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Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Broken Bow Arch is located off Hole in the Rock Road (HITR), 41 miles south of Escalante, UT. Broken Bow spans nearly 100 ft, and sits in the middle of Willow Gulch. This trail is more popular among backpackers looking to reach Fortymile Gulch as well. This hike can be done in a loop, but is just as good as an out-and-back hike at 4 miles RT. 

Many people often compare Broken Bow Arch to Corona Arch in Moab, as is has the same shape and slant. The main difference between those two are the crowds (you won’t see many people at Broken Bow, sometimes none like we did!). I think the trail is prettier to Broken Bow as well, just becasue you are hiking between large canyon walls whereas Corona Arch is wide open. This is a great hike to do if you only have a few hours, and are near The End of Hole in the Rock Eoad.
 

From Escalante, UT head East on HWY 12, then turn right for Hole in the Rock Road. Reset your odometer. Drive 40.5 miles, and turn left with a blue post signed “276” for the County Road number. Drive 1.4 miles to the end of the road where the trail starts.

Here’s a driving map.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

It’s a good idea to call the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center before making the drive. This is where you can also get maps, get your free backcountry camping permit, use clean restrooms, fill up on water, and ask the questions about the area. This is another good site to get more info on the visitor center.

Distance: 4.2 miles RT

Elevation gain: 138 ft (-456 ft descent)

Time: 2-4 hours

Dog friendly? There is a sign that says dogs must be leased but nobody does as long as you have them under voice control

Kid friendly? Yes

Fees/Permits? None. There is a sign that says camping permits are required, but not for day hiking. Camping permits are free however.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

One of the main reasons we did this trip – Sarah got a new Sprinter Van!!!!

 

It was so nice to be out of the wind and rain, and have our entire camp with us at all times! We comfortably slept 3 humans and 3 dogs. This style of van has 2WD and bigger tires, making it a piece of cake to drive down HITR road. This is definitely an upgrade from tent camping or backpacking, but you’ll still see me doing those things on here! I can’t give up my love of backpacking 🙂
You’ll also notice it was raining when we started hiking. You never want to hike in slot canyons while it is raining (they are quick to become flash flood zones), but because we knew this was a much bigger canyon, we felt safe enough to hike 4 miles quickly.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

The trail starts in the NE of the end of the parking area.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Follow the trail down, and keep and eye out for the one and only flat top rock on the sandy hillside. Stay to the right of that rock.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

You’ll see the trail drop down to the wash. It’s a little steep, so just remember you have to hike back up this section.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Don’t rely on cairns to direct you in the canyon. As long as you have a trail app, like Gaia GPS, you’ll stay on track. The nice thing about Gaia GPS is that you can pre-download maps & tracks for the area you are going, plus create waypoints among many other features.

If you even want/need GPS tracks/routes for any hike, you can email me at girlonatrailmail@gmail.com

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

At the bottom of the wash – continue hiking in a SE direction.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

These small sections look like the beginnings of a slot canyon. I’ll have to come back in 500,000 years to see if it morphed into one LOL.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

It’s easier to walk above those mini slot canyons.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

You will hike through some narrower sections of canyon, and those are really pretty.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Eventually the trail opens up, and you are hiking on top of a semi-mesa with sage brush. The trail will lead you down, to the now Willow Gulch.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Water is usually found here year-round. It’s typically never more than ankle deep, and can be avoided by rock hopping or staying off to the sides.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Surprisingly the water is very clean and clear – pawfect for the dogs to drink from.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Now the not-so-fun-part happens – cutting through a section of thick trees. It only lasts for a few hundred feet though.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Once you see this lone, bent Cottonwood Tree, you know you are close.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

As you turn the corner, BAM! You’ll see Broken Bow Arch.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

You can just walk in the shallow stream of off to the side once again. Follow the trail across the stream to get to the top of the mini mesa to have the best view.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

WOW! This arch is huge.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

The sides are really thick, and dark brown. You can get to the other side of the arch as well, by hiking below it, then up and around to the back.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

I headed over to the alcove, where it would be a perfect camp site.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Plenty of space for up to 8-10 tents and shelter from the rain.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

At the top of the alcove, looking back to Broken Bow.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

We decided to hike under the arch.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Keep in mind that we hiked this in JANUARY. And what does Lindsay want to do? Go down the natural waterslide into a pool of water – yikes! This would be really fun…in Summer!

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

Exploring the area – the rain was starting to come down a little harder now. I knew we had to hurry and get out.

Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

This arch was awesome! I would definitely come back, but turn it into a backpacking trip and head down Fortymile Gulch

.

Trail map to Broken Bow Arch.

Spooky & Peekaboo Slot Canyons

Hiking to Spooky & Peekaboo Slot Canyons

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Hiking to Broken Bow Arch, Hiking in Grand Staircase Escalante National Moument, Hiking in Escalante with Dogs, Hiking to natural arches

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