Longbow Arch isn’t the most spectacular natural formation you’ll find in the Moab area, but it does provide a nice second hike, after making the trek out to nearby Corona Arch. You’ll see some beautiful scenery along the way, and at the end, you’ll be able to stand directly underneath a giant arch. And as a bonus, this trail will probably be a lot less crowded than most of the other hiking spots around Moab.
Begin your hike to Longbow Arch at the Poison Spider Mesa trailhead. From Moab, take US 191 north, then turn left onto Potash Road (Utah 279). The trailhead will be on the right, after about 6 miles.
I ran into some confusion at the Poison Spider Mesa trailhead. It’s not easy to tell that the trail begins on the northeast end of the parking lot (you have to pass the outhouse). On the other end of the parking lot, Poison Spider Road continues on up the hill. The Jeep road and the foot trail eventually meet, so you could hike up the road, then join the trail, but that would take longer.
Past the outhouse, you’ll find some markers for the Longbow Arch Trail and another short trail that leads to petroglyphs and dinosaur tracks. For the arch, you want to head up the canyon. At this point, the trail looks pretty rough…
… and in a moment, you’ll reach this obstacle. There are a few rungs mounted into the rock wall, which you’ll need to use as you climb up it.
Once you’re out of that narrow canyon and at the top, a great view unfolds.
In this area, you’ll need to follow the occasional green trail marks that are painted on the slickrock.
You’ll also be able to capture this great view of the LaSal Mountains, looking east. It’s all beautifully lit in the late afternoon. The best view is just slightly off the main trail, at the top of a hill, near the point where the road passes near the trail. If it’s not obvious on the way out, it will be on the return trip.
After crossing the floor of a wide valley, you’ll come upon an old tree trunk. When you get here, look towards that slot in the hills, and you’ll catch your first glimpse of Longbow Arch.
The trail heads into that slot. By mid-afternoon in January, it’s already quite shadowy and cool here. Thankfully, the sun was still hitting the arch, but if I had arrived much later, I wouldn’t have gotten a very good picture.
The trail takes you up to the far end of the arch, at which point you can hike around on the slope underneath it.
It’s quite a view, looking straight up!
I perched myself here and enjoyed the view for a few minutes. I had passed a couple of hikers on the way in, but while at the arch, I was all alone. I didn’t see anyone else until I was halfway back to the trailhead.
To return, follow the same trail. Watch for that great view of the mountains on the return trip, when you’ll be facing that direction. The entire trail is about 2.4 miles, round-trip. You could easily knock it out in 90 minutes since it’s not very challenging. But, I’d suggest adding some time to enjoy the arch and the views on the way back.
Here’s a look at the drive out Potash Road:
The Bottom Line
You’ll enjoy the fairly easy hike out to Longbow Arch. The best part is climbing up the hill, to a spot directly underneath the arch. This is a good hike to add to a day spent on hikes along Potash Road.