Delicate Arch Hiking Trail - Arches National Park
Let me start by saying, this is one of the most beautiful Arches you will ever see, but oh boy what a hike! The Delicate Arch trail is one of the most strenuous trails, and for good reason. The length of the trail is 3 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 480 feet. I don't think it is the length of the trail or the elevation gain that makes this trail so strenuous; it's because there is no shade to keep you out of the hot desert sun. Be sure to carry at least one quart of water per person or some other kind of Hydration System. If you have little kids hiking with you, plan on carrying them before this hike is over.
The first half-mile of the trail is a wide well - defined trail that offers a few points of interest, The Wolfe Ranch Historical Site and some Ute Indian Petroglyphs. The next mile is your usual gravel based winding trail, with nothing of significance to impede your way, and then the climb begins. Welcome to slick rock Moab, the trail from this point is marked with cairns, and this is when you will start to feel the heat. There is a large face that seems to be one gigantic smooth rock.
The elevation at this point climbs rapidly, so don't let the smooth fool you. As you come to the top, the trail circles around behind a hill, and if you hit it at the right time of day there may be some shade from the rock walls to the east and west. The trail is very busy so feel lucky if you happen into one of the shady spots.
When you reach the last 200 yards of the trail you will have to navigate a narrow ledge, that has a steep drop to one side, and a sheer wall on the other. The ledge itself is about 8' wide so there is plenty of room to pass other hikers, however for those with a fear of heights I recommend you take the inside lane.
At last we have reached our destination, one of the most photographed arches in the world. It is well worth the hike, and there is a large open area to just hang out, rest, picnic, take photos, and enjoy the beauty courtesy of mother nature!
Nearby Lodging / Campgrounds:
Arches National Park
PO Box 907
Moab, UT 84532
Visitor Information: (435) 719-2299
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