Want to hike the Corona Arch Trail in Moab? In this guide we share everything you need to know before hitting the trail, including when to hike, unique features, and our experience!
While our two months in Southern Utah were mostly focused on visiting the Mighty 5 national parks, some of our favorite memories were actually from outside of the national parks. We found that these spots were just as beautiful and impressive, but less crowded and dog friendly, which is a huge perk, as we travel with our pup Kona!
And one of the highlights of our non-national park adventures was Corona Arch, a crazy arch located in Moab, but outside of the famous Arches National Park. We spent our final morning in Utah hiking to this arch, plus the other arches along the trail, and it was the perfect end to our time in the area.
Watch our experience hiking to Corona Arch!
In this guide we’re sharing everything you need to know to hike the Corona Arch trail including information about the trail and its arches, the obstacles along the way, how to possibly have it all to yourselves like we did, and our experience!
Looking for more things to do in Moab and the national parks?
- 10 Day Utah National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
- The Best Things to do in Moab (+ where to stay & eat!)
- Things to do in Arches National Park
- The Best Things to do in the Needles District at Canyonlands National Park
- Visiting Island in the Sky at Canyonlands National Park
- All of our Utah Guides
- All of our Utah Vlogs
Before embarking on your adventure, please review the Leave No Trace principles to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come!
These seven principles include planning ahead and preparing, hiking and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly (pack out what you pack in!), understanding campfire rules and always fully extinguishing your fires, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors.
- About the Corona Arch Trail
- Corona Arch Trail Stats
- Unique features along the Corona Arch Trail
- Where is the Corona Arch Trail?
- When to hike the Corona Arch Trail
- What to Bring on the Corona Arch Trail
- Other things to know before visiting the Corona Arch Trail
- Our experience hiking to Corona Arch Trail
- Where to eat after hiking the Corona Arch Trail
- Looking for more things to do near the Corona Arch Trail?
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About the Corona Arch Trail
One of the best trails in Moab for most ability levels is the Corona Arch Trail. This fun hike takes you across railroad tracks, up cables and a ladder, and across sandstone to the impressive Corona Arch, which is one of the largest arch spans of Navajo sandstone outside of Arches National Park at 140 feet wide by 105 feet tall.
But the best part? Not only do you get to experience the Corona Arch along this hike, but two other arches as well, Bowtie and Pinto! With three arches, relatively low mileage, unique features to keep things exciting, and views along the trail, this hike is an amazing bang for your buck when in the Moab area!
Corona Arch Trail Stats
According to AllTrails, the trail is roughly 2.4 miles, but if you throw in a visit to Pinto Arch, it will add about another mile bringing you closer to 3.5 miles. The Corona Arch Trail has little elevation gain, at only 482 feet, and in our opinion, it felt pretty easy and flat, minus the stretch to Pinto Arch, which was more uphill.
We felt that this hike would be doable for most ages, including kids, as long as you (and they) are comfortable with hiking on and up slickrock, climbing a ladder, and being close to edges at times. The trail doesn’t have any scary, narrow sections, but both on the way to the arch and at the arch, there are some areas where you’re walking on slanted sandstone that eventually does drop off.
As for navigating, the trail is marked pretty well, with cairns and some signage, but having the offline AllTrails map was helpful for us, especially since we started the hike in the dark.
Unique features along the Corona Arch Trail
As we mentioned above, there are some unique features along this trail that you should be aware of before attempting.
Right towards the beginning of the trail you will need to cross railroad tracks to continue on. We thought this was such a fun aspect of the hike, as the railroad tracks themselves are pretty scenic, going through a little canyon on your right side.
There are plenty of warning signs near this area, but please be careful and keep an eye (and ear) out for trains. We didn’t see any trains (it would be VERY cool to watch one go by!), but if you do hear or see one, let it pass before attempting to cross.
There are two cable sections along this hike. The first is around 0.7 miles in and is a steeper section of sandstone that you have to go across. We personally didn’t find the cable to be needed here, as we felt we had enough space to walk across on our own and we went on a very dry day. But if the sandstone is wet and very slick, these cables would be super helpful.
The second section of cables is around 0.8-0.85 miles, just a short walk from the first section. This section is very steep sandstone that you have to go up and the cables are extremely helpful here. Since we had the trail to ourselves, this part wasn’t hard by any means, since we could take our time, but it definitely did require some careful steps. If the trail is busy, two way traffic would be hard here and we’d highly recommend having people take turns.
The final obstacle along the trail is a ladder, which has five rungs and takes you up a part of sandstone that wouldn’t be climbable without the ladder. We thought that the ladder was easy to climb and was a ton of fun! However, this part can be tough if you have a dog with you and we’ll share how we avoided it in the “our experience” section of this guide.
