Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

4.8
#1 of 17 in Things to do in Canyonlands National Park
Mesa Arch is located in Canyonlands National Park. Work out when and for how long to visit Mesa Arch and other Canyonlands National Park attractions using our handy Canyonlands National Park trip itinerary app .
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Mesa Arch Reviews
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4.8
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  • Not much of a hike on this trail but the end point is usually pretty amazing. We had the place to ourselves for a while which was great and even though the view beyond and below the arch was completel...  more »
  • Pohodova and nenáročna walk. If you are in the sector of the island in the sky is definitely the place. Beautiful views of the canyons.
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  • One of the most beautiful arches to see in Island in the Sky. The elevated view is impressive, it dominates the whole Valley
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  • Great hike, short enough distance that we did it with kids in January and loved it. Rewarding to have a beautiful arch at the end. Great views and pics to be had. We will definitely do it again.
  • Iconic location for photography. It's smaller than I expected and it's always packed with photographers so be prepared to battle it out. The sunrise is worth getting up early for though. Just make sure you get there by 4am at the latest. There is a 10-minute hike from the car park so make sure you have a torch or flashlight with you.
  • This is a must see if you're in the Moab area, it's certainly worth the hype and crowds to witness this arch light up in an ethereal glow at sunrise. Try to arrive at least an hour early, if possible 2 hours early to nab your spot. I visited on a week day after the labor day rush died down, and I still had to elbow my way in at 4:30am. As far as recommendations for gear, this is a relatively wide arch and you need to get right up to the edge to avoid getting people or tripod legs in your shot. 20mm on a full frame camera is the minimum requirement, try to shoot with a 14 or 16. I shot with a 21mm lens and found it definitely wasn't enough, so I composed a vertical panorama with 6 frames. If you're going to use this method, it's imperative that your lens is low distortion and you have your tripod completely level. Even then I had to do a ton of cropping and distortion correction. The dynamic range is another issue, try to bracket your shots because you'll want that extra exposure information when you're processing your images later. I bracketed at 3 stop exposure increments.
  • Stunning sunrise view, however photographers be prepared for disappointment due to a crowd and inconsiderate people sitting far too close to the arch to get a good shot in the magic moments. Short walk in the dark an hour before sunrise and as expected there was already a crowd - the problem was everyone was sitting so close to the edge there was no way to get a photo of the arch itself. It was quite infuriating to be honest. Overall worth it for the view and some nice photos, just don't expect to get the 'classic' shot unless you're very lucky or arrive many hours before sunrise and don't move.
  • At sunrise Mesa Arch is the most heavenly place on Earth. For ten minutes it is absolutely sublime. Can get crowded though. Go on a cold winter morning.

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Where to stay in Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park offers camping in two first-come, first-served campgrounds and various primitive sites throughout the park. Most park visitors opt to stay in the nearby town of Moab, which offers plenty of places to rest in the form of national chain motels, rustic inns with a Southwestern vibe, and lodges. A few bed and breakfasts sit north and south of town on the way to the park, and a couple of ranches and lodges lie a bit farther from town, offering more luxurious digs in the majestic setting of southern Utah's high desert.
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