Arches Trail - Castro Canyon, UT quad

Having just completed the Red Canyon loop of Cassidy, Rich and the Ledge Trails, I debated about heading home early or taking in another hike.  It is only 3:30 pm, and being July 1st, I am really enjoying the long summer days and cool temperatures here in Red Canyon.  I turn my car down the Losee Canyon road as I remember the short hike I had missed the last time I was in the area.  Arches Trail.

Arches Trail is a short hike leading directly north from the Losee Canyon parking area and Losee Canyon trailhead.  A month ago, while hiking Losee Canyon, I hadn't even seen the trailhead for Arches Trail until I was pulling out of the parking lot.  Today, I had no trouble finding it, and no trouble parking.  I was the only car in the lot. 

The trail drops directly into the wash from the lot.  Across the wide wash and works it's way through a series of side canyon wash beds.  The trail can be difficult to follow, depending on how soon after a good rain you are hiking.  Losee Canyon is a major tributary and will carry a large amount of water during spring and summer rains.  Use caution.  Soon the trail rises out of the stream bed and begins its climb along the side of the ridge.

I come across a trail marker that indicates the ending loop of the Arches Trail.  The sign says 5 miles!  I look at the trail, sign and rack my brain to try and determine if I am on the correct trail, or if there is a second trail that overlays the Arches Trail for awhile.  Nothing that I can think of.  I continue to hike down the trail, but then I circle back.  I don't have enough time for a 5-mile hike.  In my mind, I think I will have to reschedule the Arches Trail yet again.  As I pass the sign, I notice something sticking out.  Someone has pushed a small stick into the sign, I had not noticed before.  It dawned on me, the stick, is located right in front of the 5.  As in "point" 5 miles. Better.

The trail switchbacks through massive hoodoos along a fairly steep trail.  The angle of the sun dropping into the western sky it setting the red rock on fire and I am in awe of this stunning ridgeline.

The trail is working its way up the eastern side of a large wash and will connect just below the ridge on a cliff band which will lead the trail horizontally through the gully and connect with the lower elevation of the ridge as it descends toward Losee Canyon.  I follow the trail with my eye and marvel at what a sight this small canyon would be during a downpour.  I wouldn't want to be here, but the number of waterfalls in this side canyon alone would be stunning. 

I soon reach the "iconic" spot.  This is the picture spot that shows up on a Google search of Arches Trail.  And it is a stunning view of the windows and arches of Arches Trail.  

The picture spot is deceptive of course, it is impossible to get a good picture that truly reflects the number of windows in this hoodoo facade.  The colors blend too well together, and unless something is bright (like the sky) behind a window, the eye has a hard time picking the window out.  The trail also appears to walk right through the arch.  Also deceptive, on the other side is a drop off into the canyon on the other side. 

The set up is stunning, and I take a number of pictures hoping to capture in better detail the intricate nature of these conjoined hoodoos.  I fail.  They are simply too close to the trail, and any distance removes the eye's ability to pick out the details.  This is simply one of those "you have to see it" type of instances. 

The trail follows the rocky cliff band to a man-made scaffolding staircase which descends to the hillside.  Well made and positioned, the staircase drops the trail quickly back to the main trail and the ill-informed sign.