Delicate Arch Trail

Elevation: ?????
Location: Arches National Park, Utah

Impressive towers just beyond park entrance I hiked to Delicate Arch in February of 1996 while on a trip to Monticello. With Moab so nearby and the weather unusually warm for this time of year it seemed a shame to not do the short tourist hike to the famous Delicate Arch, seen on so many pictures and on Utah's license plates.

Amy and I headed into the park for the short three mile hike, which gains only about 500 feet in the morning. What got my attention immediately were some impressive rock towers as you drove into the park...which I still think were more impressive than Delicate Arch itself. Once we reached the trailhead we started along the gentle hike. A sign warns of the dangers here, but for any hiker with much experience there is nothing to worry most of the way other than watching one's step on the slippery rock, especially if it is wet. The hike is gentle and mostly un-interesting most of the way until near the end when you get closer to the arch.

Once at the arch the photo opportunities were plentiful. There are so many different angles that you can take pictures of the arch that you could spend a lot of time there getting just the right picture with the right lighting. We walked all around the rim and under the arch. Some steep slabs drop away sharply in spots, and here would be a good place to keep an eye on children. Arches National Park sits in a fairly warm climate, so hiking this in late spring, summer, or fall can be very hot, but at this time of year it was quite pleasant.

Delicate Arch, a Utah trademark The hike back was short and easy. It was a good hike, but even at this time of year it was reasonably crowded. I stared off to the snow-covered LaSal Mountains, and hoped to return sometime soon to climb some of these large peaks (second highest range in Utah). The hike to Delicate Arch takes just two to three hours roundtrip. Arches National Park offers a range of various hikes, and while it's not as impressive as Zion or Bryce in my opinion, it is still a worthwhile trip. Nearby Fisher Towers are popular with rock climbers, and Moab is famous for being the mountain biking capital of the USA.