A short hike to a stunning, iconic arch perched on the edge of a huge sandstone bowl and framed by the scenic La Sal Mountains. (full description)
When touring Utah it is hard to miss the iconic image of Delicate Arch emblazoned on license plates, calendar covers, postcards and other tourist paraphernalia. But it’s only when you hike to the arch that you will gain a full appreciation this stunning natural formation.
During most of the hike the arch is hidden from view. It is only at the end, as you round the end of a sandstone ridge, that Delicate Arch springs into view. The sudden appearance of this beautiful arch, perched on the edge of a huge sandstone bowl and framed by the scenic La Sal Mountains, will literally take your breath away.
The hike to the arch is not difficult. The short, popular trail traverses a desert landscape along a wide, well defined trail for the first 0.75 miles and then follows a cairned trail up a slickrock slope with nice views of the red rock formation to the south. Shortly before reaching the arch the trail travels along an exposed sandstone ledge, which may be a concern for anyone with a fear of heights.
As an added bonus a 0.25 miles side trip near the trailhead visits a small panel of petroglyphs on a rock face near the Wolfe Ranch.
It is best to do this hike in the spring or fall when temperatures are milder. Be forewarned that this hike is brutally hot in the summer, traveling along exposed slopes without a shred of shade for the entire distance. Summer temperatures often exceed 100 degrees F in the park. If you do hike during the summer it is advisable to visit the arch either early in the morning or late in the day when it is cooler. In all cases be sure to carry plenty of water.