Elephant Arch

Round Trip Distance: 3.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 3077 - 3297 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Mill Creek
Fee: none
Attractions: natural arch

Elephant Arch is located in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area near St. George, Utah. Nestled deep in a side canyon of the Mill Creek section of the Red Cliffs Desert Preserve the aptly named arch awaits all those that persevere for the entire 1.8 miles from the trailhead. With proper preparation Elephant Arch is a good choice from families with children of any age.

To get to the trailhead from Interstate 15 take either Exit 13, if coming from the north, or Exit 10, if coming from the south. On the north side of the interstate follow Buena Vista Blvd. to Main St. and turn north. Currently the pavement ends at Brio Parkway. They were doing some road work nearby so this may change in the future.

From the end of the pavement follow the dirt road for just over 1 mile to the Mill Creek trailhead. The road is normally accessible by 2wd passenger cars during dry conditions.

From the parking area continue following the road, which is now the Mill Creek trail, for just over a quarter mile to where the Bone Wash trail branches off on the right.

The Bone Wash trail makes use of another sandy road as it heads easterly along some powerlines.

After a half mile or so the Bone Wash trail drops off of the hill and into the wash.

Once in the wash the hike becomes much more scenic as the trail snakes it way past the colorful red cliffs that line the wash.

A narrow passage between some rocks and the continually changing scenery make exploring the wash a pleasant undertaking.

Near the 1.4 mile point from the parking area the Elephant Arch trail begins by climbing a sandy hill and leaving the wash behind.

After working its way over a short ridge the trail drops back into a side wash that is much narrower.

Trail markers and the narrow confines of the wash make it easy enough to find your way to a spot where you can get a good view of Elephant Arch.

Those that would like to scramble up a slickrock ledge can get an even closer look at the arch.

We visited Elephant Arch on a Saturday and there was a steady stream of hikers on the trail the entire time but not enough that it felt at all crowded. Most groups of hikers were spaced several hundred yards apart or more so much of the time it was as though you had the place to yourself. Those looking for more solitude can venture further up Bone Wash where they will surely be all alone. Elephant Arch and the scenic route up the wash leading there make this an enjoyable hike. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.