Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rock Creek Arch

The East Rock Creek Trail was formerly an unnamed seven mile side trail off of the popular East Rock Creek loop of the Sand Canyon Trail in Canyon of the Ancients National Monument in southwest Colorado, west of Cortez. In 2011, there has been some trail reorganization and the route has been renamed as the East Rock Creek Trail. Segements of the former East Rock Creek Loop are now called connecting trails. About 3.0 miles along the route there is a very large and seemingly little known arch.

The main trail comes around a corner and heads up the east fork of Rock Canyon. Suddenly high up on the right is a large arch. The trail head maps and information make no mention of this large feature and it was a complete surprise to see it. It is possible to work your way uphill toward the arch from the right. There is a faint trail going up that appears but it seems to start at a point before you actually see the arch.

I was able to get under far enough to get the blue sky through the arch view. This is a very large and graceful arch but there seems to be little information about it.

From under the arch there is a good view further up this short but wide and deep canyon. The arch is easily visible all the way around the East Fork canyon rim and trail. It took me about 1:30 hours to hike to the Rock Creek Arch and 3:30 hours to travel the 2011 East Rock Creek Loop.

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