Elephant Arch is a beautiful arch high on the red rocks in the Red Cliffs Desert Preserve.
In April when we went the wild flowers were beautiful.
Overall rating = moderate
Distance: 4.0 miles return – moderate
Elevation gain: ~600 feet – moderate
Terrain: mainly soft sand – difficult
Exposure: none unless you climb to the arch – easy
To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System
There are two routes to get to the main arch trail.
The first route is to travel to the north end of Main Street of Washington City. There is a gate here where you can park. This makes the total hike to the arch 6.6 miles.
The shortest route requires a high clearance vehicle and dry weather to drive to the Red Cliffs gate through rough dirt roads from exit 13 on Interstate I15. The main road to the gate is an extension of main Street and follows the power line to the gate. It is easy to get lost in the maze of roads in this area so caution is warranted. The hike from the Red Cliffs gate is 4.0 miles return.
From the Red Cliffs Gate walk 1/3 mile along the power line road to where the power line road veers to the right. Follow this road 0.6 miles to the Bone Wash.
Bone Wash is deep sand. Hike 1/2 mile to the point where the wash splits right and left. From this point you will notice a well travelled trail straight ahead up a long sand hill. Follow this trail for about 0.4 miles to the arch. This section of the trail has some steep sand rises making travel difficult.
As you travel up Bone Wash and then along the trail to the arch there is a high pyramid shaped dark colored hill that you head towards.
The arch is high up on the cliff face to the east. You can reach the arch by a steep scramble up the slickrock. From here you have excellent views of the surrounding area.
Here are some pictures taken along the trail.