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Arches National Park Photo Guide: Off the beaten path (part 9)

The climb to the top of the Great Wall starts once again at the Courthouse Bridge. The time of the day will probably depend upon how much time you’ll want to spend. Getting there is slightly difficult, so I’d suggest spending most of a day.

Although you start at the same spot as Ring Arch, you will immediately take a right fork into a small wash. You will circle around and behind the west end of the Great Wall and will be greeted by a long tapering canyon. There is a trail for a ways, but the climb up is unmarked and tricky. It’s easy enough if you can pick the best route, but beware that there are many places to get stuck. To the Top of the Wall (above) shows what you’ll encounter.

CW Great Wall Overlook

I have walked all the way east until I could climb down not far from Balanced Rock. Most of the hike is easy on top, but there is a canyon to circumvent. Make sure someone knows you are up there. I typically carry a radio and communicate with my wife who won’t climb where it’s steep or exposed. The features and views make the climb well worth it as seen in Great Wall Overlook.

CW Top of Great Wall

There are numerous places shallow canyons are cut and dump over the wall, but as far as I can tell, not a single one can be climbed up or down without climbing gear. Top of Great Wall shows one of the many canyons.

CW Caramelo Crest

My first expedition up with my D100 yielded Carmelo Crest. I was so taken by the view that I scrambled down sooner than I needed to just to share my experience.

CW Great Wall Spire

On a more recent hike I photographed Great Wall Spire, which is an unusual formation in that it sits in the middle of the solid rock canyon.

CW La Sal View

When you venture out on any of the points you’ll be greeted with shots like La Sal View, which shows the petrified dunes below, and the cliffs that flank the base of the mountains.

CW Top of the Wall

Top of the Wall is from a more easterly vantage point and shows the Courthouse Towers in the distance.

CW Down from the Wall

As in all good adventures, the time comes to head home. Down from the Wall gives a good view of the Upper Courthouse Wash. If the climb down wasn’t tricky, it would be fun to find a high overview to enjoy a sunset.

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