Among the countless things to do in Arches National Park, Delicate Arch is probably what called you here. It stands alone, unsupported by nearby walls or structures at the top of a large sandstone basin, as if it’s watching over the park. It’s no wonder how Delicate Arch got its name (although it’s been called many other things before). This is the most popular destination in Arches National Park, and has become a definitive icon for Southern Utah recognized around the world. Be sure to pay this 52 foot tall arch a visit on your next trip; however good pictures may be, they’ll never do it justice.
Delicate Arch Hiking Trail
After 1.5 miles of moderately difficult hiking, you’ll be rewarded with an unbeatable view, and a chance to see the arch up close. On the way, expect to see petroglyphs, another arch (Frame Arch), and do some red rock scrambling.
Hikers beware, the Delicate Arch trail often surprises visitors by being more difficult than they’d expected. The entire trail is sun-exposed, offering little shade, and has multiple steep sections. Be sure to bring ample water, snacks, and sun protection, and do your part to protect the park. Please do not climb on the park’s natural structures or touch historic artifacts like petroglyphs.
- Length: 3.2 miles round trip, 1.5 miles to Delicate Arch
- Time: 2-3 hours
- Elevation Gain: 550 foot gain
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trail Type: Out-and-back, mostly slickrock, hikers only
- Trailhead: Wolfe Ranch Parking Lot Get Directions.
- GPS Coordinates: 38.735502, -109.520666
- Tips: Bring plenty of water and a camera, pets are not allowed
Directions To The Trailhead
Delicate Arch Viewpoints
As an alternative to the three mile hike, visitors can see the arch from two separate viewpoints, both of which are more accessible than the hiking trail. You’ll start at the same trailhead (Wolfe Ranch parking lot), where both viewpoints and the hiking trail start off. The lower viewpoint is the closest by, but a short trek to the upper viewpoint will provide a much better vantage point.
The lower Delicate Arch viewpoint is just less than 14 miles from the visitor center, at the Wolfe Ranch parking lot. Take the trail on the right to reach the lower viewpoint.
Getting to the Viewpoint: The lower Delicate Arch viewpoint lies just less than 14 miles from the visitor center, on Delicate Arch Rd. Get Directions
From the same parking area, you can take a short walk to the upper Delicate Arch viewpoint. The upper viewpoint is .5 mi away, and the trail leads up a fairly steep incline. However, you’ll have a much better vantage of Delicate Arch. This viewpoint is the best alternative if you won’t be able to hike to the arch during your visit.
Getting to the Viewpoint: The trail starts at the same parking area. Take the trail on the left a half mile up the hill to the viewpoint. Get Directions
Tips for Seeing Delicate Arch
Visit at Sunrise or After Sunset
Delicate Arch is the busiest destination in the park. If you plan to hike the trail between noon and sunset, expect to share the trail with many other hikers. For a less crowded experience, we’d recommend visiting the arch during sunrise, or after the sun has set. Remember, Arches National Park is open 24 hours a day, so you can get an early start and watch the sun rise over the park, or see the Delicate Arch’s silhouette beneath a starry sky.
How Long Is The Hike?
The Delicate Arch trail is 3.2 miles long, round-trip. While you may be able to finish the hike in under an hour, most visitors will spend some time at the arch. Allow between two and three hours to complete the hike without being rushed.
Don’t Bust The Crust!
Arches National Park is home to a beautiful ecosystem. Resilient critters and plants call this arid, unforgiving desert home. While it may seem unassuming, many areas of dirt play a critical role in providing water to the ecosystem. This biological soil crust (or cryptobiotic soil) is incredibly sensitive, and will be damaged if stepped on. Please watch your step, stay on the trail, and do your part to help protect the park.
Moab is home to some of the greatest hiking trails on Earth. Explore other things to do near the Delicate Arch trail, and start planning your trip by finding a place to stay.
What is the best time of day to see Delicate Arch? ›
Visit at Sunrise or After Sunset
Delicate Arch is the busiest destination in the park. If you plan to hike the trail between noon and sunset, expect to share the trail with many other hikers. For a less crowded experience, we'd recommend visiting the arch during sunrise, or after the sun has set.
