Circle of Friends:
Arches National Park
you have done all the tourist hikes inside Arches National Park and you are now looking
for a really cool arch, seldom visited, with no crowds and no trail? Rarely visited Ring
Arch might be the hike you are interested in. The route is easy to follow, requires only a
couple of hours time, and follows a cheerful stream much of the way.
Arch is part of the "Circle of Friends"
program. Members of the "Circle of Friends"
have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints,
trailhead location and detailed maps. If
you would like more information on joining the "Circle of
Friends" visit the sign up page.
"Circle of Friends"
Ring Arch is a wonderful
desert hike that will require 2 to 3 hours round trip. Elevation gain on this hike is
virtually nil. This route should be easy for any experienced hiker.
Navigation for this route
is moderate. There is no trail for most of the way. Paying attention to your map and route
description is required. Good map reading skills are helpful. This route is rated 1A I
using the Canyon Rating System.
You will encounter areas
of cryptobiotic crust along this route. Please avoid disturbing all cryptobiotic crust.
Stay on existing trails, walk in wash bottoms or on slickrock. Go out of your way,
literally, to avoid cryptobiotic soil. Cryptobiotic crust requires five to ten years of
undisturbed growth before it even becomes visible as an irregular, blackish mat on the
soil surface. A single footprint by a careless hiker can destroy decades of growth!
The trailhead is located inside Arches National Park and is accessible to all
vehicles in all conditions.
Ring Arch Facts:
Ring Arch is an old pothole
type natural arch, formed of Entrada sandstone. it has a span of 64 feet, a height of 39
feet, a thickness of two feet, and a width of 2 1/2 feet. The arch was discovered on March
31, 1940, by Harry Reed, Moab photographer and former custodian of Arches national
Monument. Slim Mabery, former district ranger at the monument, named it Ring Arch for its
In 1982, Gerry Roach
wrote a self published book titled "Arch Bagger". This was his first book and a
mere 300 copies were printed. The book is long out of print, and it is very rare. Ring
Arch was one of the 39 arches identified in Arch Bagger.
After Roach published Arch Bagger,
the National Park Service defined new rules for climbing in Arches National Park. Climbing
is prohibited on any arch identified on current USGS 7.5 minute topographical maps. This
rule presumably affected 16 of the 39 arches described in Arch Bagger. One of them being