DELICATE ARCH – ARCHES NATIONAL PARK MOAB, UTAH
Hike to Delicate Arch is a must. Delicate Arch is one of the most famous geological features in the world. The opening beneath the arch is 64 feet (19 m) high and 45 feet (14 m) wide, making it the largest free-standing arch in Arches National Park. It’s even more impressive in reality than it is in the pictures, so no wonder it’s high on top of many visitors’ to-do list in Arches. You can see the arch from the Delicate Arch view point on the road, but it’s really far. So if you want to see Delicate Arch up close, be prepared to hike.
From the moment we entered the park, we wanted to stop for pictures at every corner. The landscape was stunning and the the light was perfect for photography. We stopped once or twice. Of course we did, I just couldn’t resist.
We started hiking at 5:00 AM before sunrise with 3 little ones. This means crowds are much higher later in the day, so early birds will have a higher chance of a peaceful hike and a viewing of the arch with only a handful of people. This hike itself wasn’t incredibly hard (without kids of coarse). It took us about an hour to reach the end, and a much shorter time to hike back (probably 40 minutes on the return trip) because we could see where we were going and it was mostly downhill. We were happy with our decision to do the Delicate Arch hike during sunrise – we met only a few other people there, and it was a Sunday too! If you are looking for a quieter time to view the Delicate Arch, we 100% recommend coming to see it during sunrise.
The most beautiful of the hike is almost at the end, just before reaching Delicate Arch. Spectacular views all around! This part of the hike is a bit narrow and you have to cross the ledge, so make sure to hold on to your kids here. It was really scary though!
A Stone Icon — People come from all over the world to visit Arches National Park, and visiting Delicate Arch is on the top of many visitors’ to-do lists. In a park with over 2,000 stone arches, this particular free-standing arch has become a widely recognized symbol of the state of Utah and one of the most famous geologic features in the world.
The light opening beneath the arch is 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, making it the largest free-standing arch in the park. It has had more than a few names in its history, from the colorful (“Cowboy’s Chaps”, “Old Maid’s Bloomers”) to the prosaic (“Salt Wash Arch”). The term “Delicate” first appeared in a January 1934 article about the Arches National Monument Scientific Expedition, which described it as “the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area.”
We were actually surprised with how big Delicate Arch was. Seeing it from the perspective of the viewing area, it didn’t look so big. After deciding to walk under it, however, we became tiny little ants under the cover of this enormous feature!
My favorite section was at the very end of the trail. You walk on the narrow path along the mountain ridge, enjoying stunning landscape, and then all of the sudden you turn behind the corner and here it is – the most beautiful Arch of Arches National Park.
We made it!!! Before our trip, we were not sure if we could hike to Delicate Arch with kids in summer, but with a little help from the clouds, we could do this fantastic hike. And yes, you can do the Delicate Arch Trail with kids in summer, but try to avoid the heat of the day – go either very early in the morning or in the evening, just before the sunset.