Mesa Arch is an easy to visit landmark in the Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands National Park. This pothole arch spans across the mesa’s edge, framing a scenic canyon vista. A half-mile loop trail brings you right up to Mesa Arch, one of the park’s most popular points of interest.
A nature guide is available at the trailhead, and can be used to learn more about park vegetation and geology. The guide is quick to remind you to stay on the trail, a point you will see repeated through Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. This is because stray footsteps can damage the cryptogamic soil just off trail. This black crust on the ground forms the foundation for desert ecosystems. The vital mixture of lichens, moss, fungus and algae prevents soil erosion and helps support larger plants.
Just beyond the parking lot, the trail comes to a Y. Both routes lead to Mesa Arch, and the loop is equally enjoyable in both directions. As you hike, keep and eye on the edge of the mesa for sneak peaks of the iconic arch.