Arches National Park: Delicate Arch


Perhaps the one arch you simply must see is Delicate Arch. To get up close, you have two options.  The first is Delicate Arch Trail, a 3 mile, lung straining trip, that takes you directly under the arch.  I chose to drive on to the Delicate Arch Viewpoint.

This is the view from the end of the road.

The Viewpoint Trail will also test your endurance.  While shorter than the Delicate Arch Trail, you’ll still need to devote a good half hour, one way, to reach the ideal picture-taking location.  The Viewpoint Trail takes you up onto a large, smooth, and mostly vegetation-free boulder, with an unobstructed view.  The wide open rock face also gave me a chance to get off my feet, stretch out, and soak in some sun, before hiking back down.

The Zoomed View.

Note the specks at the bottom of Delicate Arch: those are the energetic and physically fit folks who braved the longer trail.

Delicate Arch is easily Utah’s most famous landmark.  You’ll see images of it everywhere, including on Utah license plates.

Delicate Arch isn’t the only view from this trail.  Turn around, and you’ll see the colorful valley you just drove through, and hiked out of.  For an area that seems barren at first glance, you can see an amazing range of color here.

This page is all about my first visit to Arches National Park, in 2004.  I returned in 2005 (in the middle of a rare rainstorm, no less!).  If you’d like to read about my second visit to Arches National Park, click here.  I also re-visited Arches in 2009, and made the hike up to Delicate Arch.

Note: This trip was first published in 2004.

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