I love the Arches of Zion National Park. Breathtaking in their elegance, these Arches often go unnoticed simply due to the shear amount of beauty that surrounds them. Jug Handle Arch (a propped arch) can be seen from highway 9 (if you know where to look) but even this arch which projects prominently against the blue sky, is lost in the multi-color eye stimulation of Zion National Park.
Special Thanks to Bo Beck and Tanya Milligan for their Zion National Park hiking guide. The link can be found under "other resources"
GPS track can be downloaded from Other Resources under "Trip Report".
Backcountry Route! Safely hiking backcountry routes depend on your own good judgment, adequate preparation, and constant attention to your surroundings. Your safety is your responsibility.
Jug Handle Arch is located in East Zion. Proceed North on Highway 9 toward Mt. Carmel Junction. Parking is 1.9 miles East of the small tunnel. This parking lot is used for Keyhole Slot Canyon and is usually crowded with cars. A small pullout further East (holds about 4 cars) makes for the ideal parking spot.
At this small parking spot, look directly North where the white sandstone peninsula meets the sky. The Arch is located on the right hand side.
Avoid this hike in the extreme heat of summer, full sun and little shade make this hike ideal for spring, fall or winter. Take plenty of water 2 - 3 liter for the longer view or summit hike.
Jug Handle Arch hike can be divided into two different types; view and summit.
The best and easiest view point is directly up the wash to the Hoodoo's at the saddle. This 1/2 mile round trip hike is moderate, but the view into Keyhole Canyon and the view of Jug Handle Arch is worth it. The second view point is located just below the Arch on the distinctive white slickrock ridge. This 3rd class scramble allows you to reach an ideal viewpoint just below and to the left of the arch.
Jug Handle Arch summit hike requires you to drop into the drainage to the left, bushwacking and steep loose footing will require the use of your hands to help reach the top. Remember everything in the desert is pointed, I'd recommend gloves.
The best place to take a picture is 50 feet further North, from the Jug Handle Arch, this advantage point allows the hollow center of the arch to be seen more clearly.
Use extreme caution and stay away from the very edge of the peninsula, the rock is very weak and could crumble at any moment.