I have no idea why Colonnade Arch is not more widely know. (Actually I have a hunch, but more about that later.) Simply put, it’s the most amazing arch I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a few. It has five — count ’em — five openings: three in the front and two up top.

Colonnade Arch from Inside

Colonnade Arch from Inside

And all the openings are huge. And from the inside you have a remarkable view of Two Mile canyon and the Green River.

Colonnade Arch, View of Two Mile Canyon and Green River

Colonnade Arch, View of Two Mile Canyon and Green River

I stumbled upon Colonnade Arch through Google Earth, looking for something to do/see on the way to Horseshoe Canyon. It is out of the way: about an hour and a half from the town of Green River, UT. But that also weeds out the people. We were there on a Saturday night in the prime season for this part of Utah, and saw no one at the campsite or on the hike.

We took about two hours to get there and back. A better marked trail would have shortened that time. I wouldn’t say the trail is poorly marked, but if you don’t have a map and a general idea of the arch location you could spend a long day wandering in the San Raphael desert. The trail has occasional cairns that have beyond-sightline gaps. In other words, it’s a normal BLM trail. The Bureau of Land Management serves two customers: corporations and citizens. Any guess as to whom they favor? Let’s just leave it at this: BLM’s highest priority is not the individual hiker. So promoting features and improving trails would just lead to more problems that they do not have the money to solve.

And you should explore the arch(es) while you’re there for the views and to see the two potholes in the top.

On the way back to the jeep, we discovered some trace fossils in the Navajo sandstone. They are the burrow holes of some animal.

This was an excellent arch, well worthy of the rough road from Green River.

  • When: 28 Apr 2013
  • Distance: 3 mi RT
  • Total Time: 2:00 hrs