Road Trips,  UTAH

Moonshine Arch Trail: the Where’s and How To’s

Moonshine Arch Trail


Take a screen shot of this. Service can be spotty.

Drive time from Vernal, Utah: 15 Minutes
Distance from Vernal: 8.1 Miles
Trail Length: 2.4 Miles
Gain in Elevation: 104 Ft
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: 1.5 Hours (including photography time)

Moonshine Arch Trail is a quick and easy hike north of Vernal, Utah. It’s great for beginners and the size of the arch is bigger than expected. It’s a taste of Arches National Park without the crowds or costs.

It’s 15 minutes North of Vernal, Utah, an 8.1-mile drive. Begin the drive from Cobble Rock Park, which is downtown Vernal, on the corner of Main Street AKA Highway 40. Head north on Vernal Avenue, which is also Highway 191. This will take you towards Flaming Gorge, and Rock Springs, Wyoming. Along the way is Steinaker Reservoir and camp ground. Keep going past the turn off for the lake, Moonshine arch is the next left, N 250 E. The turn off looks like this.

Moonshine Arch

Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Click HERE for Google-map directions.

I went in the afternoon to catch these storm clouds but it’s not usually this dark and mysterious.

Where To Start

You should see this mail box.

You’ll drive along a dirt road, through a gate and cattle guard, take the first left onto Molly’s Nipple.

Yup, that’s not a typo, they really did name it that.

There will be a few turns offs but keep going straight, and don’t get discouraged if you see this sign.

Stay to the left and continue down the road. If you see this gate you took a wrong turn. Don’t be alarmed, you just didn’t go far enough.

Where to Park

This is the gate you’ll want when the road ends. Park here, and walk through the gate.

There are a lot of off-road vehicle trails here, stay along the path and when you come to the first road where you can go either left or right, stay left. The right will lead you to another private property fence.

Trail Head

The road will take you down to this sign. It will feel off because you’ll be heading south and away from the mountain range but it’s getting you down and around a rough patch of earth that’s a safer path. Turn right and it will head back in the direction you want to go.

You thought I was going to say left, didn’t you? 

No worries, there’s another Y and here you’ll go left. Sometimes there are stacked stones to guide you but people tip them over.

The trail will look a lot like this most of the way.

Keep this view to your right.

And this view to your left and you’ll stay on track.

This is the first view of the Arch.

The Arch

Moonshine arch is a fun location to crawl around. The embankment is a little steep but there’s an eroded window in the side that’s neat and the view from the top is a great shot of the arch. Helpful tip: watch where the pebbles land, the dirt will cling to the rough spots, there’s usually enough traction to keep from slipping and sliding, or in my case, falling and dying.

Moonshine Arch trailMoonshine Arch Trail

Moonshine Arch TrailMoonshine Arch Trail

You can get to the top of the arch by climbing in between the cliff and the arch. If there’s ice, I don’t recommend making the climb.

Moonshine Arch Trail

Views heading back down the trail are nearly as good. It’s a quick hike, I got slightly out of breath but it wasn’t bad.

Moonshine Arch TrailMoonshine Arch trail


If you’re interested in free camping around this amazing world wonder you may also want to read 7 Tips For Free Camping

As per usual, I took way more pictures than I could possibly post on here so if you’d like to see more I have several accounts that I’ve posted more images on.

P interest

Happy Travels
See You Out There
Hey, look. It’s me.

The FTC guidelines requires complience from Affiliate Marketers. Assume the following about links and posts on this site: Any/all the links found on are affiliate links of which I receive a small compensation from sales of certain items.

Click here if you would like to learn about Affiliate Links and how I fund my adventures to keep Dashboard Destinations running and bringing you the best content I can. Wealthy Affiliates is Dashboard Destinations host site, and source for all my affiliate education and resources.


Please follow and like us:
Tweet 20


  • John Keldon

    Wow! These are some of the best pictures I’ve seen. They put me in a relaxed mode as I look at them. It must have been fun and quit a trip to find such beautiful areas to snap some pics. I would love to go to those places someday. Thanks for sharing such awesome photos.

