Looking Glass Rock

Round Trip Distance: 0.25-1 mile
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5960 - 6100 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Looking Glass Rock
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic arch

Looking Glass Rock is the location of a scenic arch south of Moab, Utah. The arch sits about 2 miles west of Wilson Arch and about 2 miles from Highway 191. Besides being a popular destination for photographers and arch enthusiasts it also attracts a good number of rock climbers that like ascending the eastern fin of the rock and rappelling back down near the gaping alcove where the arch resides.

To get to the arch from Moab drive south on Highway 191 for about 23 miles. Turn right just past mile marker 103 onto the Looking Glass Road. A large brown Looking Glass Rock sign marks the turnoff. Follow the dirt Looking Glass Road for almost 2 miles where a final sign points out the destination. Rock climbers usually take a left turn before reaching Looking Glass Rock and park at the east trailhead. Either trailhead is fine for hikers and photographers who can hike all the way around the rock to see both sides or stop at both trailheads.

For this post we began on the west side of Looking Glass Rock so that we could catch the sunrise coming through the porthole. It is possible to climb up the slickrock and go through the opening if you don't mind doing a little scrambling. You will want to wear shoes with a good grip or you might get reminded of why they call it slickrock. There is also the option of hiking around Looking Glass Rock to get to the other side or simply driving there. We were having so much fun that we hiked around the rock and also crawled through the window.

The easiest route around the rock is to stay down in the dirt. If you stay up on the slickrock you will end up having to slide or scurry down a short edge to get back down to the dirt. Younger people can simply jump down, the sure footed can walk down and everyone else can either crab walk or slide down on their bottoms.

The view is a lot different from the east side of Looking Glass Rock. Here you can see the large alcove and all the sand that the wind has deposited below it.

For a closer look you will have to scramble up the loose talus slope and climb into the alcove itself.

Once up to the top of the alcove you can either stand safely back and admire things from a distance or carefully work your way closer to the opening.If you have always wanted to go 'through the looking glass' then here is your chance. Can't say that you will run into the Cheshire Cat but if you aren't careful you might be seeing stars.

The views are great in all directions.

On the east side of Looking Glass Rock is an inscription with the name of Pacomio Chacon who was a relatively well known sheepherder and artist that left his mark both in stone at various locations and in the bark of a few aspen trees here and there. On the west side of the rock is an image of a señorita. They were one of his signature pieces. A similar one can be found near Rangely, Colorado at the Crooks Brand Site.

This is a look at the opening from the west side.

The Looking Glass Road can get very sloppy after a heavy rain. Even if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle you will end up sliding around and leaving ruts behind. The road conditions are easy to access as soon as you leave Highway 191 so if they look suitable there then the only other place to worry about is where the road levels off at the top of the first hill. During dry weather the road is easily passable by 2-wheel drive vehicles of normal clearance. Being as close to the highway as Looking Glass Rock is it is well worth the little extra time it requires to go out of your way to see it. It is also good as a destination for a picnic or overnight trip. There are several places where you can set up a primitive campsite. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.