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Panorama from the high point near the arch

Top of the World Arch
Valley of Fire, Nevada
January 18, 2015

Unlike most attractions in the Valley of Fire, Top of the World Arch is out of the way and involves some routefinding, but the scenery throughout the hike is gorgeous and the sandstone arch itself impressive. To reach it, I referred to Ken's Photo Gallery.

Dinah and I parked at Parking Lot #1, the first one after Rainbow Vista. First we needed to reach the main wash below us. We did this easily by following a minor side wash. Once in the main wash, we followed it as it meandered around outcrops before ending in a blind canyon. We climbed out using a ramp on our left.

From the top of the ramp we followed low sandstone ridges to get around an enormous tongue of rock. After rounding the tip of the tongue, we dropped onto the sandy floor of a canyon. Several sandstone ribs came into view, but not the one that we wished to climb. We hiked farther up the canyon before spotting a likely rib to go up and over. The arch lay just beyond this rib on the other side of a basin, but hidden.

After coming down off the rib and crossing a sandy basin, we hiked up a sandstone slope. Soon we were looking down at Top of the World Arch. A short distance to our right, a high point beckoned. We made our way there to pose for a summit shot and taking a panorama (above) before venturing down to the arch. The arch isn't on top of a mountain let alone on top of the world, but the huge, white arch is well worth seeing. We viewed it from all angles before heading back.

KML and GPX Tracks


From the parking lot we headed southwest to reach a nearby side wash


We followed the side wash to the main wash (click for a larger image)


Hiking in the main wash (click for a larger image)


A window appeared on our left (mouse over)


The wash winds around the rocks ahead


It ends in a blind canyon but on the left is a hidden ramp


The ramp comes into view (click for a larger image)


Starting up the ramp


Looking down at the wash from the ramp


The ramp steepens near the top


After reaching the top of the ramp, we followed low ridges to get around the enormous tongue of rock towering above us (click for a larger image)


Looking back at the top of the ramp


On the low ridges. The wash on the right is hopelessly full of catclaws. Don't even try.


The end of the rock tongue is in sight (click for a larger image)


Going around the tip of the tongue


Looking back (click for a larger image)


Around the corner, the ribs came into view but the one we want is well back, hidden from view


We climbed the small rib above Dinah; it tops out lower than the others (click for a larger image)


Starting up the rib


Looking down the rib


Coming down the other side


The arch can't be seen from here, but it's directly above Dinah


Looking back as we head to the arch. Of the three ribs behind Dinah, we descended the middle one


Our first look at the arch


Before visiting the arch, we made our way to a nearby high point


On the summit


To the north are the White Domes with Moapa Peak setting the background


Silica Dome lies southeast


I carefully made my way down to the arch


Standing on Top of the World Arch (click for a larger image)


Dinah relaxes in the shade of the arch (click for a larger image)


Valley of Fire West 1:24,000 Topo (3.4 mi, 2362 ft, 387 ft)

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