Don’t be fooled, not all the arches in Moab are within the Arches National Park. As we found, there are some amazing sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Best part is, they are typically free and a lot less crowded. Though not the most dramatic arch in the area (we’ll talk about Corona Arch in a separate post), Longbow Arch is a fun hike with a great view.
The trail to Longbow Arch starts on the back half of the very short (1/4-mile), but very confusing Poison Spider Dinosaur Tracks Loop Trail. We recommend reading our short post on how to find the dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs on the Poison Spider Trail before reading about Longbow Arch.
The Basics of Longbow Arch Trail
Length: 2.2 miles, out and back
Time: About 1.5 – 2 hours (depending on how long you get lost looking for the dinosaur tracks on the Poison Spider section of the trail)
Elevation Gain: Approximately 439 ft. There’s a short rock scramble at the start of the trail, then another to get under the arch.
Navigating the Longbow Arch Trail
The Rock Scramble
After we found our way along Poison Spider Trail, we started seeing green swatches on the ground. For the most part, the Longbow Arch Trail was much better marked with those green swatches and the occasional cairn (rock pyramid direction marker).
The trail began with a short scramble up a slick rock path to a narrow crevice.
Being a “tall” folk, Jeremy didn’t find the metal stepping hooks an issue to climb up. However, as I often find myself in the “petite” section of the store, I quickly noticed the spacing of the bars was not made with my limited stature in mind.
Once we made it to the top, the rest of the hike was relatively flat until we reached Longbow Arch.
View of the 4x4 Trail
The first section of the trail had a great view of the Poison Spider 4×4 Mesa Trail and we were lucky enough to catch three trucks coming through.
This isn’t just any 4×4 trail, the Poison Spider requires real off roading skills. It was impressive to watch the trucks slowly make their way and scale the very rugged walls along the path.
Hike Through the Sandy Valley to Longbow Arch
Walking into a small valley, the rest of the trail to Longbow Arch alternated between rocky terrain and soft sandy wash paths.
Though we were the only ones on the trail, the hundreds of footprints gave us comfort we were going the right way.
Finally, the trail diverged to the right, and we could see the Longbow Arch in the distance.
From here, we wound our way up and around the rocky terrain until we reached the ledge under the arch.
View from Longbow Arch
From the ledge under Longbow Arch, we had fantastic views of the Mars-like landscape of the valley.
To get back to the car, we headed out the way we came. Except, after the narrow crevice we followed the green swatches to the right to finish off the Poison Spider Dinosaur Track Loop Trail.
Continue onto nearby Corona Arch, or check out our other articles on Southern Utah.