  • ccav66

    Thank you for the trip down memory lane. I was there a few years back and from your pictures it looks almost the same. Well maybe a little sunnier when I was there. lol. When we went there was only 3 other hikers so not crowded at all. If you do get the chance and you have not gone yet you mentioned Flaming Gorge,great hiking and photo opportunities.

    • NJKuhr

      I love Flaming Gorge and am in the process of posting about Red Cloud Loop overlook. I love hearing stories from people visiting my home town. 

  • Bruce

    This is a very interesting article to rad through and  I like the idea of making so detailed, it’ll make it more easier for people to get through it and make it useful. Hiking is a very interesting thing that I do frequently with my friends, Moonshine arch trail  is new to me and I’ll be looking forward to taking that path soon. Thanks for sharing.

    • NJKuhr

      Absolutely, Uintah county has great hikes. It was settled by the Fremont people a few hundred years ago and the area is covered in some of the greatest landscapes and heritage sites. Petroglyphs are everywhere and The Outlaw trail is one of my favorites. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid used this area to hide out when they were running from the Pinkertons after a bank robbery. There’s a lot of history out here and the trails can take you back in time. That’s one of my next articles so keep a look out. 

  • Nath

    Okay! Quite an interesting a little more unique destination this would be. Though I am not too much of a trail runner or hiker, this would definitely be QN interesting one to explore considering that I value all I have seen here and they seem to be quite good. Surely an interesting one to me and I will definitely give a trial to this

    • NJKuhr

      It’s a bit of a hidden secret. Uintah county has everything the National Parks in Utah have without the crowds. This hike is short and sweet so even if you’re not a big hiker, it’s right near the lake and town so it won’t make you feel you’re going to get lost in the wilderness. 

  • Justin

    Hello Norma, thanks for this really nice article. I have been a lover of hiking since my days in college and I’ve been out hiking with friends on different locations just after we read about the climate and environment all goes down to having fun and experience. This is a real nice idea here at moonshine arch trail. Some day I’ll come visiting 

    • NJKuhr

      You should, especially if you enjoy hiking and being outdoors. The Uintah county area has all the splendor of the Big Five National Parks without the crowds. We got it all. Arches, rivers, canyon, great wildlife. If you ever have any questions about the area I was raised here and will be happy to help with anything you’d like to know.

  • Jackie

    I have heard of the moonshine Arc trail before but I have never followed it before because I don’t go on so many trips before but it would be nice for me to go hiking just around here with my friends sometimes. I like that you can give the description o how the trial goes. That’s pretty sweet.

    • NJKuhr

      It’s a great one, and not difficult to get to or hike. If you do please share pictures with me. I’d love to see them.

  • Abel

    Searching for things to do around Vernal, Utah I have come across your post. It’s 15 minutes away, so it’s a no-brainer. I have also felt attracted to this since it’s not as challenging as other trails.

    I like the dark and mysterious pictures you include in this post. Thanks for the info.

    • NJKuhr

      Vernal has all four season, I just happened to hike this when a late summer storm was rolling in. The fall colors are amazing, in the winter the snow fall is beautiful and wild flowers bloom like crazy in the spring. No matter the season this is a simple, easy hike. 

  • Leslie

    Hello there,thank you for sharing this educative and informative article on Moonshine Arch Trail.This is my first time of hearing about this place, and you did a great job with it’s description.The view of this place is lovely and looks great for hiking. I would love to go there one of this days with friends and families who loves hiking

    • NJKuhr

      The area has so many great hikes too, not just this one. We have a lot of great lakes too, if you’re interested in watersports and some of the best fishing in the world. Petroglyphs, dinosaurs, kayaking and paddle boarding. There’s really no place like it. Let me know if you have any questions when you’re planning your trip. I’d be happy to help and please share pictures. I’d love to see them.

