Delicate Arch is one of the most spectacular sights that Arches National Park has to offer. Depending on how much time you have during your visit in Arches, you should try to see the Arch one of two ways. You can take the longer hike (3 miles round trip, difficult) or you can view the arch from the view point. If your time is limited, and the viewpoint is the most likely way you will get to visit the arch, come prepared with a pair of binoculars or zoom lens! Never fear though, this is still a wonderful way to view the arch and you might notice from the angle, this is a common way that it is photographed.
Sunrise and Sunset are the two best times to view the arch. During summer months, sunrise might be the better time to visit for those of you who try to avoid crowds. Sunset can often offer more spectacular light to get shots of its beautiful red sandstone.
Summer months are hot in Arches National Park and this hike does not offer much opportunity for shade. There are a few places where you can take breaks under some rock areas however this is very limited. Be prepared with plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen and protective clothing. There is a lot of walking up slanted rock face so a good pair of hiking boots that grip would be a wise idea.
Wolfe Ranch parking area.
3 miles (4.8 km) round trip. Approximate time: 2-3 hours. Elevation change: approx 480 feet (146 meters).
There is no shade on this hike. Be prepared with at least 1 quart (1 liter) of water per person. In some areas there is open slickrock with drop-offs. The first part of the trail is wide. This is for about the first 1/2 mile. Once you reach the slickrock area the trail is less defined. You need to follow the cairns. The trail gradually climbs. Before you reach the Arch you will follow along a rock ledge for about 200 yards.
Delicate Arch Viewpoint parking area.
100 yards (91 meters) round trip. Approximate time: 10 to 15 minutes.
In addition to the short accessible trail, another (moderately strenuous) hiking trail climbs one-half mile (0.8 km) toward Delicate Arch and ends at the rim of a steep canyon that separates the viewpoint from in the arch. (This is not the popular trail to the Arch, which starts at the Wolfe Ranch parking area.)
Your pets are not allowed on the Delicate Arch Trail or Viewpoint Trail so please leave them in a safe place!