La Boca Arch

Round Trip Distance: 0.25 - 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5177 - 5272 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hour
Trailhead: Highland Road
Fee: none
Attractions: Natural arch

La Boca Arch is in a remote desert location in the Yellow Cat area north of Moab, Utah and Arches National Park. The arch is in a very scenic setting where the rounded sandstone cliffs invite exploration. The area around Cowboy cave can be seen to the north and east while the red sandstone cliffs of Arches National Monument are visible in the opposite direction.

Getting to La Boca Arch can be an adventure in itself. Especially for those that are unfamiliar with the roads in the area. For this post we took Exit 204 on Interstate 70. This is the scenic byway that follows Highway 128 along the Colorado River between Cisco and Moab. After exiting from the Interstate, rather than following Highway 128, watch for a dirt road that heads west paralleling the Interstate. The road crosses 3 concrete dips where culverts run under the Interstate. Be sure to slow down for these. A little past the 3rd dip turn left just before the gas pipeline riser and follow the road as it cuts across the adobe badlands heading south. This road is BLM 163 on most maps. Continue following the road for about 8.8 miles at which point you will turn left. Follow this branch of the road for another 2.5 miles as it climbs out of the valley and turn right onto the Owl Draw Road. There is a sign that pointing the direction to the arch at this intersection. Follow the Owl Draw Road for 1.2 miles and turn left onto the Highlands Road where there is another arch sign. Continue for just over 2.5 miles on the Highland Road to the final turnoff to La Boca Arch.

If the roads are dry and in good condition you can make it up to this point in a 2-wheel drive vehicle with moderate clearance and perhaps some descent backcountry driving skills. Unless you are in a 4-wheel drive we recommend parking near the cattleguard in this picture and walking the last half mile to the arch.

Most of the half mile long spur road is pretty good other than one spot that might high center some vehicles.

For those that are able to drive all the way to the arch it is only about 100 feet away from the parking area. The area is fun to explore so you can still end up doing quite a bit of hiking.

The name La Boca is Spanish for 'the mouth'.

An easy scramble will get you inside the cavernous arch where you can enjoy a serene view looking out over the landscape with the La Sal Mountains as a backdrop. The name La Sal is also Spanish. It translates to 'the salt' so the La Sal Mountains could also be thought of as the 'Salt Mountains'.

Another short scramble on the west side of the arch will get you above it where you can look through it from the top. You might notice the ashes from a campfire inside the arch. There are also several campfire rings in the wash below the arch. While it is a very cool place to camp it would be a big bummer for anyone else that came to see the arch only to find someone camping in it.

Looking northeast from La Boca Arch you can see the Squaw Park area around Cowboy CaveSquaw Window and Porthole Arch. The dirt road that leads to the arch drops down into that area and even leads out to Highway 128 near Dewey Bridge. There are a couple of serious 4-wheel drive obstacles that have to be dealt with if going that way.

While at La Boca Arch for this post we hiked all around the backside of it and climbed around on the slickrock. We strongly advise carrying a map of the area and an GPS device is possible. There are a lot of interconnecting roads that can be very confusing. They are all fun to follow providing you don't get lost doing so. Most of the area has good cellphone coverage and Google Maps shows all of the main roads like Owl Draw and the Highland Road. You can even use it to get directions to the arch. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.