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Druid Arch

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 4.9 (37) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

An enjoyable out-and-back to the spectacular Druid Arch.


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Map Key

10.2

Miles

16.4

KM

Out and Back

5,754' 1,754 m

High

5,170' 1,576 m

Low

1,018' 310 m

Up

1,016' 310 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

30%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views

Family Friendly Lots of scrambling and beautiful scenery, even if you don't make it far.

Overview

This trail is mostly on sandstone and sandy trail following ancient gulches. There will be a little scrambling up and over ledges, so be prepared. You'll enjoy amazing views of sandstone formations within the gulches all along the way. Spring and fall are the best times to conquer this trail. No matter the season, be sure to bring plenty of water, as there is none to be had once you've started.

Reaching the arch itself is a bit tricky and is not for the faint of heart as you have to climb up and over some very steep terrain and up a steep and slippery crevasse. Many do not make it the last 200 yards to actually see the arch due to this terrain. It is well worth the effort and is a mind over matter thing. Just watch your step. Camping permits are available for those wishing to extend their experience.

Description

Start at the Elephant Rock parking area where 4x4's head off into the canyons. You'll park here and this is a good time to utilize the bathroom facilities and make sure you have plenty of water and snacks.

From the start, the trail heads up into the sandstone and trees before gradually leveling out and following the top section of a sandstone formation. From here, you'll enjoy open gulches and spectacular views. The trail weaves around the formations and eventually heads down into one of the many gulches.

Navigation can be tricky, as there are many directions to take. Be sure you read the signage and head towards Druid Arch, if that is your destination. There are a few established campsites along the way, up along the edges of the gulches, and they require a permit for use.

The gulch will gradually wind its way around many formations and possibly some puddles if it's rained recently. Be sure to look up and around as you go, taking in all the area has to offer. As you're heading up the gulch, it seems to narrow quickly after the 4.5 mile mark. Look for the trail to leave the gulch and head up onto the ledge to your left. If you miss the turn, you'll quickly run out of gulch and be forced to backtrack, so it's not a great loss.

The trail now runs along the ledge and has some step scrambles. Remember, going up is easy, it's the coming down that can be difficult! If you are wearing a pack, be sure to watch your body positioning in areas, so you don't get hung up or knock yourself off the ledge altogether.

The trail gradually opens back up into a box canyon with very steep sides and no way out. Here, you can go up to your left and climb a steel ladder that will take you up a steep runoff to the arch itself, or you can continue to your right where you'll catch a view of the arch after a little scrambling. If you take the right fork, you won't be able to reach the arch itself.

It's a good trail for all types, and the route is family-friendly for older kids. Keep an eye on each other and be safe.

Contacts

Shared By:

Kathleen Gardner with improvements by Mike S

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 37 votes

#1

in The Needles

#213

Overall
  4.9 from 37 votes
5 Star
86%
4 Star
14%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in The Needles

#22

in Utah

#213

Overall
43 Views Last Month
6,786 Since Dec 15, 2015
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Photos

Druid Arch - Canyonlands NP
Feb 3, 2016 near Monticello, UT
Beautiful views shortly before the final ascent to Druid Arch.
Apr 22, 2017 near Monticello, UT
Stop to take in the beautiful scenery along Elephant Canyon.
Feb 18, 2017 near Monticello, UT
Druid Arch, as seen from the trail of the same name.
Dec 15, 2015 near Monticello, UT
Enjoying the beautiful views in Elephant Canyon
Sep 15, 2017 near Monticello, UT
Junction Butte and Grand View Point framed by Elephant Canyon
Jun 9, 2020 near Monticello, UT

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Check-Ins

May 13, 2021
Hiking girl Villines
Apr 25, 2021
Christine Charron
10.5mi — 5h 45m
Apr 10, 2021
Shawn Breaux
6h 20m
Mar 10, 2021
Kristen Duncan
Jan 1, 2021
Wayne .
We arrived at the trailhead around 1pm, and the main lot was full, so we parked at the overflow lot. The conditions were sunny, no clouds and arou… 12.1mi — 4h 25m
Nov 25, 2020
Daylene York
11.5mi
Nov 24, 2020
Jeff N
Combined with Chester Loop for a long day - 19 miles total. 6.6mi
Nov 22, 2020
Marc Corona