It's difficult to see Delicate Arch from the main park road; you must get out of the car to view it. At Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint, you can walk a level 100 yards (91 m) to see the arch from one mile away. Nearby, the Upper Viewpoint (0.5 mi / 0.8 km walk with stairs) offers a slightly less obstructed view.How long does Delicate Arch hike take? ›
To get to Delicate Arch, it is a 3-mile round trip hike with 480 feet of elevation gain. This hike, plus time to view the arch, takes most people 2 to 3 hours.How many days do you need to explore Moab? ›
We recommend at least 2 full days/ 3 nights for the Moab area. One day for Arches National Park and half a day to a day for Canyonlands National Park, plus the Dead Horse Point State Park. In addition, you can also take a short rafting tour, as we did. 3 days/4 nights would make your visit more relaxing.Can you enter Arches before 6 am? ›
Consider visiting the park before 6 am or after 5 pm. Reservations are not required during those times. Sunrise and sunset are two of the most beautiful times to visit and photograph Arches National Park. The gates are open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week unless all of the parking lots are full.How do you avoid crowds at Delicate Arch? ›
- Park in designated areas only.
- Do not drive off roads.
- If a lot is full, do not wait for spots to open; move on, and try again later. More Places to Go.
- Never park on vegetation or in a manner that blocks traffic.
- Don't block the flow of traffic by waiting for a parking spot.
Arches National Park is a relatively small national park with a handful of must-see sights. With one day in Arches, you can visit these top sights and a few off-the-beaten-path places. After multiple visits to Arches National Park, including two visits in the past two years, we have learned a lot about this park.What is the best arch to see at Arches National Park? ›
1. Delicate Arch. The most famous arch in the park and quite possibly the world. This is on the Utah license plate, and people come from all over the world just to see and photograph this arch.Is Delicate Arch in Devils Garden? ›
Devils Garden Trail is an adventurous loop with incredible views of Arches National Park. While Delicate Arch receives most of the hype in the park, Devils Garden Trail boasts eight different arches, including the longest arch in North America.Is sunrise or sunset better at Delicate Arch? ›
Is Delicate Arch better for Sunrise or Sunset? If you're hoping for the best experience, i.e. fewer crowds, sunrise is going to be the best time to hike Delicate Arch Trail. Keep in mind, in order to beat the crowds, you want to aim to be at Delicate Arch before the sun breaks the horizon.
What is the best arch in Moab? ›
Delicate Arch at Arches National Park. Probably the most iconic arch within the park is the Delicate Arch. The arch rises 46 feet from the ground, making it the largest free-standing arch in the park. The hike to the base of the arch is three miles, round trip.What is the best month to go to Moab? ›
In the Spring | March – May
As days get longer and the red rock starts to warm, travelers from around the world visit Moab to shake off a cold winter. Midday temperatures generally reach 70ºF during the springtime, making it a perfect time of year to get outside!
All timed entry reservations must be made in advance through Recreation.gov, either online, over the phone (by calling 877-444-6777), or through the recreation.gov mobile app. There are no same-day sales at the park or through park offices. The Moab Library may have free computer access available.Is downtown Moab walkable? ›
Moab's downtown center is fairly walkable, with more restaurants, souvenir shops, outdoor outfitters, hotels, and tour companies than you could possibly patronize in a single Moab vacation, all reachable on foot.Does Arches have timed entry? ›
Timed entry tickets are free but require a non-refundable $2 reservation processing fee. When using Recreation.gov, search for “Arches National Park Timed Entry Ticket,” select the day you plan to visit the park, add it to your cart, and complete payment.What time is Arches free? ›
Arches Visitor Center.
|Christmas Day||December 25, 2022||Closed|
Online at Recreation.gov. Note: Timed entry tickets are required in addition to the park entrance fee from April 1 through October 31. If you already have a park pass, you do not need to pay the entrance fee.How much time do you need at Arches? ›
Two days in Arches is ideal though and would give you enough time to explore the Fiery Furnace on the ranger-led hike and do a few more of the longer hikes. One day is really all you need at the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park if you're sticking to the overlooks and shorter trails.Are there bathrooms at Delicate Arch? ›
The Wolfe Ranch parking lot, which serves the Delicate Arch Trailhead, has toilets that are open year-round. But no drinking water is available here, so be sure to bring your own.What are the busiest days at Arches National Park? ›
To maximize your enjoyment, consider visiting during off-peak times. The park is most active from March through October, and especially around Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Utah Education Association break (which is usually in October). The busiest time of day is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Can you just drive through Arches? ›
You can spend a couple hours or the better part of a day driving the 36 mile (round trip) road through Arches National Park. With plenty of places to stop and snap pictures and panoramic views for miles, you can enjoy the brilliant artistry and majesty of Arches without having to leave your vehicle.Can you just drive through Arches National Park? ›
Yes, you can drive through Arches National Park and easily see some of the most spectacular scenery. That's what makes it one of the most popular National Parks in the USA. The Scenic Arches Drive is a heavily-trafficked 22-mile paved road with many great viewpoints and spectacular stops along the way.What can you not miss at Arches National Park? ›
- Stop at Park Avenue Viewpoint and (optional) Hike Park Avenue Trail.
