This route starts at Columbine Campground in the Stewart Creek drainage. Driving directions are posted on the main Arc Dome page, and are supplemented by this map.
A Tale of Two Trails
There are actually 2 route possibilities from Columbine, and both involve trails. The shortest and easiest way is to follow the main trail (actually an old jeep trail) up the south fork of Stewart Creek to the large plateau just north of Arc Dome. The other option is to follow a use trail up the main Stewart Creek drainage to meet the Toiyabe Crest Pack Trail, which then turns south and leads to the top of the afore-mentioned plateau. While this route is quite scenic, it is longer and a bit more strenuous than the normal route.
From the campground, follow the trail through aspen stands and high sage for a little over a mile. The climb is moderate, with a short steep section terminating in a beautiful alpine meadow. Stay on the left (east) side of the meadow and follow the trail across the creek and up a switchback to a ridgeline. The trail bends left (east), and crosses about 1.5 miles of open, fairly level ground to the base of a large plateau. Follow the worn and steep jeep trail up to the top of the plateau (several hundred feet), and then contour to the northeast about 3/4 mile to the crest. At the crest turn south and head for the now-visible Arc Dome. After traversing another 3/4 mile of plateau, a mild downhill of a couple hundred feet is taken to reach the saddle before the peak. Follow the trail up nicely-designed switchbacks up the final 1000' to the summit. The total one-way distance for this hike is about 6.5 miles, with a gain of about 3700'.
From the campground, follow the main trail for 1/4 mile or so, and look for a fork to the left. Follow a faint use trail east up the main Stewart Creek drainage for about 3/4 mile, staying on the right (south) side of the creek. After a while the trail becomes plainer and crosses to the left (north) side of the creek. Several switchbacks are taken to reach the top of the canyon headwall. At the saddle, follow the trail south as it decends a couple hundred feet via switchbacks and then heads up an open drainage to gain a large plateau. At the top of the plateau, head south along the crest towards the now-visible Arc Dome. The main trail is then joined before decending the plateau, so refer to the last part of "Option 1" above. The total one-way distance for this hike is about 7 miles, with a gain of about 4000'.
During the summertime, bring enough water for the whole hike, and then some --- evaporation rates are high, and humidity is low. A good hat and light boots are needed as well.
During the wintertime or mid-season, expect some snow accumulations on the north slopes and drifts on the crest. The route may be seen from the valley before driving into the campground, so check out the north slope of the peak on the way in to see if crampons might be needed.