Herdina Park |

Arches National Park

Hiking Herdina Park - Arches National Park Hiking Herdina Park
Arches National Park

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments


TICKS & TODOS: 4 Todo Lists / 0 Ticks
RATING: Easy to Moderate Hiking
LENGTH: 1+ hours
GEAR: Standard Hiking Gear
WATER: None.
SEASON: Any, hot in summer.
Tue Hi:74 Lo:48 Wed Hi:77 Lo:47 Thu Hi:80 Lo:51 Fri Hi:83 Lo:54 Sat Hi:80 Lo:54
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Tucked a few miles down a rough jeep road, Herdina Park feels a world away from the pavement and crowds of the main area of Arches N.P.. Due to the rough jeep road, this area of the park is not visited very heavily. Those that do visit generally just visit Eye of the Whale Arch and return. If you are wanting to wander, however, opportunities for solitude and beauty abound. I've visited the area many times over the years and have never seen anyone else and rarely even seen footprints.

For the experienced climber, canyoneer, or desert aficionado, the main canyon through Herdina Park, offers a fun and challenging route through the heart of the area. The canyon, that I'll call Whale Canyon on the map, is generally easy, however, it has one particularly exposed traverse to get past a dryfall. For the less adventure motivated, just wandering on the ridges or smaller side canyons makes for an excellent day out.

Note: When wandering in Herdina Park, keep two rules in mind. First, don't go down anything you can't get back up, and second, don't go up anything you can't get back down! The gradual slopes can be overly inviting at times!

Getting There

From the Arches National Park visitor center, follow the scenice drive 8.8 miles into the park. Just before the Balanced Rock pullout on the right, go left on a well graded dirt road.

The dirt road passes an excellent picnic site. Continue 0.8 miles from the paved road to a junction. The road is good to this junction. Turn right onto the signed jeep road and follow it for an additional 2.0 miles (2.8 miles total from pavement) to the Eye of the Whale signed parking area on the left.


Eye of Whale Arch
The arch is visible from the parking area, and about a 10 minute walk one way to visit. It is impressive, and a great feature to hang out under.

Whale Canyon
From Eye of the Whale Arch, climbers can head due west, climbing a small hand crack up to a tree and then on to the top of the sandstone domes. Once up on the flats, head northeast to the head of the prominent canyon. This is Whale Canyon. Not interested in the climbing moves? Wander south and west around the edge of the sandstone until an easier route up is found.

From the head of the canyon, an easy downclimb leads to a short section of boulders that prove a minor obstacle to pass through. The canyon gradually deepens after the boulders and reaches a minor dryfall. Downclimb this directly, or take the easier ledge bypass on the right.

Shortly below the first dryfall is a second more difficult dryfall. The bypass is on the right here as well. Choose your path carefully; at the corner are a couple of easy but very exposed moves getting around the corner and to easier ground. Experienced scramblers only!

Below the second dryfall the canyon is an easy walk, passing behind a collapsed wall section that creates a small cave before opening out on the west side of Herdina Park onto the open plain.

When convenient, go south up the sand dunes, then head northeast along the edge of Herdina Park back to the trailhead.


Printable Maps:

12S 621569mE 4286108mN

N38° 42' 55" W109° 36' 06"

Eye of Whale Arch

12S 621400mE 4285864mN

N38° 42' 47" W109° 36' 13"

Whale Canyon Head

12S 621260mE 4286072mN

N38° 42' 54" W109° 36' 19"


12S 621046mE 4285673mN

N38° 42' 41" W109° 36' 28"

Whale Canyon Exit

12S 620361mE 4284885mN

N38° 42' 16" W109° 36' 57"


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