- See the Balanced Rock.
- Stop at Garden of Eden Viewpoint.
- Visit Double Arch.
- Visit the Windows and Turrets Arches.
- Hike Devils Garden Trail and see Landscape Arch.
- See Dune Arch and Broken Arch.
Canyonlands and Arches are two national parks that sit side-by-side near Moab, Utah. Since these parks are neighbors, it is possible to visit both of them in one very busy day.Is Devils Garden worth it? ›
The Devils Garden Trail has all of the ingredients for a perfect hike in Arches National Park. If you hike the entire 7.8-mile loop, you get to see eight arches! Along the way, go rock scrambling, hike along fins of sandstone rock, and enjoy some of the best views of the park.Where does Delicate Arch trail start? ›
The trailhead to the Delicate Arch Trail starts at the Wolfe Ranch parking lot, near one of the more historical sights in the park. It is located about 13 miles from the Arches National Park visitors center on the Arches Scenic Drive.Why is it called Devil's Garden? ›
Devil's gardens were named because locals believed that an evil forest spirit Chullachaki (meaning "uneven foot, single foot" in Kichwa) or Chuyathaqi lived in them.How many minutes before sunset is the best? ›
It's best to scope out a location about 45 minutes before sunset, get all of your equipment set up, and then relax and wait. Never give up until it gets dark because many times your deep reds and oranges won't appear until after the sun has moved past the horizon.How hard is the Delicate Arch Trail? ›
The trail to Delicate Arch is moderately difficult for the average person who is reasonably fit. It begins easily enough near Wolfe Ranch and then gradually ascends over the slickrock. There is no shade. Some sections of the trail are a little steep.Is Mesa Arch sunrise worth it? ›
Even if you aren't a photographer, a trip to Mesa Arch at sunrise is worth it. You can always take beautiful photos on your cell phones! The views are some of the best in Utah's national parks, highlighted even more at dawn. Plus, after sunrise, you'll be able to beat the crowds to other top attractions in Canyonlands!
What is the most difficult trail in Moab? ›
The trail consists of fins, steep 'climbs, and Moab's famous slickrock. A stock 4x4 can make it, but you will have to bypass some of the more difficult and famous obstacles such as Hell's Gate, Escalator, or one of the many hot tubs. Traffic depending, expect to spend a few hours on the trail.
One Day in Moab
There are so many possibilities on what to see and do if you have just 1 day in Moab. But if this is your first trip and you want to make the absolute most of it, I suggest that you visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks as well as Dead Horse Point State Park in one day.
Fisher Towers Trail
There is a ladder to negotiate, but otherwise, Fisher Towers Trail is one of the easiest hikes in Moab. The best part about this hike is that it is scenic for the entire route – not just the endpoint. You'll pass through the canyon and desert scenery, with the Fisher Towers along the way.
Crowds. Despite its larger size, Canyonlands gets only a little over half as many visitors as Arches! If you are looking for solitude, Canyonlands is the way to go. Still don't expect to be alone if visiting the Island in the Sky, but the crowds will not be as bad as you can expect in Arches.Which is less crowded Canyonlands or Arches? ›
Canyonlands is slightly less crowded than its neighbor Arches National Park and receives only about half as many visitors a year, around 733,000. The vast majority of these visits occur March through October, with most of those occurring between June and August. Summer is certainly the peak travel season in the park.What is the busiest time of year in Moab? ›
Peak tourist season is March 15 through May Sept and Oct. still busy in the summer but not as crazy as spring and fall. The summer slows a bit because temperatures can easily average 105 degrees. If you are flexible with your vacation and dates, the best time to visit Moab would be early spring or late fall.Are there rattlesnakes in Moab? ›
Utah is home to six subspecies of rattlesnake, but only one is commonly found in the Moab area: the midget faded rattlesnake or Crotalus oreganus concolor, a subspecies of the western rattlesnake.How can I spend 2 days in Moab? ›
- Park Avenue. Park Avenue is one of the first stops on the Arches Scenic Drive and offers stunning views. ...
