Length: 5.2 miles round trip
Description: Tower Arch is a large, secluded arch up in the northwest end of Arches National Park, hidden behind the Klondike Bluffs. The arch is less than half a mile from the park border. The trail is only 2.5 miles long, and gains just over 100 feet in elevation, but the constant up-and-down means that hikers will actually climb quite a bit more than the elevation suggests. This is a hike that is out in the middle of nowhere as far as the park goes, with light traffic; it is suggested that visitors bring plenty of water.
An alternative to going back the way that they came in, hikers can continue down the Tower Arch Trail, 1/3 of a mile past the arch itself. The trail swings south after exiting the sandstone fins, and joins the Tower Arch Road—the first road heading into the Klondike Bluffs from the east on the Salt Valley Road—a four-wheeling road that completes the 6-mile Tower Arch loop.
The trailhead is located at the end of the mile-long Klondike Bluffs Road on the Salt Valley Road, just under 7 miles west of the Arches Entrance Road turnoff. Both of these roads are improved, but unpaved. The Salt Valley Road is 16 miles north of the park entrance on the Entrance Road.
Tower Arch Trailhead Road
Tower Arch Trailhead is the second of the roads going into the Klondike Bluffs, only 1/10 of a mile after the first turnoff, as hikers drive in from the east. Both roads complete a loop. The Tower Arch Trailhead Road is shorter, and improved, and requires more hiking to reach the arch. The first road is an unimproved four-wheeling road.
Tower Arch Trailhead
The trail begins at the foot of the bluff, where the road ends. From here, the route is rocky and steep, though short.
Just a little under half-way between the beginning of the trail and Tower Arch is the monument known as the Marching Men. Part of a gigantic fin of eroding sandstone, the Marching Men are a series of tall, thin towers that stand atop the fin in a row, much like soldiers at attention.
The arch itself is very large; with a 92-foot span it is far from the largest in the park. But the awe-inspiring immensity of Tower Arch comes as much from its impressive size as it does from its depth, and solid presence. It is an arch befitting the entrance to an Olympian palace, heavy, intimidating, and defiant in its graceful span.
Anniversary Arch is located on the Tower Arch Road, just barely to the west of the junction with Arches National Park Road 19. It consists of two arches side-by-side, giving it a sense of unity, and thus, its name. An alternative for those who want to enjoy Tower Arch without the 5.6-mile hike is to come in on the rugged Tower Arch Road, passing Anniversary Arch, and parking 1/3 of a mile away from Tower Arch. This makes for a shorter hiker, but allows for some four-wheeling enjoyment.