Among the countless things to do in Arches National Park, Delicate Arch is probably what called you here. It stands alone, unsupported by nearby walls or structures at the top of a large sandstone basin, as if it’s watching over the park. It’s no wonder how Delicate Arch got its name (although it’s been called many other things before). This is the most popular destination in Arches National Park, and has become a definitive icon for Southern Utah recognized around the world. Be sure to pay this 52 foot tall arch a visit on your next trip; however good pictures may be, they’ll never do it justice.
Delicate Arch Hiking Trail
After 1.5 miles of moderately difficult hiking, you’ll be rewarded with an unbeatable view, and a chance to see the arch up close. On the way, expect to see petroglyphs, another arch (Frame Arch), and do some red rock scrambling.
Hikers beware, the Delicate Arch trail often surprises visitors by being more difficult than they’d expected. The entire trail is sun-exposed, offering little shade, and has multiple steep sections. Be sure to bring ample water, snacks, and sun protection, and do your part to protect the park. Please do not climb on the park’s natural structures or touch historic artifacts like petroglyphs.
- Length: 3.2 miles round trip, 1.5 miles to Delicate Arch
- Time: 2-3 hours
- Elevation Gain: 550 foot gain
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trail Type: Out-and-back, mostly slickrock, hikers only
- Trailhead: Wolfe Ranch Parking Lot Get Directions.
- GPS Coordinates: 38.735502, -109.520666
- Tips: Bring plenty of water and a camera, pets are not allowed
Directions To The Trailhead
Delicate Arch Viewpoints
As an alternative to the three mile hike, visitors can see the arch from two separate viewpoints, both of which are more accessible than the hiking trail. You’ll start at the same trailhead (Wolfe Ranch parking lot), where both viewpoints and the hiking trail start off. The lower viewpoint is the closest by, but a short trek to the upper viewpoint will provide a much better vantage point.
The lower Delicate Arch viewpoint is just less than 14 miles from the visitor center, at the Wolfe Ranch parking lot. Take the trail on the right to reach the lower viewpoint.
Getting to the Viewpoint: The lower Delicate Arch viewpoint lies just less than 14 miles from the visitor center, on Delicate Arch Rd. Get Directions
From the same parking area, you can take a short walk to the upper Delicate Arch viewpoint. The upper viewpoint is .5 mi away, and the trail leads up a fairly steep incline. However, you’ll have a much better vantage of Delicate Arch. This viewpoint is the best alternative if you won’t be able to hike to the arch during your visit.
Getting to the Viewpoint: The trail starts at the same parking area. Take the trail on the left a half mile up the hill to the viewpoint. Get Directions
Tips for Seeing Delicate Arch
Visit at Sunrise or After Sunset
Delicate Arch is the busiest destination in the park. If you plan to hike the trail between noon and sunset, expect to share the trail with many other hikers. For a less crowded experience, we’d recommend visiting the arch during sunrise, or after the sun has set. Remember, Arches National Park is open 24 hours a day, so you can get an early start and watch the sun rise over the park, or see the Delicate Arch’s silhouette beneath a starry sky.
How Long Is The Hike?
The Delicate Arch trail is 3.2 miles long, round-trip. While you may be able to finish the hike in under an hour, most visitors will spend some time at the arch. Allow between two and three hours to complete the hike without being rushed.
Don’t Bust The Crust!
Arches National Park is home to a beautiful ecosystem. Resilient critters and plants call this arid, unforgiving desert home. While it may seem unassuming, many areas of dirt play a critical role in providing water to the ecosystem. This biological soil crust (or cryptobiotic soil) is incredibly sensitive, and will be damaged if stepped on. Please watch your step, stay on the trail, and do your part to help protect the park.
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near the Delicate Arch trail, and start planning your trip by finding a place to stay