Day 13 – Schafer Trail, Corona & Bow Tie Arch, and Gemini Bridges

Schafer Trail Moab, UT

A full day of off-road adventures on the Moab trails.

Itinerary:

  • 9:30 am Entered Canyonlands Northern Entrance to wheel Schafer Trail
  • 12:00 pm Began hiking trail for Corona Arch and Bow-tie Arch
  • 2:00 pm Late lunch break
  • 3:30 pm Back on the trail to see Gemini Bridges

Our Adventure in Moab:


A brisk, drizzly morning began to clear up, so we decided to get out on the trails. We made our drive into Canyonlands National Park to reach the Schafer Trailhead. Schafer Trail is considered an easy trail, but it does require a quick 1,500 ft descent over the course of just one mile. The switchbacks along a cliff drop-off here appear just wide enough for one vehicle despite it being a two-way road.

Schafer Trailhead Canyonlands National Park
Schafer Trailhead

Schafer Trail

Once you reach the bottom, there is an entrance to White Rim trail which requires a day permit, or you can stay on the road and run the rest of Schafer and out of the park. We followed Schafer Trail which was fun. There were some rock steps to claim and since it has been raining off and on we were able to find a large puddle to drive through.  🙂

As you continue out of the park, you reach land owned by Moab Salt Company where you will see massive, deep blue evaporation ponds. The Moab Salt Company allows recreational use of their property except for fenced off areas. This section was off-roading is especially fun.

Corona Arch and Bow-Tie Arch Moab, UT

When we finished the entire route, we were on Scenic Byway 279 which runs alongside the Colorado River and a set of old train tracks. As we drove further down 279, we saw a sign for Corona Arch and Bow-Tie Arch, so we pulled over for a hike. The hike is a bit challenging as it’s mostly vertical. We got off the trail somehow, so we did a lot more vertical than necessary, but we did eventually get on the correct path.

Gemini Bridges


After lunch, we drove north of Moab to the Gemini Bridges Trailhead. This trail is considered moderate, but it certainly required more skill than the other trails we’ve done so far this trip.

To start, you drive up super rocky switchbacks with steps larger than the previous trails. It’s fun and a bit scary. Once you level out, there are some dirt only areas and several other trails leading off. As you go a bit further, there are more rocks to climb over and since it was again raining more puddles!

When you reach the halfway point, there is a place to pull over and take a short 300-yard hike to view and stand on top of the Gemini Bridges. Gemini Bridges are two arches of about the same size. Right behind the arches, I found a large rock with a memorial to a fellow off-roader who lost his life there “doing what he loved.” Vehicles are now cut off before this point.

Tip:

  • If you prefer to see the arches from below rather than above, take the Bull Canyon Trail which you will see en route.

Once we finished up hiking Gemini Bridges, we made our way back. There is an option of going back the way we came or following through on the other side. We opted to follow through, which was disappointing as it was just a dirt road back with nothing crazy to drive over.

Tomorrow is last Day in Moab

Tomorrow is our last day in Moab. We believe we will be doing Fins n’ Things weather permitting. Once we finish off-roading, we will head into Colorado as far as we can toward Denver. This trip has been great and will soon be coming to an end. We have a few more days of excitement though.

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