Tukuhnikivista/Moab Rim Arches

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 5.8 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5241 - 6108 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 4 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Highway 191 MM 114.1
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic Arches




The Tukuhnikivista and Moab Rim Arches are located in the Behind the Rocks Area near Moab, Utah. Both arches are situated near the edge of the Moab Rim about 10 miles south of town overlooking the Moab Valley. The Moab Rim Arch is easily visible from Highway 191 although the air gap between the arch and cliff isn't apparent from that angle. Tukuhnikivista Arch sits back a little further from the rim and can only be spied from certain locations if one knows exactly where to look. A spur that branches off of the Behind the Rocks Jeep Safari Route passes by the Moab Rim Arch. From where the spur dead ends it is another 3 tenths of a mile of hiking to reach Tukuhnikivista Arch.


The turnoff for the Behind the Rocks trail is about 12 miles south of the center of Moab on Highway 191 just before reaching mile marker 114. Hikers and mountain bikers will find a better starting point if they follow the road for about a quarter mile where there is room to park right before the road gets rough.


Small convoys of jeeps are common on the Behind the Rocks trail. Dirt bikes and side-by-sides also make good use of the trail. Most mountain bikers prefer to skip this section of the trail choosing instead to drive another mile south on Highway 191 to an easier access point.


For the first half mile the trail climbs over a series of rock ledges as it gains about 400 feet of elevation.


Just past the 3/4 mile point the Behind the Rocks trail is met by the easier route that started a mile further south on Highway 191.


From there the trail continues for about 4 tenths of a mile to where a spur branches off on the right. At present there is a 'Dead End' marker at the beginning of the spur.


The dead end road works its way heading north along the rim overlooking the valley where the La Sal Mountains dominate the eastern horizon.


After a half mile or so the Moab Rim Arch begins coming into view. The Tukuhnikivista Arch which is much smaller can also be seen if a person knows precisely where to look.


The Moab Rim Arch sits off to the side of the road around the 2 mile point. To get under it for a better appreciation of the arch requires a bit of scrambling.


We weren't completely satisfied with the view from the road and since we had come this far we opted to scramble around and get under the arch.


The road dead ends about a half mile past the Moab Rim Arch. From here it is a little easier to see Tukuhnikivista Arch. At the time we were there taking the photos for this post most of the few cairns that there were had either fallen over or had crumbled to pieces. After having determined the best route we erected several new cairns at key points and repaired some of the others that were already there.


Tukuhnikivista is pretty much a free standing arch at the end of a rocky outcrop on the cliff where it sits. It isn't a huge arch but it is big enough to walk under. The sandstone crumbles easily making the arch very fragile. It would be best not to climb on it or lean against it. The arch gets its name from Mount Tukuhnikivatz which is viewable through the opening when looking eastward toward the La Sal Mountains.


There aren't any trail signs that point the way to the Moab Rim and Tukuhnikivista arches and once you get to them there aren't any signs with their names on them. About the only way to find them is to know approximately where they are by following some reasonable directions and to take a map. The final stretch of the trail from the end of the road up to Tukuhnikivista Arch requires good route finding skills. Where the trail travels over dirt there is a well worn path leading the way. For the slickrock portions of the trail you have to rely on what cairns you might find. Hopefully the slideshow below will also be of help. We felt that both arches were worth seeing up close and found the hike to be quite enjoyable. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.