Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Hike To Delicate Arch

Gopher Flats
May 31, 2018
Moab, UT

Joe and I have hiked the trail to Delicate Arch a half dozen times or so, and every time we turn the corner and see the arch, my mouth drops.  It is spectacular !  And a must see if in Moab.  It's probably the most well known arch in Utah if not the country.  That makes it the most popular hike in Arches with hundreds of folks making the trek daily.  Timing is everything if you expect to have some solitude while you take in the 65 foot free-standing arch and the gorgeous backdrop around it.  

With crowds and warmer...some might say hotter... temps, we were up before dawn, packed and out the door.  Sunrise was quite pretty as we drove through Arches NP.

 It was 6:08 am when our feet were on trail.  The air was cool and it was so peaceful.  And the best part, the parking lot was almost empty!
The trail is a 3 mile in and out adventure with about 600 feet elevation gain as you head to the arch.  It's a gradual climb, but the giant sandstone "hill" can be a bit of a workout.  Thats why I always have camera in hand...a good excuse to stop. (Insert winking eye emoji here!)  The views are phenomenal.

Almost to the top !

 In the picture below, you can see the road that takes you to the arch from the park entrance and if you squint your eyes real tight, you might can make out the parking lot at the trailhead about an inch to the left of Joe's hat brim.  

From here, the trail is a walk in the park ! A few rocks...
 some sand so look for cairns...
 and more slick rock, but its not so steep !
The next little bit is what I would call a shelf road if we were jeeping.  Here the trail hugs a tall rock wall on one side and a view of "down below" on the other.   The trail is a lot wider than it looks in the photo with plenty of room to pass folks going in the opposite direction.

 When heading up to the arch, if you look left, there is an unnamed arch...

 and on your right is Frame Arch. 

The rock wall drops away as you reach the top and there it is...the silent "WOW!" and dropping jaw.  It is one of those speechless moments when you don't really know what to say out loud.  

The park allows you to walk up to the arch.  Joe and I have done this several times and it is awesome to look up at it from the bottom.  Today, though, it was more about the beauty and enjoying the quiet and having "breakfast".  When we arrived at the arch, I counted 7 other people...making  getting out of bed well worth the effort to get there early.  

On the way down, I did check out Frame Arch.  It is so named because you can look through it and frame Delicate Arch in your photo.  
Can you see the person standing under Delicate Arch?
 It's all down hill from easy walk back to the trailhead.  

If time permits check out the wall of Ute petroglyphs dated 1650-1850 on your way out.  There are signs to point you in the right direction.  

It's a simple panel of horses, riders, bighorn sheep, and a puppy.  The rider and the pup put a smile on my face every time I see it !

Also, another point of interest is Wolfe Ranch.  The only picture I took of the one-room cabin was too blurry to post.  There is signage that details the history of John Wesley Wolfe.  

It was about 8:30 am when I snapped the picture below.  I was mighty glad we were done !  Check out the traffic, an overflowing parking lot and the "herding syndrome" of folks getting started. 

I am always happy to make memories at Delicate Arch.  And this day was no exception !  We were back home with coffee in hand surrounded by lots of puppy love at 9:30 and discussing our plans for the day !  Life is better than good, it's awesome !

So, until next time, we hope you have happy days and...

Balanced Rock in Arches NP



  1. It was most definitely worth getting up and out before sunrise. Besides a spectacular sunrise scene, you had glorious Delicate Arch almost to yourselves:) Perfect! I would love to see the arch again. I believe we will do the early rise thing just see all this beauty. Thanks for sharing. Your photos are beautiful. Love Frame Arch with Delicate Arch in the frame:)

    1. Thanks Pam! It’s always been one of my favorite hikes here, but the crowds are sure a bother! That was the earliest we have ever done the hike & we both loved it! Frame Arch is cool!

  2. Wish I had you as a guide/adviser - get an early start! I was somewhere in that herd of tourists, still a beautiful hike to share ... Totally missed Frame Arch - a beautiful photo you captured there.

    1. Thanks Jeff! Now you have something to look forward to if you are ever back in Moab. An early start is the way to go.

  3. I agree with you Gay. getting to the Arches NP and and seeing Delicate Arch should be done before sunrise. We were there also before 6 but we already had lots of company. But seeing the herd on your way down, was just another jaw dropping moment but you get to smile, for you had your moment with Delicate Arch.

    1. Amen! And we smiled all the way home MonaLiza.

  4. That is a most beautiful arch to view we loved it. Glad you got an early start and beat the crowds.

  5. You definitely timed it right! The things we do to avoid crowds...

    1. So right Lisa....thank goodness we are morning people!

  6. Replies
    1. It sure is Jeri...we never get tired of the gorgeous places we see!

  7. What's going to happen to our national parks--we have Yellowstone National Park in our backyard and seldom go--too crowded! Your photos are perfect!

    1. Thanks Janna. I don’t know...picking the right season and time of day is key these days to help avoid the crowds.

  8. We're planning on waking up tomorrow morning at 7:15 a.m. to get to Mesa Verde by 8:30. So, pretty much the EXACT same thing, right? HA!

    God, I wish I was a morning person.... I really need to work on it because you are so right. These crowds everywhere are for the birds.... We'll keep trying.

    In the meantime, I agree wholeheartedly: The camera trick works wonders when you need to catch your breath. :)

    1. We love the mornings Laura, but we also love a nap after lunch which I didn’t mention in the post...LOL!

  9. That crowd pic is how it looked when we were there in the afternoon so we saw it from below. I'm glad to hear that path along the edge is wider as it looks pretty slim here :-) So many places are glorious early in the morning. We need to start getting out sooner!