t call it the Fiery Furnace for nothing!

Getting a Permit for the Fiery Furnace

You are not allowed to hike the Fiery Furnace in Arches without a permit or a ranger guide. Those who understand scrambling rocks and navigating rocky desert terrain can obtain a hiking permit in person at the Arches Visitor Center from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Ranger-Led Hikes at the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park

If you’re new to the wonderful world of scrambling sandstone, you can opt to go on a ranger-led hike through the Fiery Furnace. This is the ideal choice for beginners who want to test their skills. You can opt for an out-and-back hike or a full-loop adventure.

Along the way, rangers will help you learn the skills you need to navigate the terrain as well as give you valuable insight into the ecology, geology, and history of the area. The cost varies depending on which hike you choose, but both are well worth the effort.

With a little bit of planning you can easily enjoy one of Arches National Park’s best hikes. The Fiery Furnace is a unique hiking trail where you’re guaranteed to use your hands. So squirm your way through this fantastic landscape on your next visit to Moab.