Where is the Corona Arch Trail?
You were likely drawn to Moab, Utah for the national parks, but if you have a little extra time to see a few more arches outside of the parks, then the Corona Arch is a perfect addition!
The trailhead is located about 20 minutes from the heart of Moab and is very easy to get to, with a paved, accessible road for all vehicle types. Being close to town and with its shorter mileage, you will still have plenty of time to explore more of the area afterwards!
When to hike the Corona Arch Trail
There are a few things to consider when deciding when to hike to Corona Arch, the season and the time of day.
What season is best?
You can hike out to the Corona Arch year round, but the best time of year would be the spring or fall when the weather is milder. We hiked at the beginning of May and the early morning temperature was perfect! One thing to keep in mind during the spring is spring break. The Moab area gets insanely busy for holidays, like Spring Break and Memorial Day, which could impact your experience.
The summers in Moab get VERY hot, with 100+ degrees being very common. And with no shade on the trail, it would be pretty tough to hike in the heat. If you happen to be visiting in the summer, we’d highly suggest starting as early as possible and make sure to pack lots of water!
Winter can be a great time to visit the area to avoid crowds, but it can also be rainy, snowy, and icy, which could make the trail difficult or potentially impassable. But if the conditions are okay, this would be a peaceful time to hike the trail.
What time of day is best?
As for time of day, the arch is said to be best photographed in the late afternoon, but if you want to beat the crowds, sunrise or sunset would be the way to go.
We hiked this trail on a Sunday morning at sunrise, starting in the dark, and we didn’t see anyone on the trail until we were hiking back from Pinto Arch. We did start to see people heading to the arch while we were on the side trail to Pinto Arch, but we had Corona Arch totally to ourselves, which was amazing!
After seeing how crazy busy Moab was during our visit, we were not expecting solitude on this trail, especially on a Sunday, so this was the BEST surprise! We’d highly recommend hiking to Corona Arch at sunrise for this reason. Seeing the trail light up with the sunrise was a beautiful perk too!
What to Bring on the Corona Arch Trail
As always, we recommend having the 10 essentials on you when venturing into nature, but here are a few key items we want to point out that will especially help you during your visit!
The Corona Arch Trail includes hiking on a lot of slick sandstone, so you’ll want to have a sturdy shoe with good grip. We almost always wear our Lowa Renegades (Kathryn) and Altra Superiors (Adam), but also love our Chacos, which are great hiking sandals for the warmer months and for sandy and smooth rock terrain.
Make sure to pack warmer clothes! If you go in the spring or fall, temperatures in the high desert can swing up to 40 degrees in one day! At the end of April, we typically wore a jacket or pullover in the mornings and then shirts and tank tops by the mid afternoon.
It is very sunny in Southern Utah, so sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are a must! We have been using Bare Republic, which is a “better for you” sunscreen, although it may give you a nice white, vampire-esque sheen.
No matter what you’re doing and what time of year, be sure to bring and drink plenty of water. Even in the winter you can become dehydrated quickly in the desert and mountains. The air is super dry and our throats and noses were not fans!
We love our Camelbak bladder for hikes because it stores a ton of water and it’s easy to drink from while moving.
We’d highly recommend downloading the AllTrails map before you go. While the trail is easy to follow, we like to use the map to track our progress along the trail. You will need an AllTrails Pro membership to download maps, which is $30 a year and so worth it!
Other things to know before visiting the Corona Arch Trail
Before hitting the trail, there are a few more things to know to make sure you’re prepared and have a safe and enjoyable hike.
Dogs Are Allowed
Unlike the national parks, your furry friend gets to see these arches with you! There are some sections that could be hard for a dog and we will share a bit more in the next section about how we navigated these areas with Kona.
This area is also a lambing area for bighorn sheep (we saw a few!), so please keep your dog on a leash so it does not disturb any wildlife (or other hikers and dogs on the trail).
We highly recommend starting early for this hike to beat the crowds and beat the heat! We started in the dark, close to sunrise, and had the entire arch to ourselves! While we can’t guarantee you’ll have it to yourselves if you start at sunrise, your chances are MUCH higher than mid-day!
Parking & Restrooms
There is a free gravel parking lot that fits a large amount of cars. We can imagine this lot fills up on the weekends and during holidays. There are also pit toilets at the trailhead in case you need to go to the restroom before you hike.
There is no fee to park or hike the Corona Arch Trail!
Our experience hiking to Corona Arch Trail
While we hope we’ve shared most of what you need to know to hike to Corona Arch, here’s a little recap of our experience so you can get more insight into what the trail is like. You can also watch our experience. Since we started in the dark, some photos from the beginning of the trail were taken on the way back, once the sun was up.
