Lost Spring Canyon

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 7.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4419 - 4692 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 4 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Winter Camp Ridge Road
Fee: none
Attractions: 4 arches, slot canyon




Lost Spring Canyon is a backcountry hike in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. The hike begins on BLM land just north of the park where it follows an old jeep road that takes it into the canyon and to the boundary of Arches National Park. From there hikers can follow the wash, exploring side canyons along the way, while encountering a variety of arches and other geological features. The lower end of the canyon merges into Salt Wash and comes out at Wolfe Ranch, the trailhead for Delicate Arch. This post goes as far as a side canyon where there are several small slots to explore. Enroute the Lost Spring Canyon trail encounters 4 different arches.


To get to the unmarked trailhead from Interstate 70 take Exit 193 and head south on the Yellow Cat Road. The first 5.8 miles of the road is as straight as an arrow. At the 9.3 mile point turn right, stay to the left at 10 miles and at 12 miles make a slight right onto the Lost Spring Canyon Road (unmarked).  Continue for another 2 miles to the fork in this photo and find a place to park.


From the fork in the road the route travels over broken slickrock for about 750 feet where it comes to another fork. Stay to the left to continue down into Lost Spring Canyon.


The old jeep road is a bit steep at first as it travels over several rocky shelves but as it passes through an abandoned ranch and turns toward the canyon it levels out somewhat and becomes much easier.


Shortly after reaching the floor of the canyon the route passes through a swing fence as it crosses into Arches National Park.


Just past the 1 mile point from the trailhead the wash passes by the mouth of Fish Seep Draw. As the wash progresses it becomes wider and the vegetation begins thinning out.


Near the 1.7 mile point there is a side canyon on the left. To the right of the canyon and a little around the cliff is Cavern Arch. A portion of it can be glimpsed from the wash. On around the cliff from Cavern Arch is Millennium Arch. To get up to them follow one of the trails that climbs out of the wash. At this point we have already passed Lightening Bolt Arch but unless you know exactly where it is it's almost impossible to see while hiking down the canyon so we will pick it up on the return trip.


Cavern Arch is a window that has eroded through the roof of a large cave.


If you continue around the base of the cliff past Cavern Arch you will reach an area at the mouth of another stub canyon where the rock is potholed with a thousand dimples. Millennium Arch can be found near the top of the cliff. It is also easier to spot on the return trip.


Near the 2.3 mile point the side canyon of our destination comes up. As the wash passes the cliff at the mouth of the canyon find a path that climbs up to higher ground and into the side canyon.


About a quarter mile inside the canyon Convert Arch comes into view high up in a ridge on the south side near a cave.


Continuing up the wash past Convert Arch the canyon splits into multiple branches several of which end in slots that have dry falls that are popular with canyoneers that repel into them from above.


For this post we hiked into the one of them before turning around and heading back.


On the hike back look for the rock formation in this photo on the west side of the canyon after passing Cavern Arch.


Lightening Bolt Arch doesn't have much of an opening yet so you have to get pretty close before you can see any sky through it.



There aren't any backcountry campsites in Lost Spring Canyon within the boundaries of Arches National Park but there are several good spots to camp near the trailhead while still on BLM land. At times people will pull camping trailers in and set them up along the Lost Spring Canyon Road as well as in other places along the drive in. We have also seen passenger cars that made it this far. People in 2 wheel drive vehicles should take care which roads they travel on because some of them can be very sandy. The route that we described via the Yellow Cat Road is generally hard packed during dry weather although there are a few hills that are a little rough. As far as hiking in Lost Spring Canyon goes we feel it is a backcountry paradise with lots of fun places to explore. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.