Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park: Address, Phone Number, Mesa Arch Reviews: 5/5

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Visit this mesa at sunrise for the best scencic views.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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AlpinerHut
Chantilly, VA1,226 contributions
My memory of this magical arch is marred by something else I saw: a man walking on top of it, risking a 1,300-foot fall if he tripped, slipped or got blown canyonward by a gust of wind.

Part of what makes Mesa Arch so special is its location: on the edge of a cliff. That, of course, is also what makes it dangerous: crowds of people moving in close quarters around and under the arch, often focused more on taking a picture than on watching where they step.

The other thing that makes this arch special: the way the rising sun makes the underside of the arch glow bright orange.

I'd rate this the second-best stop in the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, the best being Grand View Point Overlook (see my review, "Top attraction in Island in the Sky district").

TIPS:

* Sunrise here is reportedly special, but even arriving at midmorning you'll still get that glowing underside of the arch on a sunny day.

* The trickiest part of the half-mile (roundtrip) hike to get to the arch is not losing the trail, which seems to come and go. Follow the crowds or, failing that, look for the piles of rocks which serve as trail markers.
Written November 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

BruinDan
Fullerton, CA2,360 contributions
Of all the vistas, sights and formations in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, none is more famous than Mesa Arch. For many visitors, the arch is their first stop. Is it worth it? Absolutely -- it’s popular for good reason.

From the Island in the Sky Visitor Center, drive south for 6.3 mi/10.1 km and turn left into the parking area for Mesa Arch (if you reach the intersection with Upheaval Dome Road, you’ve gone too far). The trail to the arch is 0.5 mi/0.8 km with an elevation gain of 75 ft/23 m, and it is appropriate for most ages and fitness levels. There are vault toilets at the parking lot.

The trailhead begins at the parking lot. After a brief ascent, the trail comes to a fork (or “Y”); you can take either path and it will take you to the arch. As you approach the edge of the mesa, you’ll get your first glimpse of the arch. When you get to the end of the trail, you’ll find yourself at the top of a 500 ft/152 m cliff staring in awe at a 50 ft/15.2 m long arch. As you step closer and look through the arch, you’ll see how it perfectly frames the view of the canyon below.

NOTE that Mesa Arch is an extremely popular spot for photographers at sunrise trying to catch the sun rising through the arch and lighting up the inside of the arch with a warm glow. Even if you aren’t the sunrise type, you should still see Mesa Arch in the early morning. We arrived at the end of the trail a little before 9:00 am and were able to see the inside of the arch glowing with the morning light. It’s a remarkable sight and well worth the early wake-up alarm.
Written November 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ashar G
Houston, TX323 contributions
Easy Hike. Different view at Sunrise and PM. Greater crowds before sunrise. It rained on the day we went so didnt get the money shot but people left right after sunrise so then it was empry with light rain and clouds.
Written July 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LSUTraveller
Denham Springs, LA1,738 contributions
One of the finest sunrise moments in a National Park, second only to sunrise at Haleakala N.P. Be sure you adjust for the hour drive in off Hwy 191 and get to Mesa about 30 min before sunrise to get a good spot. The sun coming up on the cliff face is incredible, and don't miss the colors on the illuminated rocks on the cliff face. It's an easy hike but parking may get limited.
Written January 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Kumi M
Palo Alto, CA1,465 contributions
This one will require a small hike to get to. The path is easy enough and you can take your time. One side goes in and an adjacent route will bring you back.

The parking lot isn’t very big though - not when it comes to popular hours it seems. And we tried to visit for the sunrise, like almost everyone else in the park that pre-dawn morning. I think we took one of the last available spots. We rushed the hike a bit and when we got to the open rocky area we saw plenty of others roaming around or strategically placed in spots in front of the arch with their camera equipment all set up, anticipating the sunrise.

If you thought you were going to get a pristine shot of the sunrise and the arch, think again. Chances are you’ll have someone else’s equipment and/or backside featured in your photo!
Show up earlier than you think to get that perfect spot (and hope someone else won’t set up their tripod right in front if you!

On either side of the arch are amazing views too. Don’t miss those. Scramble/walk up the rocks and look down and into the distance. If you’re afraid of heights, maybe skip the looking down part.

The morning we arrived, the sunrise wasn’t as exhilarating as the images we’d seen prior to our Canyonlands visit. The weather wasn’t cool and a slight haze in the air just kept the sky a bit subdued The sun did come up and added some nice color to everything it touched though!
Written October 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

NatParkLove
Peoria, IL1,679 contributions
If you're OK not getting the "sunrise shot" of the sun through the arch, show up just after. There can be 50+ photographers waiting for sunrise at the arch. In July, we showed up to the trail around 7 AM and the last of the photographers was leaving. We had Mesa Arch all to ourselves!

This is a short loop hike and it will be hot mid-day so that's another reason to go early. Before you know it, you are at the arch. Make sure to go up to the opening to see the breathtaking view of the park beyond. This was honestly my favorite view of the entire trip.

One word of advice: the vault toilets were closed for construction and the port-o-potties in the lot were absolutely disgusting. You can tell they hadn't been cleaned out in days. Yuck! So I would plan to use the restroom elsewhere in this park.
Written July 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

FjordFan
Milwaukee122 contributions
Family
We came here for a late October sunrise, it had snowed the night before and was bitter cold in the morning (wind chills near zero). Yes we were very cold, but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. The views were stunning, and seeing Canyonlands covered in snow added to the experience. You do have to maneuver around all the professional photographers who get there early to snag the best locations for photos, but you can still get some magical shots of your own.
Written November 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TravelingSoccerLoon
Saint Paul, MN1,570 contributions
Pretty cool to see. Not really a hike but a short walk. Makes for a good photo op. Easy to get to the Arch from the trailhead but this also means it is heavily visited. Views at sunrise are told to be spectacular
Written March 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Zemin H
Atlanta, GA199 contributions
Family
Canyonlands NP is pretty famous for its sunrise, Windows 7 wallpaper of Mesa Arch sunrise was shot here, since then photography enthusiasts flocked to the arch. But to watch the sunrise is a happy chore. The beautiful sunrise is usually on the mountain or on the seashore.

When I reached at Mesa Arch before dawn, I realized that the shooting location was already very cramped. At sunrise, the stone beams are dyed golden, and in the distance are mountains, forests, cliffs and snow mountains, which are really stunningly beautiful.
Written October 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TravelerCentralFLA
Clermont, FL1,038 contributions
Mesa Arch is one of the most iconic and photographed parts of Canyonlands National Park. Sunrise at the Arch is famous, but you have to get on the trail early to catch the sunrise. The view is beautiful through the arch out overlooking the canyon below. The hike to Mesa Arch is not difficult and is interesting in itself. Do keep in mind that on the other side of Mesa Arch there is a steep drop off. Be aware of your surroundings and where you are stepping. The National Parks are not amusement parks and they don't have built in safety standards. You are responsible to be aware of your surroundings and to keep yourself safe. Having said that it is not dangerous if you are aware and behave wisely. I highly recommend a visit to Mesa Arch.
Written May 23, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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