Convert Arch

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 3.2-4.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4697 - 5073 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Lost Spring Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic arch and canyons




Convert Arch is located along the northeast border of Arches National Park north of Moab, Utah. The large arch is in a fin of entrada sandstone in the rim of Lost Spring Canyon. While some maps show that the arch is just outside of Arches National Park others, like Google Maps, place it entirely within the parks boundaries. For this post we hiked below the rim to get beneath the arch and all areas below the rim are within Arches on all the maps that we have seen.


There are several options for getting to the trailhead. One good one is to take Exit 193 on Interstate 70 east of Thompson, Utah. Follow the Yellow Cat Road for 9.3 miles and turn right. Go left at 10 miles and continue on the Highlands Road. At the 12 mile point stay to the left and continue for another 4.3 miles and turn right. Follow the Winter Camp Ridge Road for 3 miles to the Lost Spring Canyon Trailhead. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for the last 3 miles due to possible deep sand and a rocky outcrop about a half mile from the trailhead.


Follow the road through the fence from the trailhead for about a quarter mile where there is another road that branches off on the right.


After turning right follow this road for about 4 tenths of a mile looking for one of several faint trails that branch off on the right. There is a spot where the road passes between 2 juniper trees after which there is a Wilderness Study Area marker that is a good reference point for where to leave the road. Right before the 2 trees there is somewhat of a trail and a little past the trees there is another trail.


Both trails are faint and depending upon how much traffic they have had recently and how much the wind has blown they might be hard to spot. While both trails end up at the same spot in a wash the first reaches the wash and then follows it a little ways before leaving it while the second trail reaches the wash and simply crosses it.


The slideshow at the end of this post shows the route that we took that led to the wash and down to the point where the 2 routes meet and leave the wash. If you miss the point where the trail leaves the wash you will come to a spillover at the head of a canyon that quickly becomes very deep. To get to Convert Arch you will want to make sure you leave the wash before then so that you can be on the northside of that canyon.


After leaving the wash follow the slickrock bench around a corner to a spot where you can easily climb the rest of the way out of the wash.


Once you climb out of the wash route finding can become a bit sketchy. The idea is to find a trail that pretty much makes a beeline to the northwest to the rim of the canyon. The map that we included to print out and take along shows the route that we followed. It has another route that is represented by a straight line that someone apparently hand drew and has since ended up on all sorts of maps. We can guarantee that you can't hike a route that straight without encountering cactus patches and other obstacles.


If all goes well you will come out somewhere along the rim opposite of Convert Arch. If not then walk along the rim until you can see it. It is a big enough arch that it is impossible to miss.


Convert Arch is nice enough to look at from across the canyon but to really get a true appreciation of it you will want to get right up to it. To do so hike around the rim to where there is an obvious drop in point that leads down to the bench below the arch. It is easier than it looks to get down to the bench and once you are there you should have no trouble picking a route with little exposure to worry about. According to the map once you drop below the rim of the canyon you should be within the boundaries of Arches National Park.


From the bench you can hike all the way through the arch and check out the canyon on the other side. Check out our post for Lost Spring Canyon to get an idea of how it is hiking down there.


The canyon is a maze of blocks and fins with a couple of cool slots to explore. Canyoneers like to repel into the slots and then hike back out of the canyon.


On the trip back we picked a route that went along the rim and then rejoined the original trail before it crossed the wash. From there we followed the trail that crosses the wash to get back to the road. The hike from the road to the arch and back is 3.2 miles. Since it is almost 3/4 of a mile to the trailhead from that spot the total round trip distance comes out to about 4.6 miles. We had ridden our mountain bikes all the way down the road where we hiked over to Swanky Arch and then stashed them behind a tree on the way back while we hiked over to Convert Arch. Route finding can be a mess between the road and Convert Arch but we feel the outcome is worth the effort. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.