The Ultimate Guide To The Delicate Arch Hike

I have been to Utah, United States a couple of times and the Delicate Arch photos are everywhere. I yearned to see this imposing yet elegant formation, thousands of people come to see every year. When we finally got to see this world-famous arch, it was just as magical and as beautiful as the pictures were. I decided to make an ultimate blog post about this fun, beautiful, Delicate Arch Hike! This trail is one of the most famous ones in Utah so you definitely need to read up on this to avoid the crowds! Enjoy my friends 🙂

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, I may receive a small commission (for which I am very grateful for) at no extra cost to you.

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Delicate Arch Trail Map

Credit Google Maps

The map above shows the area around The Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. As you can see, you can attempt an easy, Delicate Arch Viewpoint trail, or you can try the strenuous Delicate Arch Hike. For more information on the Delicate Arch Map Click Here to head to the National Park Service Website. For more details of other Arches National Park Hikes click here. There is also another really cool Arch Hike west of Moab that is worth a visit. You can read more about it here.

Note: From April 1 to October 31st, 2023 Arches will implement a pilot timed entry system to help manage traffic and improve visitor experiences. I am so excited about this because the park was already crowded in the winter, so I can’t even imagine how it is in the spring and summer. Reserve your tickets here.

Best Time To Visit The Delicate Arch Arches National Park

  • Summer: This is still a popular time to visit Arches National Park, but it might be miserable with temperatures rising to 100 degrees F some days.
  • Fall: One of the most popular times to go, so it will be crowded! But the temperatures are mild.
  • Winter: If you want this park without the crowds then this is the time to go! You might also get lucky and see the area blanketed with snow.
  • Spring: One of the most popular times to go, so there will be crowds! But the temperatures are mild.

What To Pack For The Delicate Arch Utah

  1. Sunscreen: This is needed all year long! >Buy some sunscreen, so you don’t accidentally burn!
  2. Hiking Boots/Shoes: Hiking shoes or boots are needed for The Delicate Arch. Don’t hurt your feet hiking in regular tennis shoes.  >Buy my Hiking Shoes
  3. Hiking socks: Having the correct socks helps you prevent getting blisters. Smart Wool is probably my favorite brand out there. 🙂 >Buy Hiking Socks
  4. Refillable water bottle: I always bring a Hydroflask on all my adventures. They are on the heavier side, but I know for a fact they will not break. I have had a few cheap water bottles break on me before. >Check Prices Now
  5. Water Reservoir: Water reservoirs help prevent me from getting dehydrated while hiking. The great thing about this reservoir is that it doesn’t have the plastic taste. >Here Is My Water Reservoir
  6. Water: Hiking, for sure, requires water.
  7. Sunglasses: I usually wear the most fashionable sunglasses when I hike. 🙂 >Check Out These Sunglasses
  8. Snacks: The best snacks are jerky, nuts, energy bars for hiking. >Clif Bars are great for hiking so click HERE.
  9. Trekking Poles: This is an optional product, but they help with the knees. The poles I have listed are known to be one of the best in the market. >Buy My Trekking Poles Here
  10. Camera: I have linked the camera I used to take pictures of Capitol Reef. The Sony A6000 is an excellent camera for people that want to start improving at travel photography.  >Buy Sony Camera Here
  11. First Aid Kit: This is one of the first things I bought when I first started backpacking and camping. It is super portable. >Buy This Awesome First Aid Kit Here
  12. Day Pack: The REI bag I have linked, we have had for seven years now, and it is still going strong! >Buy This Great Quality Backpack
  13. Good hiking pants or shorts: These are probably the best hiking pants that I have found. If you are hiking in the summer bring some shorts. It will get hot! >Buy my hiking pants here
  14. Breathable sweat-wicking shirts: I love this one; it is super cute! >>Check It Out Here
  15. Sports Bra: For women.
  16. Jacket: Only bring in the wintertime and fall. >Buy My Favorite Jacket
  17. Tripod: This is an optional item, but it is excellent for getting the perfect sunset pictures. >Check out this tripod
  18. Headlamp: Just in case you get stuck hiking at night! >Buy A Headlamp Now
  19. Map: I love the National Geographic series. >>>Check It Out Here

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Lodging Near Arches National Park

Just in case you have not picked a hotel yet, here are some great places to stay at in Moab. There are no hotels in Arches National Park.

