Moab is a popular destination and luckily it is very dog friendly. But, it can quickly become congested in town with overcrowded trials. If you’re planning a visit and want to skip the crowds in Arches National Park then the next best thing is to hike Corona Arch!
The most impressive arch outside of the National Park is hands down Corona Arch. It is a moderate hike that is kid and dog friendly, but many don’t know about or they skip out on the other arches located off Corona Arch Trail- Pinto and Bowtie.
In this post I’ll guide you through what to expect when hiking to Corona Arch as well as how to see Pinto and Bowtie Arches. At the end of this post you will understand where to go, how to maneuver the obstacles along the trail, and what gear is needed.
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Corona Arch (+Pinto & Bowtie) Hike Stats
- Hiking Distance | 3.45 miles
- Difficulty | Moderate – Difficult
- Elevation Gain | 605 feet
- Total Time | 1.5 – 2.5 hours
- Permits/Fees | None
- Trailhead | Corona Arch Trailhead
- Dog Friendly | Yes
Below is a map of the route to Corona, Pinto, and Bowtie arches.
Pinto Arch is set off the main trail which requires extra mileage and elevation, whereas Bowtie is almost right on the trail next to Corona Arch and doesn’t require any extra milage.
If you’re not interested in veering off to see Pinto Arch then your total milage will be 2.10 miles with an elevation of 396 feet which makes more of a moderate hike than difficult. The scramble up to Pinto Arch is what makes this hike more difficult. We’ll go over this more in depth, but first, let’s figure out how to get to the trailhead!
How To Get To Corona Arch Trail
Corona Arch Trailhead is a 20 minute drive from the heart of Moab. You can map directions from here or follow the directions below. Be careful if you type in ‘Corona Arch’ into Google Maps because it will take you the wrong way and confuse you. If you type it into your maps be sure to put ‘Corona Arch Trailhead’.
From Moab head North on Highway 191. It won’t be long and there will be some buildings and a road on the left side. Turn left onto UT-279, also known as Potash Road. This road winds and curves along with the Colorado River. It is absolutely stunning so enjoy the drive and be sure to stop by the sign along the way that says ‘Petroglyphs’. You can stop and veer up at a large rock panel that displays petroglyphs!
You’ll also pass a section common with rock climbers, so proceed cautiously. They’ll be right on the shoulder of Potash Road on the right side which can congest the area at times. Eventually you’ll pass some campgrounds and a sign on your right that says Corona Arch. Pull off into the dirt lot and the trailhead leads from here!
When To Hike Corona Arch
Moab is the desert and temperatures during the summer reach up to 100 degrees. Hiking under extreme sun exposure and high temperatures like that can be very dangerous. I’d refrain from hiking Corona Arch in the summer and instead visit during the more comfortable months like March-May and September-October.
During the spring and summer months the sun is still harsh but the temperatures are much cooler especially in the early morning and late evenings. Always check the daily high temperature no matter the season and try to avoid the hottest part of the day!
Sunrise and sunset are also popular times to hike to Corona Arch. Sunrise, or even just after sunrise, is probably most impressive for lighting but sunset can be nice too. I tried timing this one for sunset when I visited in the spring, however the sky had no coloring so it was pretty underwhelming. Most of my pictures in this post are from my spring trip when I arrived to hike for early morning.
Don’t forget your headlamp if you do arrive early for sunrise or late for sunset!
Preparation saves lives. Know where you are going ahead of time and always have a way to keep yourself on trail. One way to do this is with a GPS system or app like Gaia GPS.
You can download my Corona Arch hike and gain access to my library of all tracked hikes. Once downloaded, you can load it into your own trusty device for ease of mind!
Hiking To Corona Arch + Pinto and Bowtie
From the dirt parking lot Corona Arch Trail begins climbing elevation right away. It is your typical desert trail- sandy and full of rocks that you’ll need to step over or slightly scramble up. Once the initial elevation is climbed the trail plateaus for a short distance.
At this point you’ll have to weave through a wire fence and cross railroad tracks. This railroad track runs through the canyon to your right, creating a stunning yet dangerous backdrop. As tempting as it is to explore the tracks be sure to cross quickly and don’t hang around.
Corona Arch Trail continues on the other side of the tracks to climb some more elevation. It plateaus once more, narrowing down to a smaller trail full of dirt. Not far in and you’ll see a small sign on the left of the trail for Pinto Arch. You can either detour to visit this arch or continue straight to hike further to Corona Arch.
Veering left off Corona Arch Trail you’ll traverse over exposed rock sections that can be difficult to follow. In order to find your way to Pinto Arch you’ll have to rely on the green swatches painted onto the rock or follow a GPX track on your GPS device (available via. my GPX file library).
