Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Arches: Broken and Tapestry Arches

Distance: 2 miles round trip
Elevation: 5,151 ft - 5,243 ft
Elevation Gain: 240 ft (cumulative)
Dogs: Not allowed
Bathroom at the Trailhead: Yes
Water at the Trailhead: Yes
Date Hiked: 27 April 2012

Broken Arch with the La Sal Mountains in the background
The Broken and Tapestry Arch Trail in Arches National Park is a great way to get out into the desert environment without having to take the more arduous Primitive Trail in the Devil's Garden area. You CAN get to Broken Arch via an open trail near Sand Dune Arch but you will miss out if you do.

The wide trail at the trailhead
La Sal Mountains
The Trailhead is located in the Devil's Garden Campground next to the second bathroom. There is water there, which is unusual in the park so take advantage of it. You can hike out to Broken Arch and return or follow a loop back to the campground. The loop is very pleasant and takes the hiker through a narrow pass between two fins that should not be missed. If you plan to camp, you can take this trail early in the morning or later in the evening, which would be pleasant indeed.

The Tapestry Arch Spur
The route to Tapestry Arch actually goes up and over this log, which is about 4 feet high.
 The signage at the trailhead does not indicate that there are two arches on this trail but there are. Broken Arch is the primary destination of this trail but Tapestry Arch is definitely worth visiting.   You will come across the later first identified by a sign indicating the arch is 300 yards (or 0.2 miles) away.  It sure felt longer than that, but I was already a little grumpy by the time I reached the arch.  The guidebook indicated the Broken Arch Loop was only a mile so I just grabbed my camera and nothing else.  I was very thirsty by the time I reach Tapestry Arch and still had a ways to go.

The route to Tapestry Arch is via a large sandstone bench.
Standing below Tapestry Arch.  From below you would not know it was so thin.
You can climb up to Tapestry Arch, which makes it one of the better arches in the park.  I also had the place to myself, which given its proximity to the campground really surprised me.  There should have been kids swarming all over it.

Flowering Yucca
Leaving Tapestry Arch and heading towards Broken Arch.  The sandstone domes are just out of frame to the left.  The sandy aspect of the trail is typical of the route.
After Tapestry Arch the trail wanders past three sandstone domes before coming to Broken Arch.  This arch is really not broken, but the crack across the span gave that impression and influenced its name.  When I arrived there were several photographers set up with tripods.  You would think these sandstone edifices were Oscar contenders for all the attention they get.  I can't disagree.  I'll take Mother Nature's collection any day.

Approaching Broken Arch
The route after crossing through Broken Arch
The route climbs up between a group of fins
The loop trail continues through the arch before entering into a short space between two fins.  This was a really pleasant park of the route.  The downside of hiking marathon is that you don't get a chance to linger and the Broken Arch Loop is really a trail you can linger on.  It is filled with interesting formations as well and a pleasing desert environment.  I on the other hand, was blowing through on a single minded quest to get back to the car and my cooler of Gatorade.  I had one more hike to do after this and I was ready to be done. 

After the fins, the route travels across a broad sandstone plateau.
Approaching the campground


Liliana said...

So beautiful!

Jan's Travel and Tours said...

Amazing photos above...keep up the good work!