Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

While heavy crowds may demote this formation as a destination for some visitors, there is no denying that Delicate Arch is the iconic rock formation of Arches National Park, and of Utah, as it is featured on versions of the state's license plates. There is also no denying that catching this geological wonder on the right day is absolutely remarkable. If you can visit during cold weather, the wait for sunset can be rough, but the conditions tend to thin the crowd. The vantage point from Delicate Arch's natural amphitheater is a commonly sought destination for sunset photography given it's geographic orientation that very nicely frames the La Sal Mountains located southeast of the park.

The hike to delicate arch is rather straightforward, although the arch itself will not be in view until the very end. The trail begins from the Wolfe Ranch Trailhead, and a marked spur trail almost immediately provides the opportunity for viewing some Ute petroglyphs. The first half mile follows a well-maintained trail with only slight elevation gain. From this point, the remainder of the trail traverses slickrock. Cairns are frequently placed along the route to aid with navigation, but if the way is ever in doubt, continue climbing up the slab. After leveling off, the route will wind behind the north wall of the amphitheater via a man-made ledge that is approximately 3 feet wide. The hike terminates on the north edge of the amphitheater bowl, providing a stunning first view of Delicate Arch.

Visitors take heed of the limited parking available at the trailhead. Also note that water is not available after leaving the trailhead, and there is very natural protection from the sun.  

 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Stunning sunset vantage point. Terrific photographic opportunities. Iconic destination.

Cons

Can be very crowded at the arch. Trailhead parking fills up frequently. Visitor restrictions may be imposed in the future.

Trailhead Elevation

4,320.00 ft (1,316.74 m)

Net Elevation Gain

480.00 ft (146.30 m)

Features

Historically significant
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide + Map

Comments

02/27/2018
Throw a couple refreshing beverages of your choice into your backpack, pack a headlamp, and head up near dusk to watch the sunset. Stay a little while and head down in the dark. VERY hard to get lost (you won't be alone)
01/28/2018
Worth the hike, no matter the weather conditions.
09/15/2017
Learn from me -- Bring a GPS, track your route, and stay on the trail. I've found myself in some pretty sticky situations wandering around the Delicate Arch area during rain storms and in the dark. It's not safe for anyone when it's dark and especially when it's wet.
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