Searching for Babylon Arch
A Fun, Family Friendly Hike at Sand Mountain
Categories: Family Friendly, Hiking, Road Trips, Utah
The Babylon Arch trail is a sandy but scenic hike from a sandstone mountain down to the Virgin River, south of Leeds and Silver Reef. Although it’s only 1.5 miles it can be scorching hot during the summer and it is a strenuous 1.5 miles back up due to being in sand. The trailhead is on a spur road about halfway down the Babylon Road. Babylon, which i have written three times already, was a town of Gentiles centered around the old Stormont Mill. The mill processed silver ore, an unusual substance to be mining out of sandstone. The mines and the road follow a groove in a highly tilted anticline.
We drove down the road a few miles past the turn off for the trail to look at some mines and rock art. The mines generally area uninteresting and either buried or gated shut. The petroglyphs were pretty neat and along a shady wall where a stream has somehow cut through a rock wall. I enjoyed the petroglyphs but from what i’ve seen I didn’t have much interest in visiting the old town site. There isn’t much there except some foundations and the burned remains of a vacation home built by former US State Dept. Official John Vought.
There are some petroglyphs on a high wall at a point where a stream has somehow cut through the endless rock barrier along the road. I believe the point where it does so was also the original Babylon Wagon Road.
Back at the trail as we descended through a maze of chopped up sandstone formations we were having a very hard time finding the arch. I think it was because the sun at that time of year was shining straight into our faces, making details hard to see below shady cliffs. We never did see it, but afterwards i realized i had taken a couple of pictures of it, but from the wrong angle. Not finding the arch was OK because there are plenty of other sights to enjoy along the way.