Arguably the most recognized rock arch in the world, Delicate Arch is a wonder to behold. Not only is the Delicate Arch amazing, the hike through the great Utah slick rock and surrounding desert is a great preview to the main event!
Take 1-70 to the HWY 191/Moab Exit. Take 191 south until you get to the Arches National Park turn off (approximately 25 miles). After the park turnoff, travel just over 9 miles to the Delicate Arch/Wolf Ranch turnoff, then another 1.25 miles to the Wolfe Ranch parking area.
he Hike to Delicate Arch is a moderate hike with an elevation gain of around 560 feet spread over 1.5 miles (the biggest elevation gain happens in the last half mile). There is no shade anywhere on this trail and the red rock will reflect most of the heat back to you well through the afternoon and evening. As you leave the parking lot and start on the trail, the Wolfe Ranch corral and house is still standing after 100 years thanks to preservation efforts. If you plan on looking at this we suggest doing it before the hike as you probably will only be interested in your air conditioned car when you get back. Just after the Ranch, the trail will cross over Salt Wash which leads to the Colorado River and then up the first incline. There is one big switchback up this incline with a gain of about 50 feet. The trail will continue for about half a mile on a packed dirt trail at which point you will start to cross onto slickrock. You will then be following the slickrock for the rest of the hike; the path on the slick rock will be faint at times but you will see rock cairns set up by the park rangers to guide you past these points. As you get near the arch, the rock formations will start to be amazing so keep your head up as you pass these rills and channels carved into the slick rock. The last push will take you around a giant petrified sand dune with a steep wash and mini slot canyon that you will skirt and some careless hikers have been known to fall in. As you round the last turn the Delicate Arch will come into a spectacular full view with a slickrock bowl on one side and a steep cliff on the other. The view is awesome and through late spring the distant snow-capped mountains give a great contrast to the desert you are surrounded by.
Arches National Park
PO Box 907
Moab, UT 84532
Phone: Visitor Information (435) 719-2299
Fax: (435) 719-2300
Take at least a litre of water for the hike
The Outdoor Type ebook Sydney Outdoor Adventures has information on a whole range of outdoor activities in Sydney, from great surf beaches, hikes, mountain biking trails to camping spots, parks and reserves and diving locations. See here for more information.