(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

Hiking during wintertime in Moab is a joy. The days are crisp and clear, you have the trails all to yourself, and the red desert cliffs contrast beautifully with the fresh white snow. Getting outside and into the wild spaces around Moab can bring joy to even the most resistant hikers. So whether you’re a seasoned adventurer, or just getting started exploring your local hiking trails, the Landscape Arch Trail in Arches National Park should be high up on your list of must-do hikes. 

Distance: 3 Miles Round Trip

Difficulty: Moderate

Trailhead Location: 38.791125, -109.606908

Landscape Arch Hike 

If you do decide to visit Landscape Arch Trail, you should definitely bring traction devices. The trial is primarily North-facing, and there are a few short hills that can become extremely slippery. I did not have my traction devices while doing this hike and I really wished I did! I slipped a few different times and ended up having to scoot down a very short hill. Moab Gear Trader has Moab’s best selection of winter gear and is Moabs winter sports headquarters! 

Additionally, the bathrooms at this end of Arches National Park are closed! So please use the restroom earlier on in the park. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

Arches National Park has many cool arches to hike to (hence, the name…), but the Devils Garden trail to Landscape Arch has to be one of the coolest trails with the highest density of arches. 

Unfortunately, the full Devils Garden primitive trail after Landscape Arch is closed in the winter due to snow and ice. However, simply hiking to Landscape Arch is worth the trip! 

The hike starts at the very end of the Arches National Park Road. Drive past the turn off for Delicate Arch, and keep driving until you come to a short cul de sac with a parking lot and a bathroom at its end. The bathrooms are closed for the winter, so make sure you go before you reach the parking area.  

The hike itself starts off down a beautiful sandstone corridor. The way the light hits the empty sandstone walls is quite breathtaking. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

After you pass through the corridor, you will come to a wide snowy trail that meanders along a few more beautiful sandstone fins. The right side of the trail drops off and in the distance, you can see the rest of Arches National Park, as well as the La Sals and Castle Valley. It is beautiful! 

The trail will lead you to an intersection and you can decide to hike downhill a short distance to see Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. Both are just a few minutes off the main trail and should be prioritized. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

Pine Tree Arch is a quaint little arch that you can walkthrough. It’s named so because of a pretty little pine tree you can see right at the center of the arch. There are several social trails leading away from this arch, please don’t follow them. There is clear signage indicating that the trail ends under the arch. The desert is a sensitive ecosystem and with the density of people who visit Arches National Park can do serious damage to the environment if led off-trail. Stay on trails, please!  

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

After enjoying Pine Tree Arch, you can turn around and walk a short distance to Tunnel Arch. This arch is not close enough to the trail to walk underneath, but there is a pleasant little viewing area that gives you a great view of Tunnel Arch. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

After visiting both Pine Tree and Tunnel Arch, you can continue on to the crown jewel of the hike: Landscape Arch. This section of the trail is extremely slippery when ice is present. There were several occasions where, while researching this piece, I slipped and fell. Having traction devices or even walking poles would have greatly improved my hiking experience. Please stop by Moab Gear Trader on your way out to Arches National Park this winter and grab a pair of traction devices if you don’t already have some, you will not regret it. 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

Once you arrive at Landscape Arch, the first thing you notice is how thin it is. It looks as if the slightest breeze might knock it down. In 1991 that exact event transpired! Visitors at the time remember hearing a cracking and popping sound coming from above, and then they fled the scene as approximately 180 tons of rock came crashing down onto the ground below. The exact cause of this arches structural failure is not known, however, it is likely heavy rains caused the delicate sandstone to saturate with water, making the arch heavier than it could bear at the time. 

Landscape Arch is a reminder that all arches will eventually come crashing down. We, as visitors, don’t know if these arches will fail in the next 100 years or the next 100 days. Because of this uncertainty, visitors cannot stand directly under Landscape Arch, like you can with many of the other arches. Please enjoy the spectacular view from a distance! 

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)

Because the Devils Garden Primitive Loop is closed during the winter, we cannot, unfortunately, visit the several breathtaking arches that lie beyond Landscape Arch. The trail continues to get more and more wild, and with the icy roads already being a problem, it is unsafe for visitors to continue on at this time. However, come spring and summer, the trails will open up again and be a brand new adventure for visitors to enjoy! 

Here are a few of the beautiful geological features you have to look forward to come springtime: Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, Private Arch, Double O Arch, and the grand finale, Dark Angel Spire. 

Winter conditions in Moab are always variable, so make sure to check the National Park Service Website before you plan your trip!

(Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay)