Tom’s Experience hiking to Broken Bow Arch:
Broken Bow Arch was much larger than I expected it to be and really one of the coolest arches I’ve ever seen. The trail to get to the arch is sometimes a little difficult to follow, on more than one occasion we were stumped by the boulders, mud and debris we had to navigate around.
The hike wasn’t too steep or difficult, other than the trail finding, so I was happy to have had my gps with me. The trail starts out going down a very sandy trail to the canyon floor. The trail passes right next to an interesting rock formation called Mortarboard Rock.
Once you get onto the canyon floor, follow the canyon until it intersects with another canyon. Continue going straight in the same canyon you entered from. Look for the trail to take off to the left, after the intersection, up and over a hill. We missed it and continued through the canyon which still got us to the same place, but that may have been why we struggled so much with mud and boulders.
Our footprints were not the only ones to have missed the trail and follow the canyon, so I think it is a fairly common mistake. Eventually, the trail and the canyon come together farther down the canyon and you follow the canyon the rest of the way to the arch.
Eventually, the canyon leads right to the arch. We had fun exploring the valley the arch was in to get different vantage points for the arch. The arch has a span of nearly 100 feet, and was named because of a broken native american bow that was found below the arch.
Make sure you pay attention to the trail as you leave the Broken Bow Arch. We were able to find the actual trail on the way back and it was a lot faster and easier than trying to navigate through the canyon, like we did on the way down. We also heard two rattlesnakes as we were hiking back from the arch, so be careful. Make sure you look for the trail exit from the lower canyon so you don’t miss it. We were able to see Mortarboard rock from inside the canyon so that helped guide us in the right direction. It is about 5 miles from the trailhead to the arch and back. Dogs are allowed on this trail but must remained leashed.
Trail Info: From Escalante, Utah, drive east on highway 12 until you reach the signed Hole in the Rock road. Stay on the main Hole in the Rock road for 41.6 miles until you see a road heading to the left that is BLM road 276. Follow that road until it dead ends at the trailhead with a small parking lot. There is a trail register and a sign for Willow Gulch Trailhead so you know you are in the right place. The Hole in the Rock road is dirt but it shouldn’t be too difficult to make it to the trailhead if the road is dry. Make sure you have plenty of water and gas because there are no facilities off of Hole in the Rock road.
GPS: Trailhead = 37.324812,-111.023019.
Broken Bow Arch = 37.328576,-110.999914
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