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gem icon Arch Rock [Suggest Edits]

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Arch Rock on the Margaret Lakes Trail is the only large natural arch that I know of in the Sierras (Not counting the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine). The entire free-standing formation is probably 50-60 feet tall. I would estimate that the opening is about 30 feet from top to bottom. The area immediately around it includes columns and balancing rocks, all of which have been rounded and smoothed by the wind. The area looks much like the sandstone formations in Utah, minus the brilliant colors. The granite here must be relatively soft, allowing scouring action by the wind.

Overnight Trip: Arch Rock is not well known because it is difficult to reach. It is 4.6 miles from the parking lot at the end of the Onion Springs OHV Route, and it requires a climb of 2500 feet. If you don't have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, then you have to add an additional 5.6 miles and 700 feet of climbing to walk to Onion Springs from the trail parking at Lake Thomas A Edison. Nearly everyone who hikes to the Arch will continue on the Margaret Lakes Trail to Frog Lake and the superb five lakes in the Big Margaret Lake area.

Note: The Arch is mis-located on the USGS topographical map and most other maps.

To reach the arch, continue north past the high point on the Margaret Lakes Trail. The trail drops about 250 feet and then climbs about 40 feet to another saddle. At this saddle, the arch is partially visible. It is about 75 yards to the left (southwest) up an easy sandy trail. It is a good place to camp. There is plenty of relatively level space, sheltered by large rock formations. No fires are allowed, and there is no water.

Gem Type: Rock Formation

Shared by:
Lee Watts

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Shared by Lee Watts on Aug 23, 2020. All Page Views: 41. Last Month: 15.