Delicate Arch, Utah: Arches National Park

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Delicate Arch

Towering 52 feet above the canyon lands and silhouetted by the La Sal Mountain Range, Delicate Arch is one of the most famous formations in all of Arches 76,518 acres.

  • Delicate Arch is one of the most photographed arches in the park.
  • Formerly part of a larger sandstone fin, elements carved away the landscape to expose Delicate Arch.
  • The 1.5 mile Delicate Arch Trail begins at the Wolf Ranch Parking Area.
  • The 2002 Winter Olympic Torch passed beneath Delicate Arch.

Overview

Millions of years of erosion exposed the 52 foot tall 33 foot wide Delicate Arch, one of the most famous Entrada Sandstone formations in the world. The arch is depicted on Utah's license plates and used as a gateway for the Olympic torch, which passed beneath the arch on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Location & Information

Located 1.5 miles from the Wolf Ranch Trailhead. The trail is considered a moderate to moderately strenuous 1.5 hour round trip. Contact Arches National Park Visitors Center for information regarding trail conditions 435-719-2299.

Hours/Season

You can view Delicate Arch all year round, but check for slick trail conditions in winter months and during the rainy season. If the Wolf Ranch Trail is impassable, or if you are short on time, you can still get a glimpse of the arch from the roadside turn out.

Activities at or Near the Delicate Arch

  • Bring your camera and take pictures of the Delicate Arch during the golden hour and right before sunset.
  • Birdwatchers will enjoy studying the nesting habits of Whitethroat Swifts in the summer time.
  • Take the Windows Hike and view four of the most popular formations in the park.
  • Bring your road bike and cruise the scenic drive, or mountain bike Klondike Bluffs Road.
  • Visit the Wolf Ranch cabin, recorded in the National Register of Historic Places since 1975.

History

On November 12, 1971, Arches gained National Park status. The Delicate Arch was not considered a part of the Arches National Monument when it was originally surveyed, but, in 1938, the boundary was expanded to include the formation. The Delicate Arch, along with all of the other named arches within the park, is protected from activities that may damage the integrity of the structure, this includes rock climbing and high lining.

Fun Facts

  • Local cowboys nicknamed Arches "The Chaps" and "The Schoolmarm's Bloomers".
  • Whitethroat Swifts use the top of Delicate Arch as a nesting place in the summer time.
  • A photographer paid $10,900 in restitution and was sentenced to probation for smoke damage caused by a fire he lit beneath the arch in September of 2000.

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