Rim Arches

Special portfolio by Alan Silverstein

NABSQNO 12S 523911 4116200 Utah     MAP

This unusual triple arch is high on the cliff on the north side of the San Juan Arm of Lake Powell at mile 76.6 from Wahweap Marina, just uplake from Deep Canyon. The arches have no official name but were called Rim Arches on Stan Jones' map of Lake Powell. Subsequent names that have been occasionally used include Eagles Nest and Peekaboo Arches. The latter name was suggested by a person who left a register at the arches, which has prompted Alan to apply to the Board of Geographic Names to make that name official.

The arches appear to have an unusual, hybrid origin. The main opening is a cave natural arch. Behind the cave is a large pothole that has eroded into the cave, forming two additional openings that can be classified as pothole natural arches.

For a view of the arches taken from lake level, see this Stan Jones photo. It is possible to hike up to the arches, as shown in the photos below. It takes about 90 minutes to reach the arches. Click on a thumbnail for a larger image.

There is a short stretch on the lake where all three openings are visible, as can be seen in this telephoto shot. See a 3D version.
Rim Arch trip
The hike starts in a small east finger in the northeast section of an oxbow bend to the west of the arches (see cove marked on this map). Pictured are Glenn and Marian Head.
Rim Arch trip
Looking southwest down the ascent route toward Navajo Mountain in the distance.
Rim Arch trip
Attaining the inside of the arch requires a scramble down into the rear pothole, as shown here.
Rim Arch trip
The door and the window that lead into the main arch, as seen from the rim of the rear pothole. Notice that you can see the "bathtub ring" across the lake through the two openings. The upper view looks toward Piute Canyon across the San Juan Arm. John Yockey pictured.
Rim Arch trip
Glenn Head stands inside the main opening, 700 feet above the lake.
Rim Arch trip
Early morning light provides a dramatic view. Alan says "I've crossed the rear arch over the doorway and window, but never had the courage to walk (or crawl) over the front one!"
Rim Arch trip

Alan writes:

I must admit having fallen in love with this remote hike and incredible arch complex. In particular, one September we moored in the oxbow finger, I took some people up to see the arches, and two of us huddled in the back of the cavity, barely out of the rain, during a massive thunderstorm just before sunset. We observed for ourselves what someone had written about in the logbook: During a storm the back pothole fills with a pond and water runs out through the 'doorway.'

Go to next Gallery feature - Ring Arch

Return to Utah Gallery

The Natural Arch and Bridge Society