Tom’s Experience hiking to Sunrise Arch and Sunset Arch:
Sunrise Arch, in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, was a really pretty sandstone arch. It is one of the few arches that come up and out of the surrounding rocks, similar to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park.
It is called Sunrise Arch because you can look through the arch and see the sunrise. There was no trail to the arches so we took a GPS and used it to locate the arches. The distance to the arches makes them some of the easiest arches in Escalante to visit. For rock formations this adventure is one of the best hikes in Escalante.
There was a lot of cacti and other sticker bushes in addition to plenty of sagebrush on the way to the arches. Eventually, we reached the sandstone rocks which made for easier hiking. Sunrise arch was really fun to explore around; the sandstone leading up to the arch had some fun patterns and designs in it from erosion. All of the surroundings combine for a truly magical experience since there really ins’t a major trail and it is fairly well hidden.
From Sunrise Arch, Sunset Arch, another stone arch in Utah, isn’t too far away. Sunset Arch wasn’t nearly as picturesque as Sunrise Arch, but it was still fun to visit.
When you head back, you can see your car on the hill most of the way, so it makes for an easier return from the arches than the approach to the arches.
The total distance was about 4 miles, but could be longer depending on how straight of a line you take to and from the arches. Dogs are also allowed on this adventure.
Trail Info to Sunrise Arch: From Escalante, head south on highway 12 until the well signed Hole in the Rock road. Follow Hole in the Rock road for 36.1 miles until you see a road heading to the left for 40 Mile Ridge. Follow that road about 4 miles until you come to a T with a short and steep road off to the left, there is also some sort of large metal circle with a fence around it. Take the road to your left and park in the parking lot. There should be a sign for Coyote Gulch Trailhead. 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. There is no trail to the arches so you need to bushwhack a little bit. The best way to find them would be to take a GPS and have that guide you to the spot. They are south of the Coyote Gulch Trailhead about 2 miles away.
GPS: Trailhead = 37.392631,-111.048557
Sunrise Arch = 37.3763542, -111.0484438
Sunset Arch Utah = 37.3728843, -111.0474025
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