Thursday, June 18, 2009

Aqueduct Arch Trail

The Aqueduct Arch Trail starts about 11.2 miles north along Harts Point Road in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area in southeast Utah and is not marked. The Harts Point area is between Canyonlands Park and Indian Creek to the west and the Hatch Point district of Canyon Rims to the east.

The Harts Point Road is about 12 miles west along Utah Route 211 on the way to the Needles District of Canyonlands Park. This area is wild and remote canyon country with no facilities for visitors.

There is a two track 4WD road leading east off of the graded road for about 2.2 miles from the unmarked trail head, then a right turn that leads for a short distance and the road ends. The walking along the slightly sandy road is easy and there are good canyon views to the east toward the La Sal Mountains.

The end of the road overlooks a side canyon of Harts Draw. The arch is near the bottom of the main part of this side canyon, and is not visible from the end of the road.

There are some hiker cairns leading down through a cliff area and then the route follows a small drainage to the canyon rim. The arch is visible toward the east side. There are more rock cairns leading down from the rim into a side canyon that allow a closer view. I went down to the next main shelf below the rim and stopped there.

The route continues further down into the canyon but appears to get more difficult. Aqueduct Arch looks like it was once a large deep alcove and the roof collapsed. There are other similar alcoves that are visible in the area. I scanned with binoculars for Ancestral Pueblo ruins in the alcoves but didn’t spot anything.

It took me about 0:45 minutes to get to the end of the 4WD road and I hiked another 30 minutes to the rim and somewhat down into the canyon. It was a relatively cool 70 F mid June day and I carried two liters of water. My total hike was 2:40 hours. Nearby to the Aqueduct Arch route is a shorter hike to Mug Handle Arch. The Chris Moore Guide to Natural Arches in the Moab Area is very helpful for finding these large spectacular arches.

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