Herdina Park

Round Trip Distance: 5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4893 - 5034 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Herdina Park Rd.
Fee: $30/vehicle
Attractions: Scenic arches


Herdina Park is located in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah where a rough 4-wheel drive road connects the Willow Springs Road and the Tower Arch area. The very scenic Eye of the Whale Arch and Leaping Arch can be reached by a couple of short hiking trails from points along the Herdina Park Road. A high clearance 4wd vehicle is required to drive the Herdina Park Road but the distance from the picnic area is short enough for many hikers.

Herdina Park can be accessed  from the south by finding your way to the Picnic Area across the road from Balanced Rock that marks the beginning of the Willow Springs Road. Hikers in 2wd vehicles can park at the picnic area and add 1.6 miles to the total round trip distance.

Follow the Willow Springs Road for 0.8 miles to where the 4wd Herdina Park Road begins. Passenger vehicles can easily make it up to this point but there isn't much in the way of parking.

While much of the road is easy enough there are plenty of places that do require a driver with experience traveling over the more technical parts. 

Getting to the arches is as simple as following the road until it comes to a rocky sandstone outcrop of fins and domes. 

A pullout with plenty of parking and a brown post marks the beginning of the footpath that leads to the Eye of the Whale Arch. 

While the arch is visible from the road it is less impressive at that distance than it is once you get up close. 

A short scramble up the slickrock bowl allows fuller appreciation of the arch and the actual size of its opening. 

Leaping Arch is at the other end of the island outcrop of sandstone. The arch is mostly hidden from view until you venture to the end of a short trail.

Leaping Arch is quite large and best appreciated from directly below. 

We had driven our Tundra part way to the arches and parked at the bottom of a steep hill where vehicles had been spinning their tires creating deep holes in the road. After leaving the area we opted to follow the Willow Springs Road out of the park to Highway 191. That route is even more extreme and difficult than the Herdina Park Road. Herdina Park with its two impressive arches is a nice something to do for those that have already seen the many other attractions in Arches National Park. Typical visitors will want to stick to the more popular and accessible sites. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.