Mesa Arch / Shutterstock Image

Mesa Arch / Shutterstock Image

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands: Complete Guide


The definitive guide to Mesa Arch! This article is for both first-timers and seasoned Canyonlands travelers. Everything from when to go to tips on taking amazing photos and exploring the area around this famous natural arch is covered in this article. Bring your camera and hiking boots; you'll want to explore Mesa Arch.

What is Mesa Arch known for?

mesa arch in canyonlandsShutterstock Image

Mesa Arch, located in southeast Utah, has attracted visitors from all over the world because of its stunning natural beauty. Located on a sandstone cliff in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park, Mesa Arch provides stunning panoramas. Millions of years of erosion have made the arch a picturesque setting for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Best Time to Visit

Sunrise and Sunset at Mesa Arch is good any time of year. Temperatures in the desert at Mesa Arch may exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Therefore, 60°F to 80°F in the spring and fall are optimal travel periods. These are the best months to go hiking. 

If you do go in the summer, then try to visit in the early morning or late at night. Avoid the crowds and have a peaceful time in nature by planning your trip during the weekdays or on off-peak days. 

Getting There

The arch is located on the Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands National Park. Once within the park, look for the trailhead markers for Mesa Arch. The trailhead is about 6 miles from the Visitor Center. You can find a map to the trailhead here.

Find your way about with the help of a park map or a mobile app. The park has spotty mobile coverage. If you need help or guidance, just stop by the Island in the Sky Visitor Center!

Hiking and Photography Tips

overlook at the top of mesa archImage from Flickr by 

When preparing for a hike, remember to bring water, a hat, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes. It's only half a mile, but you still need to be careful. Mesa Arch looks best in the golden hours before and after dawn and sunset. The sunlight streaming through the arch is breathtaking. Take stunning photographs by packing a tripod. Don't block the view of the arch for other visitors.

Local Regulations & Guidelines

Respect the regulations of Mesa Arch and your fellow guests. We owe it to future generations to protect this natural beauty. Keep in mind:

A. Leave No Trace

Leave no trace is a must in Mesa Arch because of the fragile ecosystem. Don't disturb the natural environment and stay on designated routes to avoid disturbing wildlife and plants. Leave No Trace is defined in our article.

B. Permits

It's possible that your plans will necessitate special authorizations. Learn if a license is necessary, and where to get it, right here.

C. Drones

Canyonlands National Park has a strict no-drones policy.

FAQs: Mesa Arch in Canyonlands

How hard is it to hike to Mesa Arch?

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park is a delightful, simple hike for all skill levels. The 0.5-mile round-trip climb to the natural arch offers spectacular vistas and a wonderful experience. Hike comfortably with proper footwear, hydration, and sun protection.

Are people allowed to walk on Mesa Arch?

Mesa Arch may be walked on, but we don't advise it. It can get windy, and there is a 1300-foot fall from the back of the arch. Please be careful and respect the environment. A trail leads to an overlook where you may take magnificent photos of the arch and enjoy the landscape. Stay on the walkway to protect Mesa Arch's beauty for future visitors.

Which time of day is preferable for Mesa Arch?

Sunrise and sunset at Mesa Arch provide unique experiences. The arch frames the sunrise, illuminating the canyon. Sunset casts a gorgeous sky over the arch. It depends on personal choice and lighting.


Visiting Mesa Arch is an unforgettable experience. You can make the most of your trip with the help of the advice in this travel guide. Protect the fragile desert ecology, comply with all applicable regulations, and prioritize safety on all hikes and photography excursions.

Mesa Arch's stunning vistas and fascinating landscape ensure an unforgettable visit. Explore, take pictures, and have fun in this fantastic area. Canyonlands National Park, here we come!

Ready to take the tour? Check out Shaka Guide's Canyonlands National Park Tour!

Shaka Guide's Canyonlands Tour Stops Map

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Canyonlands National Park Itinerary and Know Before You Go article.

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mesa arch in sunrise


Weather in Canyonlands - When's the Best Time to Visit?

Best Scenic Overlooks in Canyonlands both Sunrise and Sunset

What to see and do in Canyonlands National Park

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