The Ultimate Guide to Hiking the Mesa Arch Trail

One of the most photographed areas in all of Moab is the famous Mesa Arch. Hike along the Mesa Arch Trail, a gentle loop, to reach the beautiful expansive arch. Perched right along a cliff edge, this is one of the most beautiful hikes in Canyonlands National Park.

Where is the Mesa Arch Trail?

The Mesa Arch Trail is easy to access from the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park. Enter the park and travel along Grand View Point Road until you reach a pullout for Mesa Arch on the left. If you pass the Upheaval Dome Road, you’ve gone too far.

In order to access the Mesa Arch Trail, you’ll need to pay a park fee. Entrance into Canyonlands National Park is $30 for the day. Consider snagging an America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass for $85 dollars if you plan on visiting for multiple days or are headed to nearby parks.

Mesa Arch Trail Practical Info

The Mesa Arch Trail offers a short walk to reach the arch. At under a mile long round-trip, this easy hike is ideal for those who want a shorter adventure.

The best time to visit the Mesa Arch Trail is for sunrise or sunset. During the day, the small parking lot fills up quickly. As one of the most iconic sunrises in Canyonlands National Park, you’ll want to put the Mesa Arch Trail on your to-hike list. However, keep in mind, sunrise is a busy time at Mesa Arch, so be respectful and arrive early in order to find parking.

Below is an in-depth look at some of the practical information to help you enjoy your hike to Mesa Arch Trail.

Distance: 0.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 85 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Approximate Time: 45 minutes to an hour, including the time to enjoy the view.
Dogs?: No dogs

Pro Tip: The sun passes directly through the arch at sunrise, making it an ideal time of day for photographers. Since it’s crowded, arrive before dawn in order to set up your tripod.

Tips for Hiking the Mesa Arch Trail

Before you head out on the Mesa Arch Trail, keep these handy desert hiking tips in mind:

  • Bring sun protection. There is no shade on the hike.
  • Stay on the trail. Overall, the trail is well-marked, but don’t wander off. It upsets the natural ecosystem.
  • Pack plenty of water and salty snacks. Even a short hike under the hot desert sun can leave you parched and dehydrated.
  • Wear sturdy footwear. This hike goes over sand and slick rock so you’ll want some sturdy hiking shoes to make the journey.

Nearby Activities

Planning to spend the day at the Island in the Sky district? Check out these nearby attractions:

Now you’re ready to enjoy the jaw-dropping views along the Mesa Arch Trail. Be sure to snap some photos for us!