  • Nuttanee

    I have always wanted to go to Moonshine Arch Trail. I wonder if it the same trail as those folks who are making the amazing moonshines or not. Anyways. Thanks for sharing the google maps direction, it is so useful. I am glad to hear that the trail is beginner’s friendly, I can really use that. Cannot wait to see the real trail, I am sure it is prettier than your pictures. 

  • Nelson

    This is a great hiking destination for beginners. I am beginner in hiking and have been reading about cool hiking destinations in the United States. This hiking destination is unique and one of a kind. The fact that one gets to go through the Arches National Park for free, in addition to the wonderful sights on the way, makes this trail spectacular.

    • NJKuhr

      This arch is a bit of a drive from Arches NP. It’s closer to Dinosaur national monument but if you’re going through Utah both should be on your list. 

  • luisalicea480

    Excellent article. It definitely serves as a guide of the place, where is located, and how to reach there from Salt Lake City, Provo, Orem and West Wendover, all located in Utah. What called me more my attention were the photos, that show different rock figures formed centuries ago. It’s a place like Grand Canyon, that receive many visitors yearly. The  only thing I disliked is that part of the route is unpaved!  But visitors that want to see rock archs, like me, will go there regardless! It is a good place to be out of city, and in contact with Nature. 

  • Christine

    The arch looks very dramatic. I had no idea this existed in Utah, but in my defense, I have not travelled much in the US, and I am not sure when I will ever go there for another visit.  When I go, I would absolutely love to go on hikes on these trails. With your very clear directions I think I could find it. :-)To see this arch must be an amazing experience! You also take excellent photos by the way 🙂

    • NJKuhr

      Thank you. Utah should definitely be on your list. Its the third most photographed state in the US. We have five national parks including Arches National Park. It’s amazing. 

  • caro

    Hello there!

    That is an awesome piece you have there. It is well detailed and clear enough for a good understanding. I have heard of Moonshine arch being a fun location to crawl around. Then, just learning that the embankment is a little steep but there’s an eroded window in the side that’s neat and the view from the top is a great shot of the arch. I hope beginners are able to utilize those helpful guides and tips to ride there successfully.


  • Christina

    What a beautiful place! And what complex directions lol… I wonder how many people have gotten discouraged and turned around simply because they didn’t know the right way to go. Is this usual for trails? The pictures are a great help and look very clear! Knowing my luck though, I’d probably end up going the wrong way just because I wasn’t sure where the road was and where it was just ground haha…

    • NJKuhr

      It can get difficult, for example this one is a little unknown and in a weird area. There’s a large reservoir that you have to drive around but that’s why I wanted to make the directions as easy to follow as possible but once you’re there it’s easy to find. 

  • Jamie

    This is so awesome. I have never really thought of that trail that you just showed here because I don’t really know much about it but it seems really cool to me that you can tell us about this moonshine grail and I think it would be very nice for me to take this trail trail sometime later.

    • NJKuhr

      It’s fairly unknown, even by locals. I grew up here, spent 20 of my 30 years here and hadn’t really known about it. It was this year that I went up for the first time so it’s a pretty neat little spot. 

  • Diane

    Beautiful photos! It makes me wish I could get there right now! Did you visit this location recently?

    Actually, I followed the links to your other pages, too. The photos are breathtaking!  You have some incredible photos and descriptions. Are these photos you took on trips to the locations?

    I look forward to seeing more articles on your website!

    • NJKuhr

      I visited over the summer of this year, The photos are mine, I love photography and traveling so it worked out well for me. Thanks for the compliment. 

  • Bolt

    It is a good thing to Travel across the world, see different places, different beautiful things that the Lord has blessed humanity with. Thank you for making this article every understandable, if is n way,, thanks for the understanding that you have instill into this, it is very important to read about, thanks.

    • NJKuhr

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a passion of mine to help people enjoy their trips more and avoid making the same mistakes I did.

