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The Tunnel – Arches National Park
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Overview
Location

Arches National Park – near Moab, Utah

Sights

The Tunnel, Courthouse Wash

Distance

It is about 3.10 miles round trip.

Parking Lot Elevation

4142 ft

Summit Elevation

4262 ft

Elevation Gain/Loss

120 ft

Time Required

2 hours

Pets

Not allowed

Fees

There is an entrance fee into Arches National Park.

Water Info

Bring 2 liters of water

Best Season

Spring, summer, fall, winter

Hours

Open year round.

Sun Exposure

Shade is minimal as there are not too many trees or shrubs to block the sun.

Trail Condition

The trail is rough yet visible for the most part. It is narrow and winding and you may lose the trail for a little part. Just follow the GPS coordinates and you will get there just fine.

Restrooms

Yes, at visitor center.

Visitor Center

Yes, near park entrance

Camping

Allowed, in designated camping areas

Food

Bring snacks

Equipment

Flashlight, hat, sunglasses,

The Tunnel is a naturally carved tunnel in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.  It is a less traveled hiking route that offers something unique inside the park.

GPS Coordinates:

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Driving Directions

Just park in the small turn off just passed the Courthouse wash.  You will cross a bridge (if headed north) and the turn off is on your left side.


The Trail:

The Tunnel - following the wash

Following Courthouse Wash

The Tunnel is accessed by parking off the road in the small turn off just as you pass The Courthouse (heading towards the north).  There is a narrow trail that you can see right from where you park your vehicle.  Hike on this trail which follows Courthouse Wash for the majority of the hike until you come to the third canyon on the right side where the Tunnel is located.

Just before the first bend that leads you back north, there is a rock with some “cowboy graffiti” from 1917.  I have no evidence that this was sketched in 1917 or that it was even created by cowboys but I am calling it “cowboy graffiti” because I don’t know what else to call it.  It is on a large boulder which is facing south.

The Tunnel

There is a clear trail for part of the ways then we bushwhacked for a little too but it was overall an easy hike

There is a clear trail for part of the way then we bushwhacked for a little too but it was overall an easy hike

The trail winds around just outside of the first two canyons.  There isn’t much to see in either of those but if you want to check them out you can.  The third canyon is the one you need to go in to access The Tunnel.

You will quickly discover that the path will disappear at times.  We bushwhacked and even followed a game trail for a little while so you may need to be creative.

Here is the entrance to the third canyon you need to enter and head all the way to the back

Here is the entrance to the third canyon you need to enter and head all the way to the back

Once we arrived at the third canyon which was about 1 mile into the hike we then went inside the canyon to the very back.

Here you can see the entrance on the north side

Here you can see the entrance on the north side

After a little less than a 1/2 mile of hiking we arrived nearly at the back of it. The Tunnel then will come into view and you will see this nice boulder sitting right below it (pictured in the picture above).  It is a little steep as you get up to the entrance but it isn’t that bad at all really.

I think The Tunnel actually looks more like a nostril!

The Tunnel

The Tunnel or is it, The Nostril??

Inside The Tunnel

Inside The Tunnel

The tunnel probably goes in about 60 feet or so.  You have to crouch a little bit the entire way but it goes through the entire rock.

The southern side of the tunnel

The southern side of the tunnel

The other side of the tunnel is a little bit steep but manageable, just be careful.

Inside The Tunnel

Inside The Tunnel

The Return:

Head back towards your vehicle.

Personal Thoughts:

This is a fun little adventure if you want to do something different that isn’t part of the popular Devil’s Garden or Delicate Arch trails.  It is a great and easy hike.

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Difficulty
3.5
Technicality
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The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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