Gold Bar/Jeep Arch

Round Trip Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 3961 - 4947 feet
Elevation gain: 1,477 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Gold Star
Fee: none
Attractions: Natural arch

Gold Bar Arch (a.k.a. Jeep Arch) is located off of the Potash Road, Utah Highway 279, about 10 miles west of Moab, Utah. Maps tend to show the name of the arch as Gold Bar while a sign along the trail calls it Jeep Arch. The opening of the arch does somewhat resemble the outline of a jeep. The trail begins just past the trailhead for the more famous Corona Arch and the Gold Bar Recreation Area. From the trailhead the route leads through a culvert that takes it under the railroad tracks. From there it climbs up to a bench which it follow toward the arch. The trail begins a loop just past the 1.2 mile point that takes it around a large fin and through the arch where it continues back to where the loop began and then back to the trailhead.

The trailhead is unmarked at present but it is still easy to find. Travel north out of Moab and turn left onto the Potash Road, Utah Highway 279. The turnoff comes after crossing the river and before reaching the entrance to Arches National Park. Follow the Potash Road for about 9.5 miles to mile marker 5 which is at a big bend in the Colorado River just past the Corona Arch trailhead and the Gold Bar Recreation Area. A large gravel area along the road provides plenty of room to park. We were pulling our camping trailer so we actually parked at the Gold Bar Recreation Area about a quarter mile away and began hiking from there.

Begin the trail by hiking through the large culvert.

A little past the culvert watch for a sign for Jeep Arch that directs you out of the wash and up the hill where the trail continues along the north side of the railroad tracks for another hundred feet or so to the point where the trail climbs up a small hill and passes through an old fence line.

The trail ends up on a bench above the wash where the route is well marked with cairns. The cairns will vary in size as will the distance between them but it isn't difficult at all to stay the course.

Be prepared for hiking fully exposed to the sun. An occasional boulder or juniper tree might provide a little shade and on a good day there may even be a breeze. Bring plenty of water for yourself and any pets as you will find none along the trail.

A loop begins near the 1.2 mile point. By following the trail to the left and rounding the loop in the clockwise direction you will be able to scramble up the rougher stretches of trail and approach the arch from its west side.

The trail climbs the rocky hillside and passes between the pinnacle on the left and the cliff on the right. If you look closely near the top of the pillar you should be able to spot a couple of permanent bolts that climbers have left behind.

There are several spots here where you will most likely have to use your hands a little to climb up. The fun scrambling adds to the highlights of the trail and makes it seem more adventurous.

After climbing through the gap the trail drops down into the dirt on the other side and arcs around to the arch which will be coming into view shortly on the right.

The trail continues its loop by climbing right up and through the arch to the other side of the rock fin.

A little more easy scrambling is required to get up to the opening in the arch.

This is a good place to find some shade and take in the views as you enjoy a trail snack.

When you get ready to head back just look south along the east side of the fin for the cairns that mark the route.

Going around the loop in this direction there is only one spot that requires a little scramble. The young and agile hikers will simply walk right down it while those with stiff knees may opt to scoot down on their fannies.

The rest of the way back to where the loop began is an easy hike. From there it is just a matter of retracing your steps back to the trailhead over a now familiar route.

If you look up near the top of the ridge along the north side of the highway between the Gold Bar and Corona Arch trailheads you can get a glimpse of Pinto Arch

There are quite a few small campgrounds scattered along the Potash Road for those that are looking to spend more than one day in the area. We opted for one of the RV parks in Moab that offered full hookups for our trailer. (Our idea of 'roughing it'.) Unless you hike Gold Bar on a race day you will likely see very few other hikers. Compared to the crowds that are encountered on the Corona Arch trail this one will seem like pure solitude. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.