Canyonlands National Park

Hike of the Week: Mesa Arch Trail, Moab, UT

Get a new perspective on an iconic view when you look through Canyonlands National Park's famous Mesa Arch in winter.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: .7 mile (loop)
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: 1 out of 5


Spring and fall are considered prime time in this desert park, but if solitude is what you’re after, winter takes the prize. Just chew on the stats: Canyonlands draws fewer than 10,000 visitors in January. In May? More than 100,000. It snows here in winter, but not too often, and daytime highs hover around 40°F. And if you catch the morning sun as it seeps through Mesa Arch, illuminating the sandstone maze of the Island in the Sky District1,300 feet below, we’re confident it will give you a very, very warm feeling.

See for yourself on the easy, .7-mile Mesa Arch Trail this month. From the eponymous parking lot (38.3892, -109.8681), do the loop counterclockwise, beginning by heading south. Reach Mesa Arch at the midway point, then pick out the spindles of the Washer Woman formation and let it whet your appetite for an extended trip in the Gooseberry-Lathrop Zone beyond Buck Canyon. Winter is calling.

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