Overview: A ranger-led (or permit required) hike to a rare desert environment named for the reddish glow it often takes on at sunset, which resembles a furnace.
Start: Fiery Furnace Parking Area
Distance: 2 miles; loop
Maps: USGS Arches National Park; Trails Illustrated Arches National Park
Finding the trailhead: Drive north into the park on the main road for 14.5 miles and turn right (east) at well-signed Fiery Furnace Road (just after the Salt Valley Overlook). Park in the Fiery Furnace Parking Area, which is a short drive from the main road.
Trailhead GPS: 38.742929, -109.565722
During prime season the guided trips can fill up fast, sometimes weeks or even months in advance, so call in advance (435-719-2299) to reserve a spot. Because of the rough terrain, the NPS only allows hikers over 5 years old. For current information on Fiery Furnace tours, visit the park’s website.
Two defined trails leave the trailhead, but they soon melt away into a fascinating puzzle of crevasses, fins, and boulders. This maze of canyons may be one of the most difficult areas to hike in the park, but it’s also one of the most remarkable. The scenery, especially the steep-sided canyons and weirdly shaped rocks, along with several arches and bridges, is unforgettable.
The Fiery Furnace also provides critical habitat for many rare plant species, such as the Canyonlands biscuitroot, so please be careful not to step on black-crusted cryptobiotic soil (desert topsoil) or delicate plant communities. Try to walk exclusively on rock or in sandy washes.