Lower Salt Wash Trail

The Lower Salt Wash Trail takes hikers down almost seven miles of winding, boulder-strewn canyon. The Salt Wash is the deepest canyon in Arches, at almost 1,200 feet near the confluence with the Colorado River. There is almost always flowing water in this wide wash, making it the surest body of water in the park.

Trail Head: 38.735889, -109.520618

Trail Type: Hiking

Length: 13.5 miles round trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Visitors who wish to explore the Lower Salt Wash will have to cross from one side of the wash to the other numerous times along the trail and will likely get wet before too long. The piles of loose rock along the route can deter some hikers, though others find the rock-scrambling a delight. This is a return-the-way-you-came route, meaning that once hikers have reached the confluence with the Colorado River and enjoyed looking at the rapids, they will have to go back the way they came.


This hike begins at the Delicate Arch Trailhead, where there is a large parking lot and toilets. Salt Wash runs past the parking area and Wolf Ranch. Just look for the trail that follows the wash downstream.


This valley sits between the Windows area to the south, and Delicate Arch and its fins to the north—in fact the Delicate Arch Trailhead and Wolfe Ranch are located at the north end of the valley. The south end of the valley rises into two large bluffs, with the Wash cutting a pass between the two.


The Salt Wash empties into the Colorado River at the Salt Wash Rapids, across the river from the Sandy Beach, a popular place to take a picnic.

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