- Courthouse Towers. ...
- Pine Tree Arch, Tunnel Arch, and Landscape Arch. ...
- Double Arch. ...
- The Windows and Turret Arch. ...
- Candlestick Tower Overlook. ...
- White Rim Overlook.
If possible, avoid visiting Moab during the summer months. Not only will you need to come with a lot of patience to make your way through the crowds, but you'll also be dealing with scorching temperatures that can reach over 100°F.Where do you park for the Delicate Arch hike? ›
There is additional parking at the Delicate Arch Viewpoint parking lot. If you walk from the viewpoint, you will have to hike 1 mile (1.6 km) along the road to the trailhead. The total roundtrip hike distance increases to 5 miles (8 km).
Can I enter Arches after 5 pm? ›
No reservation is required before 6 am or after 5 pm, so even if you can't get a reservation for the day you want, you can set your alarm extra early or plan to arrive in time for a spectacular sunset. Just note that those early and late timeframes may end up being more crowded than other times of the day.What food is Moab known for? ›
Milt's— A Moab staple famous for its burgers, fries and shakes, and our go-to quick meal out. Expect long lines during peak season, or be like a local and call ahead. Susie's Branding Iron— Classic country cooking, burgers and comfort food. Their fry bread with honey butter is a must!How many days are enough in Moab? ›
Two days is plenty of time to get a feel for the town of Moab itself and fit in some touring of both Canyonlands and Arches, and other attractions like Westwater Canyon and Dead Horse Point State Park are close enough to be experienced in well under a day's time.What is there to do in Moab for seniors? ›
- Things to do in Moab.
- Canyonlands National Park.
- Dead Horse Point State Park.
- Fisher Towers.
- Hell's Revenge Trail.
- Arches National Park.
- Cataract Canyon.
- Westwater Canyon.
Is Delicate Arch better for Sunrise or Sunset? If you're hoping for the best experience, i.e. fewer crowds, sunrise is going to be the best time to hike Delicate Arch Trail. Keep in mind, in order to beat the crowds, you want to aim to be at Delicate Arch before the sun breaks the horizon.Is Mesa Arch better at sunrise or sunset? ›
The best time of day to visit Mesa Arch is at sunrise!
The early morning light makes the canyon behind the arch glow, basked in oranges and yellows.
Yes, you may enter the park before 6 am or after 5 pm. Because entrance lines into the park may vary, we suggest arriving at 5:30 am or earlier.What is the most popular arch in Arches? ›
Without a doubt, Delicate Arch is the most famous natural stone arch in the world. Referred to as "The Arch" by many arriving visitors for whom it is No. 1 on their must-see lists, Delicate has an allure that is hard to explain but impossible to deny.How long is the walk to Mesa Arch? ›
Mesa Arch hike is an easy hike of just 0.5 miles or 0.8 kilometers. You can do it as a loop or walk to the arch and back the same way. The distance is in total, for the entire hike. It takes about 20-30 minutes to hike to Mesa Arch and back.Can you hike Delicate Arch at night? ›
On my second visit to Arches NP, my wife, 4 kids and I decided to hike the Delicate Arch Trail at Sunset, stay and stargaze, and then hike back in the dark. The trail is well suited for this.
Can you drive your car through Arches National Park? ›
You can spend a couple hours or the better part of a day driving the 36 mile (round trip) road through Arches National Park. With plenty of places to stop and snap pictures and panoramic views for miles, you can enjoy the brilliant artistry and majesty of Arches without having to leave your vehicle.How long does it take to drive thru Arches National Park? ›
The scenic drive in Arches is about 22 miles one way, so about 45 miles in total. You should count at least 4-5 hours to drive the entire road and make short stops (5-30min each) at all the scenic viewpoints. If you are planning to hike in Arches, you'll need more time.What is the busiest month for Arches National Park? ›
The park is most active from March through October, and especially around Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the Utah Education Association break (which is usually in October). The busiest time of day is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.