Arrowhead Arch

Round Trip Distance: 4.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 5180 - 5624 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: CR #1017 MM 0.5
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic canyon, natural arch

Arrowhead Arch is located in the San Rafael Swell between Hanksville and Green River, Utah. The arch is tucked away in a side canyon between Temple Wash and North Temple Wash. We stumbled upon the arch while exploring the canyon. While the arch doesn't show up on our list of San Rafael Arches we dubbed it anyway in order to point it out as an interesting feature of an unnamed canyon.

To get to the mouth of the canyon find your way to the Temple Mountain Road by heading south on Highway 24 from Interstate 70 for 24 miles or north from Hanksville for 20 miles. Head west on the Temple Mountain Road for 5 miles where there is a pullout and kiosk on the right hand side of the road. Just past the pullout is the turnoff to Goblin Valley. From the pullout follow the dirt road, which is Emery County 1015, for about a half mile to the first wash that comes up on the left. Be aware that the sand is very loose and deep at the mouth of the canyon. If you are in a passenger vehicle you can park at the kiosk and add a mile to the round trip distance or pull off into one of the primitive campsites before reaching the wash.

After making it through the sand trap the road gets easy but only for a hundred yards or so. We pulled our vehicle off onto the slickrock after turning up the wash and began hiking from there. It would be advisable not to even enter the wash without being in a high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle.

A short stretch of narrows comes up as the trail enters the reef.

Multiple routes begin appearing as the canyon widens. They all appear to lead to dead ends at primitive campsites and such. There was one that looked worth exploring but someone was camped in it so maybe some other time.

The main wash that leads through the reef soon becomes impassible. There is an old jeep trail that continues above the wash that leads to the top of the reef.

The road eventually disappears into the landscape. If you are good at picking out old trails over slickrock you can continue to the top and around the point of a hill where you can get glimpses of the paved portion of the Temple Mountain Road below.

Back down in the wash there is a side canyon that leads to Arrowhead Arch.

The arch is in a rocky outcrop on the left hand side of the side canyon. It is also visible from the main canyon.

To get a better appreciation of the arch you need to scramble up to it. From certain angles it has a strong resemblance to an arrowhead.

On the hike back out of the canyon we came across some boulders that had some sharpening grooves on them.

There's not a lot to this hike when compared to most of the other options in the area. Other than the arch that we made up a name for, the sharpening grooves, a nice chunk of petrified wood, some malachite, an uncommon view of Temple Wash, and some scenic geology it doesn't have all that much going for it. But then again, that is quite a bit of stuff and who knows what all we missed. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.