When we left our campground, Zach and I decided to drive back to Vernal while Ryan and Lisa drove up through Wyoming. I wanted to stop outside Vernal for one more (short!) hike before truly heading back to Salt Lake.
Moonshine Arch, near Steinaker State Park outside of Vernal, is a short 1.5 mile round trip hike to a beautiful arch. Since we were hiking on Mother’s Day we weren’t the only ones out, but I imagine hikers often have the arch to themselves. The trail itself was kind of brutal – fully exposed with deep sand for most of the trek – but the end result is worth the brief effort. Tru was exhausted from the previous day, so while he started out strong, he quickly fizzled.
It wasn’t long before we reached the arch. An alcove behind the arch offers some shade from the otherwise direct sunlight, but we refrained from climbing in as it was already occupied. Instead we found a shaded spot under a scraggly juniper tree. Even though there were several families out, it didn’t feel crowded. But it certainly would have been more peaceful if we’d had it to ourselves.
We didn’t stay terribly long, maybe 20 minutes or so. We were both hungry and ready to get some food in Vernal. As we returned, we had expansive views of the surrounding area for a picturesque descent. While not a destination on its own, Moonshine Arch is the perfect detour on the way to Flaming Gorge or Dinosaur National Monument.