  • Red Cliffs Lodge has the impressive sunset views of the Colorado River, especially with your private patio. The area includes a winery, a western film museum, a horse corral, and an outdoor pool and gym. Yeah, this place has it all. >Check For Prices
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott Moab has more of a modern feel, has a hot tub, free wifi, a fitness center, mountain views, and an outdoor pool. >Check For Prices
  • Expedition Lodge is a budget-friendly hotel with a swimming pool with a waterslide, and a hot tub. There is also an option for private rooms for up to 6 people. A perfect choice for a family vacation. >Check For Prices

Read More: Where to Stay in Moab, Utah – 12 Best Hotels, Lodges & Rentals

The Delicate Arch Hike

  • Distance: 3.0 Miles Roundtrip
  • Delicate Arch Elevation Change: 610 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Delicate Arch Height: 52 ft
  • Trail Guide: Click Here

The trail to Delicate Arch began with a cute little cabin called Wolfe Ranch Cabin. The cabin was built by John Wesley Wolfe in 1906 when his grown daughter asked him to create a new house because she was appalled by the living conditions at his ranch. When he finished building the cabin, the family of six, lived in the small 17’x15′ house. After the Wolfe family, the cabin was passed down to a couple of other owners before it was sold to the U.S. government.

The beginning of the trail was casual, but eventually, you will get a slick rock area in the middle of the hike (about a mile in). The smooth rock was the most challenging part for me. The elevation gain gets a little out of control.

Eventually, the trail levels out and the views become magnificent. Below were the views right before getting to the Arch. I got lost towards the end of the hike. I didn’t know where to go, but luckily, I found my way around. There is a massive rock wall that you have to walk next to, to get to the arch. If you walk on the ledge of the rock wall, you won’t get lost.

Once you finally get to the arch, take in the beauty! You worked hard for this! Take pictures underneath it and next to it. Take a framed photo, eat lunch or breakfast. Whatever you do enjoy your time with this graceful structure.

When we arrived at the Delicate Arch area, I noticed that we were the only people in sight. It was such a relief to finally get to the monument and be the only people there. Being able to experience this graceful structure at the first blush of light was such a happy moment for me. The morning felt mystical, hazy, and surreal.

Delicate Arch Sunrise

Ok so you are probably wondering why I am suggesting for you to get out of your comfy bed around 4 or 5 am to experience this trail… Because this trail gets crowded to the max! You are not the only one that noticed this magnificent beauty plastered all over the great state of Utah. So if you get there around 12 pm or 1 pm, well then there will most probably be hords of other people.

Plus, if you hike in the middle of the day, it will get hot! Sunrise is the absolute best time to do the hike to Delicate Arch. You avoid the crowds and the sun. Plus the lighting is just perfect, so you get the best pictures ever!

Note that we did the hike the end of November during sunrise and we had the whole Delicate Arch to ourselves. It was magical.

Delicate Arch Sunset

Another great time to experience the Delicate Arch is during sunset. The colors are phenomenal compared to sunrise. It will be crowded, though, but to experience the arch during sunset would be worth it. Do not forget your headlamps!

Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint

  • Distance: 0.7 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 141 ft
  • Difficulty: Easy

Alright so if you feel like the trail mentioned above is just too difficult then I highly suggest attempting this trail where you can see the Delicate Arch from afar. This trail does not take you to the Delicate Arch, though. Instead, it takes you to a viewpoint of the Delicate Arch. This is a great trail for kids.

Final Thoughts On The Delicate Arch Trail

Honestly, viewing the Delicate Arch was extraordinary. I can see why this monument has become the symbol of Utah. But keep in mind I got up extremely early to see this famous arch in Utah. The picture I took has become my absolute favorite photo, and it would not be possible with the hoards of tourists. Hope you enjoyed this post and make sure to read up on some of my other adventures in Utah:

  • Backpacking Guide To Canyonlands National Park
  • Things To Do In Capitol Reef National Park
  • Ultimate Guide To Goblin Valley State Park
  • The 10 Best Hikes In Arches National Park
  • Best Hikes In Canyonlands National Park
  • The Best Hikes In Utah

Also, please join my new awesome Facebook group where we discuss all things hiking, camping, and backpacking. Let’s build a tribe together ⛰ and Join Here.

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