Babylon Arch is a 1.5 mile round trip trail located near Leeds, Utah in the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. The route is very sandy and rated moderate with 330 feet of elevation gain. Sand Cove Campground parking area is the entry point to the trail. Four wheel drive is required to take the dirt roads all the way to the trailhead. Two wheel drive vehicles can stop at the Sand Cove trailhead and hike from here, adding 0.7 miles to the total trip distance. Babylon Arch is a beautiful hike with stunning rock formations.
The trail is relatively short but is composed of soft sand and slippery rock. Sturdy hiking shoes with strong grip are recommended. The path begins by taking hikers through thick patches of sand. The area is surrounded by a variety of rich red sandstone, each piece taking on its own unique shape. A subtle fork appears in the trail as the Virgin River comes into view in the distance.
Hikers are faced with the option to take a left or a right down a steep, looming descent. The more prominent path to the left takes individuals to the base of the Virgin River. The trail to the right is less defined but still covered in footprints, taking hikers right to the arch. The climb back up the hill is challenging but the extra effort is worth it to get up close and personal with the arch.
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Babylon Arch sits right at the base of the sandhill. The iconic arch is breathtaking and mimics a heart shape. The hole in the rock is nearly perfectly round. The structure is about eight feet tall and ten foot wide with thick rock walls.
Though the arch may look sturdy, many rock formations are actually very fragile. Chipped away at over the years by wind and rain, it is difficult to imagine what impact may be too much for the sandstone. Please do not climb on the rocks and risk breaking them. There are plenty of amazing photo opportunities available beside the arch at ground level.
At the end of the trail about half a mile past the arch, the path dead ends at Babylon Beach. The beach is a great place to wade and cool off. The Saint George area is hot, easily reaching triple digits for most of the summer. Spring is the best time to visit this section as the winter runoff creates high water levels. After enjoying the water, hikers can return the way they came. Babylon Arch is a short, moderate hike that offers stunning views of out of this world rock formations.
Written by: Lauren Kehoe