Circle of Friends:
Arches National Park
for something unique in Arches National Park that is not on the standard tourist route?
The Tunnel is a highly unusual natural feature that is seldom visited. The route is easy
to follow and requires only a couple of hours.
Tunnel 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"
The Tunnel is a great 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.
Follow the route
described and you will avoid areas of cryptobiotic crust. 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
The Tunnel Facts:
The Tunnel was first
reported and recorded by Reuben Scolnik in May 1979. The Tunnel is a highly unusual
feature. The opening is about 4 feet wide, 5 feet high, and the tunnel is 53 feet long.
Once inside The Tunnel you can see that water seeping between two rock layers played a
major role in its formation.
The trailhead is located inside Arches National Park and is accessible to all
vehicles in all conditions.
Enjoy a short video of "The Tunnel" combined with a technical descent of "Big
Horn Canyon" in Arches National Park.