Last week, I mentioned that after the amazing scenery at Thompson Viewing Area, we went on to hike our favourite trail of all time. But… I didn’t share much of anything about that trail, and sort of left you guys hanging. Oops!
Fret not; I will not play the devil this week! Behold, Corona Arches, the trail of all trails.
Corona Arches is not a part of the Arches National Park; it is roughly 10 or so miles west of Arches National Park and attracts a completely different crowd: the true adventurers.
From the very start, the road to Corona Arches was promising. On the way there, the Colorado River stood proud on the left, while climbers took to the rocky inclines on the right.
As we continued onwards, we then came across camp sites — the closest of which was just across the park itself.
Hiking to the Trail
The trail started out easy enough, despite being uphill, with a lovely view of the parking lot we had just left behind.
However, it wasn’t long before we came to flat land, and could take a moment to really enjoy the view of the desert juxtaposed against the mighty Colorado River
Just behind us were train tracks we had to cross to get to the trail entrance. Much as we would have loved to, we never got to see a train flying by. It did, however, give us the opportunity to explore the tracks a little, though naturally, we didn’t venture too far away from safety.
Starting the Trail
The trail then started with this strange entrance gate. Gods forbid any large number of people were trying to stampede in or out at any given time; it would not work. Thankfully, no such misfortune presented itself, while we were there.
It was another uphill climb after this, though not for long. It called for sure-feet and scrambling over rocks, but we made it up safely.
The Middle Ground
Once over the rocky hill, we came to a flat area between where we had come from, and the rocky incline we would need to climb over up ahead. Unlike our beloved Arches, this trail was clearly marked. Of course, the desert sand covered the markings here and there, but the painted green lines marked the way.
Though we were technically in flat area, it was bordered by large, rocky mountains and hills to our left. I had never seen anything like it before. To call it beautiful would be an understatement.
We did lose the trail for a bit, but the sound of voices soon brought us right back on track. This is a very busy trail, so you can expect to run into a lot of people along the way. If you can’t follow the voices, keep left and you’ll get there.
Back to the Rocks
Once back on the trails, there were two ways forward. You could walk around, like I did, or you could make your way alongside the rocks, as these hikers did.
Either way would bring you to this graveyard of balanced rocks, or cairns, which seem to be a common way to mark the trails out west.
Shortly after this, we finally spotted the arches we had come so far to see!
Plot Twist: It was not the best view we got, even though it was covered in people. At the time, we didn’t know that was Bowtie to the left and Corona to the right. We figured it out once we got over there.
The trick was, actually getting there. It’s almost impossible to tell from this photo, but I was about five feet from the ravine, when I took this. It was a good 50 – 100 feet down. Naturally, I didn’t stand there long enough to give any accurate measurements!
Up the Incline
To my left, death awaited me, or so it seemed at the time. This was about 10 – 15 feet up, and there was no safety net at the bottom to catch you if you slipped and fell. And by the way, you would slip and fall onto rock, which was about four feet away from this lovely view. Gods forbid, you fell and rolled.
Even so, there were little cubby holes in the mountainside, and with the metal wiring it was pretty easy to get up. We saw four-year-olds scramble up with no issues, though their parents watched with obvious anxiety. Tristan made it up without the rail at all.
As if that wasn’t enough for us, at the top of that was this lovely ladder. You will notice the ground slopes to the right, so this is another instance where falling and rolling would be a bad idea. Nevertheless, it was an easy climb up.
We were then immediately rewarded with this view for our pains. And yes, I am standing next to the edge of that rocky ravine again. Unfortunately, there was no avoiding it. To get to the arches on the other side, you were always within about 3 – 8 feet from the edge. It sounds dangerous, and looks dangerous, but the rocks were dry and provided plenty of friction.
We Arrived Alive!
As you can see, Bowtie and Corona Arches are almost right next to each other, so no use detailing that part of the hike. Instead, here are the pictures.
My Corona Bae
Those holes were to the right of Corona Arch. Looks like a face to me. He’s totally trying to tell us something: probably that climate change isn’t fake news.
Heading Back Down
We came; we saw; we did not die. So, the hike back down was mostly selfie-shenanigans and checking out the view from some of the higher rocks. Enjoy.
But what’s a favourite trail without a review? Check out our thoughts on Bowtie and Corona Arches below. Thanks for reading!