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Mesa Arch

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

Why a Wonder: Mesa Arch is a spectacular arch extending past the edge of a sandstone cliff. The cliff face reflects and adds color to the warm light at sunrise which illuminates the underside of the arch.

Where: Mesa Arch is located on the edge of “Island in the Sky” mesa in Canyonlands National Park, about 40 miles from Moab, UT. Parking for the trail (0.5 mile RT) is on the left about 13 miles inside the park.

When: At sunrise, year-round. The alignment of the sun with interesting background elements will vary depending on when you visit.

Photography: Mid-April is a good time to line up the sunrise with interesting background elements in the canyons beyond the arch. Expect crowds of sunrise photographers every morning at this location, so plan to arrive very early if you want an optimal spot for photography. It is worth the effort to hike out to Mesa Arch in the dark to experience the beautiful combination of light and landscape.

Learn More: Visit Canyonlands National Park website at

© Jerry Whaley

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