Elephant Arch

This popular route is used by hikers and equestrians alike to reach a delightful arch hidden high in the red rock formations in the Mill Creek area north of Washington City, Utah.  Starting at the Mill Creek trailhead, follow the sandy, 2-track Mill Creek trail a short distance to the reconfigured Bone Wash trail junction (0.3 mile).  Turn to the right to follow a power-line road or a parallel, sandy trail, to the junction where it joins Bone Wash just past a city pump station. The route then follows the very sandy Bone Wash trail about 0.5 mile to the junction of the Elephant Arch trail. This single-track, mostly sandy Elephant Arch trail climbs about 70 feet before dropping to follow the wash to below the Arch (about 0.4 mile).   Equestrians enjoy this route which is well-suited for horses.  Hikers, on the other hand, will find the deep, soft sand in Bone Wash to be laborious except after occasional precipitation which firms the sand up a bit.  Bikers will find all of the Bone Wash and portions of the Elephant Arch trail to be nearly impossible to traverse on their bikes.  Interesting red rock formations are encountered along the latter portions of the trails, culminating in the beautiful Elephant Arch hidden behind one of the more prominent peaks at trail’s end.  The hike or ride to the arch provides total quiet except for the occasional screech of a nesting hawk or the call of desert bird.  The total elevation gain is about 180 feet and the total elevation change up and down for either route is about 300 feet.  Total distance one way is about 2 ½ miles which can be hiked in 3 hours or less depending on time spent exploring at the arch.  The route is rated easy for equestrians and of moderate difficulty for hikers due to the soft sand.  The trail lies entirely across lands currently administered by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA).

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