Kolob Arch


Kolob Arch, the second longest arch in the world, has been surrounded by controversy. For years it was considered the largest in the world, and it was hard to refute the claim since every official uses different methods to measure. Recently however, it was decided that Kolob Arch was only 287 feet long, three feet shorter than the delicate Landscape Arch, which now holds the title as the world’s longest arch. Kolob Arch, shorter though it may be, is quite a bit more structurally sound—so when Landscape Arch finally collapses in the near future (though no one really knows how many months, years, decades, or centuries that could actually be), Kolob will still be standing strong. The arch itself is off-limit to hikers, but the trails lead to a nice viewpoint that allows a great view of the titanic stone arch.

Trail Head: 37.452513, -113.190139

Trail Type: Hiking

Length: 14 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Strenuous

There are two basic ways to reach the arch. First, and most popular, hikers can descend from the Kolob Canyons Road parking lot at Lee Pass, into the drainage that eventually becomes Timber Creek. From there, hikers swing around the southwest spur of Gregory Butte, and into the La Verkin Creek drainage. The Kolob Arch viewpoint is up the little canyon to the north of the La Verkin drainage right before the trail turns into the Hop Valley Trail.

Hikers can also start at the Hop Valley Trailhead, at its junction with Kolob Road. This route is more direct, though both routes are seven-mile treks (one way). After following Hop Valley Trail for seven miles, turn west into the La Verkin drainage, and Kolob Arch will be northward, up the first little canyon.

If hikers wish to make this a circular route—and a more exciting route—they can descend Icebox Canyon, which is a technical route requiring five different rappels. The narrow canyon is only three miles long and drops directly into the shallow canyon where Kolob Arch rests.

This trail takes hikers along the Kolob Canyons, or Kolob Fingers, namely, Timber Top Mountain, Gregory Butte, Nagunt Mesa, and Paria and Beatty Points.

This viewpoint is 150 feet higher in elevation than the bottom of the La Verkin drainage below, requiring a slight ascent before you can enjoy the arch.

Sitting right up against the backside of Gregory Butte, Kolob Arch is not as dramatic as some other famous arches—it lacks the framed-blue-sky effect that makes Landscape and Delicate Arches so well-known. But Kolob, is beautiful in its own sout, hexagonal way.

Hop Valley Trail heads north from the Kolob Reservoir Road, and after the initial curve, is fairly straight and easy to navigate.

Icebox Canyon is steep, narrow, and fun. It is a technical route, requiring rappelling equipment.

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