Delicate Arch

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by jan&ray on September 9, 2001

Delicate Arch is the probably the best known of all the arches found in Arches National Park. It has become a symbol for both Arches and the state of Utah. Its image can even be found on the Utah’s car license plates. Ironically, while pictures of Delicate Arch can be found everywhere, the real thing is not that easy to see.

The trail to Delicate Arch begins at the Delicate Arch Trailhead. Before starting our hike, we took a little time to browse around the remains of the Wolfe Ranch. John W. Wolfe first settled here in 1898. This cabin was built in 1906, but was abandoned around 1910. Even today, this is an isolated area of the Park. It is hard to imagine what it would have been like to have lived here alone so long ago.

This is an in and out trail which ascended steadily almost from its very beginning. Most of the trail was slickrock and there was almost no shade along the way. Even though we visited Arches at a relatively slow time, we found this hike to by a busy one. It hardly seemed necessary to have rock cairns to mark the way along this trail - millions of feet have worn a slight groove in the rock. As the trail wound around the high cliffs, it was possible to get a first glimpse of Delicate Arch through Frame Arch on the right. This section of trail was blasted from the rock side and provided great views off to the left.

The classic view of Delicate Arch did not appear until the trail’s end. The trail has been designed so that the view of the arch is a grand finale. As the wall of red rock ended on the right, Delicate Arch appeared on the opposite side of a natural bowl. It was as though nature had made a grandstand from which you could sit and contemplate its wonder. Like everyone else, we lingered here a while, resting from the climb, enjoying a snack and taking pictures. There have been times in our travels within the National Parks when we have felt that we had seen a place unlike any other in the world. We had this feeling here, and truly savored the experience before retracing our steps back down to the parking lot.

Delicate Arch
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah

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