Eye of the Whale
Grand County, Utah
View this on the Utah Trailheads Map
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Moab
Nearby Trails: Tower Arch, Cache Valley
Trail Length: 9.6 miles
Elevation: 4,741 to 5,051 feet
You can take this sandy and scenic trail if you want to find some fun off of the pavement in Arches National Park. It starts on the eastern end of Willow Flats Road near Balanced Rock in the park and it ends about halfway into the Tower Arch trail. It is suitable for most 4x4 vehicles unless it is wet or snowy. If it is wet the trail may be impassable because of the sand.
If you start at the southeastern end you'll find a large sign pointing the way. There are a few sections where you work your way across slickrock, but it is usually in sand or dirt.
You'll see a large area of big rocks to the west, and this is Herdina Park. The Eye of the Whale Arch is in this section of rocks. You'll find a sign and a parking area at the hiking trail, and the hike to the arch is a fairly easy and short one. However, the view of the arch from the parking area and just inside the trail is scenic so hiking to the arch may not be necessary.
Continue northwest and cross the pipeline marked with PVC pipe. For reference, this is the same pipeline that is a large road along the Sovereign Loop trail.
There is a sandy section marked with a warning sign that may be difficult to impossible to drive if it is wet. If it is dry, however, it is deep but fun.
The trail ends at a "T" where it meets the Tower Arch trail at a sign. Turn left here to go to Tower Arch, or turn right to work your way to Salt Valley Road and back to Arches National Park.
Information last updated on October 28th, 2012.
From Moab, drive north on highway 191 to the turnoff for Arches National Park. There is a fee to enter the park, and the visitor center is worth a stop. Take the paved road through the park and turn left on Willow Flats Road. This is opposite the parking area for Balanced Rock. Go west on Willow Flats Road for a very short distance, and then turn right to follow signs to Eye of the Whale Arch.
Meet at the visitor center just inside Arches National Park.