Musselman Arch is located in Canyonlands National Park. Accessible only by a rough dirt track, it is best reached by a high clearance vehicle, but can also be seen via biking or a long hike. While Technically a natural bridge (it was called Little Bridge in the past), it is 5 feet thick, 6 feet wide and 187 feet long, while being 300 feet above the ground. It is hard to find country that is more impressively wild than Canyonlands.

Musselman Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Moab Utah


To get to Musselman Arch, drive north from Moab on Hwy 191 and turn on Hwy 279 (Potash Mine Rd) – it is about 10 miles total going from here to the arch. Follow the paved road to the potash mine where it becomes a 4WD road that should be navigable for most high clearance vehicles. Go past the evaporation ponds (if filled, they are of the deepest blue) and into Canyonlands National Park. The road will meet the White Rim Trail – make a left and the arch is about 2.25 miles. A Day Use Permit is required to enter the canyon in this way.

As you make your way on Hwy 279, make sure to see the Petroglyphs along the Colorado River. If you have time, stop at the trailhead for Corona Arch and make that 3 mile round-trip hike – it is a great arch. Continuing along Hwy 279, watch for Jug Handle Arch, which is right along the highway.

Shafer Trail

Shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Moab Utah
Shafer Trail

You can also make the trip to Musselman Arch by taking the Shafer Trail from Canyonlands Island in the Sky district down the iconic Shafer Trail which starts just before the entrance station. Again, high clearance is recommended. Don’t take the Shafer trail down if you are not comfortable with extreme switchbacks, long drop-offs and no guard rails. This road is not for the faint-of-heart or inexperienced driver. The arch is about 5 miles going in this direction. A loop from Potash Road to the Arch and then up Shafer Trail is a logical route.


The hike from the parking area is only about 300 feet on mostly level ground. You are on about the same level as the arch when you approach it.

Check out my page on Arches and Natural Bridges.

Shafer Trail, Potash Road Map, Canyonlands National Park, Moab Utah
Shafer Trail/Potash Road Map

IT pro by day, avid traveler and photographer by night.


  1. This is great information and almost everything I was looking for. I hope you can help me with a couple more questions.
    How long does it take to get to musselman arch from each entry point? If we choose a shorter or easier route, could we come out the same way we came in? Thanks for your time.

    • Pop Cameron Reply

      It is closer to the Island in the Sky entry point – probably twice as close, and coming in via the Shafer trail is very memorable. If you have time, I’d do the loop as it is scenic in both directions. Coming from Moab, it would be quicker via hwy 279, however. It will depend on where you plan on starting. As to how long, I didn’t time it as I was stopping often to enjoy the scenery. It is probably about 15 minutes from the Island in the Sky turnoff if you go straight there and more like 30 minutes from the Jackson Bottom Boat ramp where the pavement ends on the route along the Colorado.

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