Delicate Arch

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
1.5-2h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
5.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
226 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.6
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Delicate Arch hike in Arches National Park, Moab

The most popular trail in the park, the Delicate Arch hike leads up a steep slick rock section 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. The combination of the amazing views along the way and the level of effort you need to invest in it has earned the Delicate Arch Trail its place on the list of the best hikes in the USA.

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Route Description for Delicate Arch

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.

If you want to find other great hikes around Moab and Arches National Park, check out the Double Arch Hike or the Dead Horse Point Hike.

Insider Hints for Delicate Arch

  • 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 1.6 km back to the trailhead.

Getting to the Delicate Arch Trailhead

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 18.5 km. Turn right onto Delicate Arch Rd, and in 1.9 km 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.

Route Information

  • 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

Weather Forecast

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