When we were in Arches National Park in May of 2012, we ran out of time to do the Delicate Arch hike (3 miles round-trip). Through an unexpected turn of events, we were able to come back in October. So we took the hike.
The hike itself is somewhat strenuous. Not as strenuous as the Fiery Furnace tour, but clearly more so than the walk up to Landscape Arch. First of all, you need to scramble up a large section of slickrock. Not really all that difficult to do if one has some good sneakers or hiking boots (leave the flip-flops at home), but somewhat of an aerobic workout if you're out of shape. Also, there are some paths along ledges that may bother some people who are afraid of heights.
When we got up to Delicate Arch, we were in for a surprise. We had only seen the arch from below, and it always looked like it was rising up out of a flat slickrock area, like out of a mesa. However, the arch is standing on an area with severe drop-offs on both sides. We walked up to the middle of the arch, but were always conscious of the drop-offs on both sides. That said, the arch itself is beautiful. We found that we wanted to stay up there and just admire it. (and also catch our breath).
Families with small children, older couples (like us), as well as everyone in between were there.
Oh, lighting for photos is probably best in the afternoon. I'd say sunset, but then one has to get back down the mountain, and it would probably be dangerous without good lighting. Our attached picture was taken mid-morning.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely!
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