Hiking to Delicate Arch
May 2007 - 24 photos

On the 29th of May, 2007, I went back to Arches National Park to make the hike up to Delicate Arch, a hike that I missed out on three weeks earlier. I was informed that the best photos of the arch would be those taken late in the afternoon or sunset, so I spent the day going around taking photos of other arches from the best sun angles during the morning and again in the afternoon. About 4:00 PM I drove over to the trail head at Wolf Ranch, turned on my GPS mapper and started the hike. Usually there are many people all around wherever I go in the park, but this time I was alone on the hike. I could see some way ahead and did pass people coming down, so I was never alone very long. The hike wasn't too bad, except for the sun. There is little shade and much of the trail is on light colored sandstone, so it was hot. The hike is a little over 3 miles round trip. Any walking around up there adds to that. My GPS said 3.4 miles and an altitude change of 565 feet.

For GPS map of hike, CLICK here

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Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

The first part of the trail is very well defined and quite wide, like a small road. Right off you pass the old homestead of Wolf Ranch, then you come to two bridges. One is quite new, seems that a flash flood washed out the trail to the bridge recently, so they built a new bridge to reach the older one. After climbing up and down over a couple of hills, you get to walk up a slope of solid sandstone for quite a ways. There are piles of stone to guide you, yet I met a couple that got lost up there for two hours, so watch for those stone piles. When you get near the top the trail goes up around a large cliff where it has been cut into the sandstone wall to create a shelf to walk on, which varies from three to six feet wide. At first the drop is just a small 45° slope away from the ledge, but the higher you go the greater and steeper the drop to the ravine below. Some people I met had truned back, they didn't like the idea of walking that ledge. I didn't think it was too bad. When you get to the end of the shelf and walk around a corner there sits Delicate arch on the edge of a huge deep bowl, and to get to it you must walk around the top edge on a gentle slope that gets steeper as it drops into the bowl. The back side of the arch also slopes away, then drops straight down a few hundred feet. It wouldn't be good to fall down anywhere up there, you could start rolling or sliding for a bad fall in any direction. I'm surprised that the park allows kids to walk around un-supervised up there. It can be quite un-nerving even for adults, but I still found it to be one of the great moments of my life.

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A telephoto shot of Delicate Arch, northeast from Garden of Eden. 4.5 miles away and much higher.
This scene is magnified about 20 times, so it wouldn't be visible without binoculars for most people.

   - 24 photos -
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Related Photos

Trip to Arches National Park, 2007
Devils Garden Hike, Fiery Furnace Hike, Delicate Arch Hike, 2012

Arches park visit, 07
 Arches park visit

Devil's Garden hike, 07
 Devil's Garden hike

Fiery Furnace hike, 07
 Fiery Furnace hike

Delicate Arch, 2012
 Delicate Arch, 2012

I used a Canon EOS 20D, 8.2 Megapixel SLR Camera with a Canon EFs 17-85mm wide angle to 5x zoom.

Original photos were taken at aprox 3050 x 2000. These photos are set to 750 x 500 for faster loading. You are welcome to look at or download any of the photos. If you use them on any other webpage, please give credit and refer back to me.

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