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“Favorite Arch”
Review of Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch
Experience for Yourself
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Canyonlands and Arches Special
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A world-famous natural sandstone arch.
Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
328 reviews
118 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 170 helpful votes
“Favorite Arch”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

This is definitely the most striking arch at the park. The hike up involved some uphill stretches on slickrock and some areas with steep dropoffs, but the view up top is amazing. We went in late afternoon and I'm sure the lighting isn't as good as waiting for sunset, but I would have been afraid to walk down in the dark. Check out the petroglyphs at the beginning of the trail.

Visited November 2012
Thank Nyllie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
55 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Delicate Arch”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

We were going to view the sunset at delicate arch (just like the dozens of other people we saw when we got to the arch). Make sure you leave in time, not only because you have to be there well before sunset, but also because in summer, the parking at the trailhead fills up rather quickly. The walk itself was very nice, the hardest part is when you have to do a long steep stretch on slickrock. You can see the top all along the way but especially in the beginning, it seems like you don't get any closer ;-).
Just before you reach the arch, there is a nice part where you walk on a relatively narrow path next to a wall on the right with a reasonable drop off on your left.
When you are at the arch, make sure you take pictures with yourself on it (you can stand right under the arch) early on. When the sun starts to set, people want to make pictures of the arch without tourists ;-).
Make sure you don't stay too long after sunset because it gets dark very fast and there is no lighting on the trail.
All in all, the hike is very fun to do and the arch looks nice as well.

Visited September 2012
Thank Tijnvb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cedar Springs, Michigan
Level Contributor
111 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Must see when visiting Arches National Park”
Reviewed October 30, 2012

We chose to walk the shorter trail to see Delicate Arch. I was able to use my camera zoom to take good pics from our vantage point. Plan on seeing it when visiting the park.

Visited October 2012
Thank beachbum40w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ohio, USA
Level Contributor
446 reviews
154 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 826 helpful votes
“Go at sunset for one of the classic views in the park.”
Reviewed October 20, 2012

This marked our third visit to Arches (we were also there in May 2007 and October 2009) and our second hike to Delicate Arch. The first time we hiked it in the late afternoon, but this time were went for the sunset show. We were not disappointed.

The hike itself is a little less than 2 miles from the parking area to Delicate Arch and an uphill climb most all of the way, climbing about 600 feet. The first part of the trail (half or a little more) is over a dirt and rock trail that winds its way through the desert and up and down over a few small undulations. There are a series of switchbacks that take you up to the next feature of the trail, and open slickrock expanse. There are cairns that mark the route along the slickrock and from here you can get some interesting views of the La Sal Mountains in the distance as well as the end-on view of Delicate Arch.

Somehow when we came off of the open slickrock we took a wrong turn and ended up on the west edge of the bowl below Delicate Arch. While this made for an interesting view, we had to work our way around the edge of the bowl and eventually rejoined the trail. Not a made detour, but longer and a little bit of work to get back down to the trail. This trail did have cairns on it, as well as many other hikers, so it must be a common alternative route. However, I would stick to the main trail as it is easier and provides a better initial view of the Arch (more on that in a minute). So, when you get to the end of the open slickrock portion of the trail, continue basically straight and you should start seeing cairns again (my guess is we either missed a cairn or one got knocked over).

Back on the main trail…the final portion of the trail works along behind a sandstone formation that block the view of Delicate Arch from the trail. The trail is on a ledge that does have a drop to it and a warning is often given to folks with a fear of heights and edges that this may not be for them. Well, I have a strong respect for edges with steep drops (for example there is no way I could hike to Angels Landing in Zion) but this part of the trail was no problem whatsoever for me. The ledge is wide enough that you can hug the wall if needed and folks can pass as needed.

The great thing about this trail is the end. Once you get to the end of the ledge, and make that final right turn, there sits Delicate Arch in all its glory. Delicate Arch is truly one of the iconic sights in all of the National Parks. The sandstone formations around the arch make for a natural amphitheatre for viewing this wonder; the backdrop is sandstone and the La Sal Mountains in the distance just adds to the vista. You won’t be alone at Delicate Arch, particularly at sunset, but there is room enough to roam around and get views of the arch from various perspectives or just find a place to sit and enjoy the changing light on the arch.

The arch itself is fairly large, listed as 65 feet tall and it looks very sturdy viewed from the side, like when you reach the end of the trail. To get a better idea of the “delicate” nature of the arch, walk around the bowl to the “skinny” leg and look at the arch from the end-on view.

If you do come for sunset, make sure to have a light for the return trip. We left before the sun went down so we got to enjoy a beautiful sunset from the slickrock trail. Spectacular!

Note that the trail is very exposed, so a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and of course water are essential.

As mentioned, this trail takes you to one of the icons of Arches National Park. I think it is a wonderful hike to a simple magnificent Arch. Don’t miss it.

Visited October 2012
Thank OhioHick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangor, Maine
Level Contributor
50 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Such a beautiful sight”
Reviewed October 17, 2012

I thought with the name of Delicate Arch, that the arch was tiny or very thin. Even after seeing pictures it wasn't much to be impressed with. However, seeing the arch in person made me think differently about it. It was huge and such an impressive structure. The park has a great trail that leads you to view the arch. Was a challenging hike getting to see the arch in the heat but it was well worth it.

Visited June 2012
Thank 321GregB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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