Mesa Arch a spectacular viewpoint in Canyonlands National Park’s Island in the Sky district. You have probably seen it as a computer screensaver or on a calendar. It is not that large of an arch, but it’s placement makes it like a window to the beautiful rock formations below. Depending on the season, you may also get to see the desert in bloom.
Mesa Arch is the most popular hike in Canyonlands National Park and perfect for families, even with young children.
When we were in June all of the cacti were blooming and it was quite the desert show!
This hike is just over a half mile round trip, but there is no shade, so be sure to bring plenty of water. There is usually a short line to get your photo under the arch. These were taken in August 2016 and then in June 2019.
The first time we went earlier in the morning and the shadows make for a more dramatic photo! The most famous shots are taken at sunrise when the base of the arch is illuminated!
Near the arch there are some other rocks to climb on, the same view is available without looking through the arch and the sand is fine and perfect for toddlers to play in.
Stats: Distance –0 .6 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 30 to 90 minutes
Elevation gain – 62 feet
Difficulty – Easy
Trail – well maintained trail of sand and rocks
Bathrooms – At the Trailhead
Seasons to hike – Year-Round
Permits needed – $30 per car for 7-day pass to Canyonlands (or National Parks Pass)
Pets allowed – No