Delicate Arch hike

Moab and Arches
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Delicate Arch hike

Distance: 3.4mi
Elevation: 741ft
Time: 1.5-2h

Difficulty Rating:

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9.4 Overall Rating
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The most popular trail in the park, the Delicate Arch hike leads up a steep slick rock sections to the amphitheater surrounding the namesake arch. Typically underestimated by enthusiastic tourists, this hike can get really hot in the summer, making the already steep elevation gain even harder.

Delicate Arch hike Map

Getting there

From Moab, drive north along the 191, crossing the Colorado River until you reach the signposted turn towards Arches National Park. Pay your dues at the park entrance, then drive along the Arches Scenic Drive for 11.5mi. Turn right onto Delicate Arch Rd, and in 1.2mi pull into the extremely crowded parking lot on your left, signposted as being for the Delicate Arch Trail. Do not follow Delicate Arch Rd until its terminus.

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About

When to do

Year Round

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Yes

Family friendly

No

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Out and back


Delicate Arch
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Delicate Arch hike

After hopefully finding a parking spot, begin at the trailhead beside the two pit toilets. The path is very wide and starts out quite flat. You will nearly immediately pass by the historic Wolfe Ranch cabin. John Wesley Wolfe moved here to herd cattle and farm in the area. His sturdy homestead – which at one point housed himself, his son, his daughter and her family – remains to this day.

Continuing along the trail you will climb to gain a ridge. From here the path climbing along a section of slick-rock is clearly visible on the horizon, and you will almost certainly see dozens of other hikers making the same pilgrimage as yourself. Shortly you will step onto the rock and start the climb up. This section of the hike is quite steep, and totally exposed to the sun. Pack plenty of extra water!

Upon reaching the top of the smooth rocky climb you still have a little ways to go. You will weave in and out of small rocky towers and large resilient bushes, following cairns, trail markers, and all the other people on the trail. The final section of the path leads beside a cliff, however the Park Service have blasted out the rock on the ridge to be perfectly flat (and wide), so no one should have any trouble.

After rounding the final corner you will be treated to a stunning view of Delicate Arch. The largest arch in the park, this stunning piece of nature seems to defy gravity. A natural amphitheater has been created surrounding the arch, yielding a great place to relax and enjoy the view! If you want a photo of yourself underneath the arch, be prepared to wait in line. Return the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • Going early in the day beats the crowds, beats the heat, and gives the best light to photograph Delicate Arch without all the pesky people.

  • If the parking lot is really full, park at the end of the road and hike the 1.0mi back to the trailhead.

Comments

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PetraPk 2 months ago

Delicate Arch is beautiful but there are so many people, hard to take a picture even.

9.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Giedre 2 months ago

That's a must see, if you haven't visited the Delicate Arch, you haven't been to the Arches park at all! It's a relatively easy walk and the moment when you reach the last corner and the view towards the arch opens up around it just takes your breath away! Then fight for your spot for the nice pictures

10.0 Overall Rating
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1h 30m Time Taken
Wyatt Thomas 2 months ago

Loved seeing the Delicate Arches, even with the crowds it is worth seeing. They are there for a reason.

9.0 Overall Rating
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RocKing 2 months ago

Went here to see what's the buzz about. Beautiful place but it's too crowded

8.0 Overall Rating
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1h 50m Time Taken
Bao X 2 months ago

Very beautiful. Nice Arch. I took many fotos

10.0 Overall Rating
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2h 15m Time Taken
SteffWilk 2 months ago

Delicate Arch is one of the classics in the area. Sadly everyone goes either early or late as it's too hot during the mid-day. Crowds are really heavy here but the view is amazing. Don't expect to take a picture without other people in the background though.

9.0 Overall Rating
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2h 00m Time Taken
Otis 2 months ago

That's the most stunning place in the whole area. An absolute must-do. Take lot's of water.

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MaggieRoy 3 months ago

When you approach the final corner and the view to the arch opens up around it it's just breathtaking. And then it's like you have to wait in the queue to get the nice picture with the arch in the background as it's soo crowded!

10.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
2h 00m Time Taken
Burokai 3 months ago

Absolutely must do! Iconic place to visit

10.0 Overall Rating
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1h 30m Time Taken
9 Comments

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