Getting to Pinto Arch was more difficult than I initially imagined. There are no technical scrambles but it is very steep! If you are not up for a difficult level hike then I suggest skipping out on Pinto Arch. My dog managed just fine and I’m sure kids will do fine too as long as they’re up for an adventure.
Once you climb up the steep rock the trail levels out and leads you back into a cove where Pinto Arch looms high above. Take your pictures and a much needed breather, then turn around and head back to the main Corona Arch Trail.
Instead of intersecting back to the exact point you you left the main trail, you can keep left and hop back on further along. Take a look at the picture of my tracked hike in the beginning of the post and you’ll see what I mean! No sense in backtracking and hiking more than needed.
The fun is about to begin! Corona Arch Trail continues further back into the wilderness and hosts a few technical spots along the way. The first being a steep climb up the side of a rock formation with the assist of carved out foot holds and a chain.
Monty managed this section without an assist and with ease. I imagine most dogs can conquer this just fine, but if not then a slight assist from behind should do the trick. Corona Arch Trail is also very popular with families and young kids. During my two separate times hiking this trail I’ve seen kids of all ages complete the climb with the help of some verbal commands from their parents.
The second technical section comes not too long after the first, and this time it involves a ladder! If you’re a dog parent don’t fret because you’re able to bypass the ladder altogether. Once you reach the ladder you can choose to either climb it or climb up the rock slope to your left. The little scramble up the slope is steep but nothing too strenuous or long. You’ll be at the top in no time!
From the ladder section you’ll continue along Corona Arch Trail and if you keep your eyes peeled you’ll eventually be able to see Corona Arch way off in the distance. As you’re nearing the main arch you’ll see Bowtie Arch in the side of the canyon wall, high up above you. You’re able to walk under it as far as you’re able to and peer up into the sky.
Bowtie Arch actually resembled Pinto Arch. I think if I saw pictures of them at separate times I wouldn’t be able to tell you which is which.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of Bowtie Arch then walk about one hundred yards further and you’ll find yourself at Corona Arch.
Prepare to be amazed because pictures just don’t do this natural formation justice. Corona Arch is much more impressive in person especially when you get close and walk underneath it.
I highly suggest walking up under it and to the other side for a little bit of a different perspective. Both sides of the arch are great- just no climbing on top of it!
Once your camera roll is full (or tired of taking pictures of the same rock formation) head back the way you came and hop into your car. There is another dog friendly arch worth visiting that you can hike on your way back to Moab.
Up Next: Hike Hike Longbow Arch- A Dog Friendly Arch In Moab
Gear For Your Hike
While Corona Arch isn’t a long and strenuous hike, there still are some pieces of gear that would help make your experience more enjoyable. Having proper gear for your hikes is essential for safety and making the most of your time!
Due to the rocky nature of this hike you’ll want a sturdy and reliable hiking shoe, not tennis shoes. Typically I hike with my Adidas Terrex in the desert, but because it was chilly I chose to wear my Salomon X Ultra 4 Mid on this one. Solid choice if you require extra ankle support!
Merino Wool Socks:
Moisture wicking socks are essential to prevent sweaty and blistery feet. They also are very warm and comfortable! I use Darn Tough Cushion Socks which are the perfect height to pair with boots and cover the heel, thus preventing blisters.
Hiking Backpack + Water Reservoir:
Any normal backpack will do, but a quality backpack like Osprey Skarab 30 with straps, support, and breathability will feel like luxury during this hike. It also holds a water reservoir which makes it easier to carry water and stay hydrated on the trail without having to stop. Now a 30L pack is probably more than what most people need on a hike like Corona Arch. I just overpack and carry my tripod so it works for me, but a smaller Camelpack with 1.5L and extra water bottles would suffice.
This one is extremely important because in the desert the sun is almost always beaming. You should always pack sunscreen with you and apply it before setting out to hike. Coola is an organic sunscreen perfect for the outdoors. A hat, sunglasses, and a lip balm are also important sun protection items to carry.
If you plan on hiking for sunrise or sunset having a headlamp is a must. It will help immensely if you can see the technical parts of this trail along the way.
If you’re looking for the proper dog gear to pack check out 11 Dog Hiking Essentials For Hiking With Dogs
Final Thoughts On Corona Arch
Monty and I have hiked Corona Arch twice now- once in the fall and once in the spring. Both times had beautiful weather and equally underwhelming sunsets. Maybe next time we’re in town we will hike it for sunrise!
It is a bummer that dogs can’t do much inside of Arches National Park, but being able to hike to arches outside of the park- like Corona Arch- all but make up for it. There is no need to bypass a trip to Moab if you have a dog with you for there is plenty to still see and do.
And quiet honestly Corona Arch doesn’t get old. The trail is short, fun, and has a high reward at the end.
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I’d Love To Hear From You!
Have you hiked Corona Arch before, or are you planning on putting it on your Moab itinerary? Share in the comments below!