Inchworm Arch Adventure!
Inchworm Arch truly is the quintessential “gem” of an afternoon adventure! Located about 50 minutes from Kanab out East from the road up Johnson Canyon. It’s close enough as to not require planning in advance, yet far enough off the pavement the crowds start thinning out considerably and you feel like you can slow down and breathe.
The drive up to the arch is quite a relaxing one I thought. The caveat I’d make to that, being the final mile or so where you’ll get your money’s worth from your 4-wheel drive. If Kanab is your starting point, head East towards Page 9.5 miles on Highway-89 then, take a left up Johnson Canyon. Watch for the paved road just past mile marker 55.
The history of Johnson Canyon’s white settlers traces all the way back to the homesteading Latter-Day Saint Pioneers, and it’s easy to mentally travel back in time as you drive through the fields and horseback riders putting in a hard day’s work.
You’ll pass what remains of the old Johnson Canyon Western Movie Set, and if you slow down you can see a number of the original milled log buildings which made up the set’s homes, shops and saloons. The paramount location for close to a half century’s wild west motion pictures including heavyweight, Gunsmoke. One of the most popular shows at its heyday around the world (granted there weren’t very many different shows on television back then), and still to this day the production holds the top spot as the longest running scripted production airing 20 seasons from 1955 to 1975, airing 635 episodes! Giddy-up Cowboy!
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9.5 miles up the Johnson Canyon Road turn off to your right at Nephi Pastures onto a sandy road. This point would be a great time to switch your cars to 4WD mode or unload your 4 Wheelers and ATVs as the road gets quite sandy. Drive up on this road #556 for about 8 miles. When you come up to your first distinguishing left, stay on #556. The road will drop into a valley where you will turn right at road #558. Drive for about 1 mile on #558 and then take the first left. There is a signpost that says “Arch” where you turn. Drive up this road for 1.5 miles and follow the “Inchworm” signs posted along the road. This road will come to an end and you will see a brown “No Vehicles” sign. This is where you park. 37.111699, -112.316811
Inchworm Arch was discovered and named by a group of Kanab Boys Scouts who stumbled upon it while on a backpacking trip. It’s name comes from its resemblance of an inchworm slowly crawling it’s way up the rocks as seen from the right angle. To see it properly, you will need to hike down the canyon from the parking area and position yourself just right, looking back West towards the arch from it’s Eastern side where you can see the double arch. After appreciating its beauty, be sure to walk around and enjoy even more astounding views and rock formations. And as always, remember to bring your trusty cameras to capture the beauty of this incredible place!