After finishing exploring all of Utah’s national parks, we decided to spend a couple days in Moab exploring the areas outside of the parks so Kona could experience it too. And on our final morning, we headed to the Corona Arch Trail very early to hike this popular dog-friendly hike.
We arrived at the parking lot in the dark, parked the van, turned on our headlamps, and hit the trail. The trail begins at the right side of the parking lot and starts with a short climb up a couple switchbacks before reaching the first fun feature of the trail, the railroad tracks.
We crossed the tracks easily, as no trains were running that early, and continued through the trail. While there is some incline, it wasn’t too strenuous and we were able to hike pretty quickly, even in the dark.
About a half mile into the trail we reached a turnoff for Pinto Arch, which is a great side trip to make if you want to see more arches. But since we were hoping to experience Corona Arch without many people, we saved this offshoot for our return trip.
As we continued on the trail, we reached the first cable area that we mentioned above. While we personally didn’t feel like we needed the cables, if slick surfaces and slight drop offs make you nervous, or if it’s wet out, you’ll appreciate having these!
Right after the cables, we rounded a corner and were greeted with views of Corona Arch off in the distance, as well as the surrounding rocks. It was SO beautiful as the sun was starting to rise! We love how Southern Utah looks at sunrise. Even if a hike isn’t a sunrise destination, like Mesa Arch at Canyonlands or Canyon Overlook at Zion, the color of the rocks just look so beautiful in the early morning light.
Just a few steps from the first set of cables is the second set, which in our opinion, these cables are needed, as you’ll have to climb a steep section of slickrock. There are a few notches for your feet, but we relied on the cables to help us.
If you have a dog with you, this section could be tricky. We call Kona our little mountain goat, as she loves to climb up things, so she kind of just ran up the slickrock, but some dogs may have a harder time.
Right after this second set of cables, we reached the ladder, which is the final fun obstacle before getting close to the Corona Arch. This ladder has 5 rungs and is very easy for humans, but would be tough for a dog. We were kind of worried about this part, but had read beforehand that there was a way around it. Thankfully what we read was right!
To the left of the ladder is more sloped slickrock that looks steep, but Kona and Adam raced up it no problem and were able to avoid the ladder this way. So if you’re bringing your dog or you don’t want to climb the ladder there is another option for you!
Once at the top of the ladder section, we were just a short walk from Bowtie Arch, which is unique in its own right because it is a pothole arch, which is an arch that erodes from the top and merges with an alcove or cave below it. It was really cool!
From here it is a smooth, quick, and easy hike to the base of Corona Arch. The arch is SO impressive and was one of our favorites in Utah. While it’s not 100% freestanding like Delicate Arch, as its left side is attached to a sandstone cliff, the opening is HUGE! And the views around it are gorgeous.
Since we had it to ourselves, we spent a good amount of time just enjoying the arch’s beauty. In fact, Adam decided to lay down underneath it and take a quick power nap. We could’ve hung out at this arch for a while, but we still had one more arch we wanted to see…Pinto arch!
To get to Pinto Arch, we backtracked on the trail and along the way we saw a few bighorn sheep, which was crazy cool! The trail to Pinto Arch is about 0.5 miles from the trailhead and in our opinion, was the steepest part of the hike, as you have to climb up sandstone to get to the arch, which is on a shelf and higher than the trail.
The incline wasn’t too difficult though and along the way there are amazing views of the Colorado River. The arch, which is kind of like a pothole arch, is tucked into a small alcove, and is pretty spectacular to stand under!
After admiring the Pinto Arch, we headed back to the trailhead, which was busier than when we started, but still not packed. So even if you cannot start before sunrise, you will still have some solitude as long as you start pretty early!
Where to eat after hiking the Corona Arch Trail
If you’re looking for great food after your hike, you’ve got heaps of options nearby! Here are some of our favorite places to eat in Moab:
- Moab Garage Co. for coffee and breakfast items! (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
- Doughbird for unique doughnuts and amazing hot chicken sandwiches. The donuts start to sell out early, so come early for your pick of flavors, and they only serve chicken from 11 AM-2 PM. (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
- Antica Forma for Neapolitan style pizza
- Quesadilla Mobilla for delicious, homemade quesadillas (closed Mondays)
- Thai Bella for Thai food! We love their Panang Curry and Khao Soi! (Only open for dinner & closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
Looking for more things to do near the Corona Arch Trail?
In our best things to do in Moab guide, we share more things to do in Moab, including other spots outside of the national parks, as well as places to stay! We also have guides for the Moab area national parks: Arches National Park, Canyonlands Island in the Sky, and Canyonlands Needles District.
Ready to hike the Corona Arch Trail?
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