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Arch Canyon, UT

Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.3 of 5 
no permit
46 4 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 8.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,986 feet
Avg Time One Way 3-8 hours
Interest Ruins & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
12  2018-04-16 Steph_and_Blake
49  2018-04-13
Nine Days - Cedar Mesa Comb Ridge (Part 2)
34  2015-04-25 big_load
Author Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 61
Photos 2,522
Trips 176 map ( 751 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, Mar, May → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Early Winter
Sun  6:00am - 6:27pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

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Located west of The Comb and near the Abajo Mountains is Arch Canyon. So named for three arches at the end of the drive/hike. The drive came highly recommended by two outdoor guides out of Blanding.

If driving, this route requires a high-clearance 4x4 vehicle and some off-road driving skills. There are at least two sections that a driver benefits from a spotter and one place (over a big tree root) that might warrant road-building. There are a couple sandy sections that one shouldn't dally in and countless stream crossings (if it's wetter than when we were there). Airing down the tires is a good decision. Be on the lookout for oncoming traffic and be mindful of areas in which you could pull over. Backing up for oncoming traffic will be slow and tight.

The one lane "road" starts out crossing the stream and then you're engulfed in 8-foot high reeds and shrubs. It's not a very compelling beginning, especially if you're concerned about unseen vehicles coming towards you from the other direction. However, not more than a half a mile into it there is a large parking area for Arch Canyon Ruins. These dwellings are particularly interesting in that they were up to 4 stories tall and they are of both Chacoan and Mesa Verde construction styles. The glyphs are also notable for many near-perfect spirals across the back of the alcove.

After leaving the Ruins, the view starts to open up and gradually builds to soaring sandstone cliffs, fins, spires, and alcoves. If you're not driving, keep scanning the right-hand side for deep recesses. You don't know what you might see! The walls are reminiscent of Canyonlands and, in particular, hiking in The Maze District.

About 5 miles in, if we're to be honest, the drive gets to be a bit tedious. As in, how much longer before we see the arches?? Eventually, it ends rather abruptly at a nice camping area amid Ponderosa Pine replete with a sturdy picnic table. From here you can see Cathedral Arch. To view the other two arches one must take to foot. We had a late-late lunch and decided to forego the hiking as we knew it would be another couple of hours to get back to the trailhead, air-up the tires, and then another hour to camp.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-04-23 Steph_and_Blake
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To 4x4 trip
    From Blanding, take UT-95 west for 14.3 miles. Turn right onto Comb Wash. Take Comb Wash for 2.4 miles. Note that you are driving almost entirely at this point on the UTE Reservation. Please respect their signage. Turn left onto County Road 229.
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Apr 22 2018 7:13 pm
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