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A whale in the desert??
Overview: This is a description of a hike you can do in your car withOUT ripping the oil pan off in the middle of the desert. If you have a high clearance vehicle you can likely drive 80% of this hike.
Warning: I attempted to drive the 4x4 road in my car and didn't get far. I wouldn't recommend you attempt it in yours. I seriously doubt that a rental could get there either, it's just too rough a road for a low clearance sedan. The first half mile is really the toughest
Hike: From the balanced rock parking area, drive the unadvertised dirt/gravel road across the road as it heads west approximately 0.5 miles past some park buildings/utilities and reaches an intersection. There is a sign here that reads something like: Only 4WD vehicles recommended past this point! For the road to eye of the whale arch, they really mean it! Attempt to park here, keeping out of the way of any vehicles that will be using the road. There are currently no "no parking signs" in the area so as long as you are courtious and do not affect people using the road hopefully you can park here instead of back at the balanced rock parking area.
Get out of your car and hike the road that heads north. It climbs over a ridge near a barbed wire fence and heads west. You will hike about 1.8 miles of road each way to the signed TH for eye of the whale arch. Once at the sign, follow the previous footsteps to the obvious arch. The daring can climb up and through the arch to look at it from the other side. There are rumors of dinosaur tracks embedded in the slickrock in the area, but I was not able to locate them.
This was a rather peaceful hike as only one jeep was driving the road or in the area and none of the tourists seem to know about it as there are no signs for the road. Other than the fact that you are walking a road, it's not a bad hike. The road is easy to follow and the arch and TH are easy to spot. This may be one of those things you save for after you've done all the other stuff in the park, or else do it if you get sick of shuffling around with Gomer and all the other slackjawed tourists and want to feel a little bit of solitude again.
Camping: not allowed in Arches
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