  • Miraclex

    Hello Norma Jean, Thank you very much for sharing this review. I am very glad I came across this because it makes one aprreciate God more and more for creating such an incredible world with many amazing places.. Going through, all I can say is Wow!! This place is so beautiful and very easy for hiking. Moonshine arch trail is a must try for me.

    • NJKuhr

      The entire Uintah Basin is amazing, this is just one of dozens of unrated outdoor activities that people don’t know about. Things that should be national park quality that stay under the radar. 

  • Jamila

    Awww, I really enjoyed reading this article, by the time I got to the end, you left me wanting more. I love the way you took us on a journey. And the pictures are magnificent.  I’m from the UK. We do have some beautiful landmarks too, but nothing like this.  Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and experience of the Moonshine Arch trail with us.

    • NJKuhr

      Absolutely, If you ever make it to the states you might want to consider Uintah County in Utah, it’s even more famous for our dinosaurs and fossils than arches but this is worth a stop if you’re in the area. 

  • Williams

    Hearing about the moonshine trail hike amazing, and thanks for sharing this wonderful post about it, I have always read about hiking and I will love to start it when I have my vacation and going for a road trip. But I will love it if there is a guide that could help on the tour so as not to take a wrong turn.

  • LineCowley

    These are very detailed instructions on how to get to Moonshine Arch and doing the trail. The photographs certainly help one to identify the way to go. Moonshine Arch looks absolutely beautiful and is a must to visit if you are in the area. And with a distance of only 2.4 miles, it is a trail that could be completed after work in the afternoon as well. Or is there a time of the day that you would recommend as the best time?

    • NJKuhr

      This area has fairly temperate weather all year round. Snow in the winter can make things a little more difficult but it changes that landscape in an incredible way. The summers can get hot but it’s a dry climate so bring plenty of water. I did this in the afternoon in July because a storm was coming and I wanted the clouds for the photographs. Mornings are my favorite but any time of day is good. 

  • Mike

    Hello there! Wow, I feel like I live under a rock. There’s so many amazing and beautiful places to travel to and I did not know it is still within the United States. That Moonshine Arch looks like something I would want to add to my bucket list to climb one day. Thanks for posting the pictures to give a better idea of the trail.

    • NJKuhr

      The Uintah Basin area is a bit of a local secret. but it has so much to offer, Ancient petroglyphs, dinosaur fossils, kayaking, river rafting, climbing, and some of the best fly fishing in the world. It has all the outdoor attractions the large national parks offer without the crowds. 

  • lilywong

    I like that you include images to the directions you offer – makes the entire journey look more appealing! The trail itself is interesting, and the arches – oh wow! 1.5 hours is doable for beginners and from the pictures, I’d say the hike would be totally worth it. What other elements that you have seen out there that have captured your attention? Also, anything that a beginner should be careful of? Possible to bring along kids (about 10-12 yrs) as well?

    • NJKuhr

      Oh, it’s very kid friendly, the hike is easy and the Uintah basin has so much more to offer. Dinosaur fossils, lakes for boating, float the green river from Flaming Gorge Dam. There’s a great canyon for kayaking that has ancient dinosaur tracks along the lake side and so much history. Between the dinosaur quarry which has a cliff wall where you can see over 1,500 dinosaur fossils and if you time it can even watch paleontologist excavate new fossils, plus Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid used to hide out in the area after bank robberies and you can join the treasure hunt to find a missing cache. There’s so much that kids would love. 

  • Anusuya


    Specially when are trapped inside for pandemic, otherwise also. 
    what can be a better place than this to exercise and the amazing nature!

    The guide to travel to this wonderful destination can be a real dream.

    I have by Utah many time in a plane. 
    I definitely keep this beautiful ride in mind. It is so beautiful it will be printed in my mind.

    Thank you.

    • NJKuhr

      The Uintah Basin is a closely guarded secret and is easily overlooked. You should consider spending some time there. Hikes, boating, rafting, fishing and more dinosaurs than you can count. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *