Delicate Arch - Arches

Delicate Arch

Wolfe Ranch, Arches, Utah

The area of old Wolfe Ranch (281kb)

Wolfe Ranch, Arches, Utah

Dark clouds are approaching over Wolfe Cabin (266kb)

The delicate arch is not only the most famous arch of the USA but also the arch of which are the most pictures taken. The Arch is beautiful and really worth seeing. It is in the Arches National Park not far from the nice city Moab in Utah.

How to get there:

Arches, Utah

Shortly before the big rain (224kb)

From Moab you drive north on UT 191 for 5 miles. On the right side you “ll find the park entrance and the visitor centre. Coming from interstate 70, you follow highway 191 for about 25 miles. The park entrance is on the left side.

The new visitor centre is worth a visit. Besides lots of information about the park you also get to know about the weather forecast and about camping possibilities. There is also a very nice shop with a big choice of books.

After enjoying the visitor centre you follow the Arches Scenic Drive, a 18 mile panoramic road up to Devils Garden and to the junction to Wolfe Ranch. From there it is about 1 ¼ mile to the historical Wolfe Ranch and another 1 ¼ miles to the Delicate Arch View point.

Arches, Utah

Saulheim on tour (for insiders) (390kb)

You can get first impressions of the Delicate Arch either from the Arches Scenic Drive or from the Delicate Arch view point. But from there the arch seems to be very small. You can also go for a 1 km walk until you get to the rim of the canyon. But from there the arch looks not bigger. This is not comparable to the big famous hike, beginning at Wolfe Cabin to get closer to the arch, actually to be directly at the arch.

Arches, Utah

Just before the destination (386kb)

Don't forget to bring enough water if you decide to do the hike from the historical Wolfe Cabin to the top because it is a very strenuous walk especially in the summertime. Bring sunscreen, a hat or something else to protect your head and maybe hiking sticks to rest your knees. I also suggest bringing a thin summer jacket because it might be windy on top of the platform. You don't want to get a cold, do you?

You should know this:

In the morning you might have luck to be by yourself at the arch. At noon it is the hottest time of the day and in the afternoon lots of people hike up there to wait there and watch the sunset, the best time to take pictures of the arch. It looks beautiful and the colors change within minutes. Last time I hiked up there before noon to get a chance to be alone with the arch. Later on, it is difficult to have the arch on your picture without people.

Delicate Arch, Arches, Utah

Delicate Arch at late foremoon from this side in the shadow (218kb)

Delicate Arch, Arches, Utah

It's difficult to take a picture from Delicate Arch without tourists (316kb)

It is important to watch the weather forecast. On our last tour in September 2007 the sky was covered with dark black clouds. But it was still not raining so we decided to do the hike real quick. After 15 minutes we had to turn around as it began to rain heavily.

The part over the slick rock is too dangerous when it is wet. The next morning we had beautiful weather and we hiked up there.

The hike:

Delicate Arch, Arches, Utah

It does not stand any more for too long (231kb)

The 3 mile hike begins at Wolf Ranch (you can see it from the parking lot) which is a very old cabin and a corral.

After you crossed a nice wooden bridge that leads you over a little pool (watch out for mosquitoes) the first part of the rocky and sandy trail is still very easy to hike. Small bushes, cactus and other plants on the trail edge and the La Sal Mountains in the background are a good motif.

As soon as you have reached the slick rock it goes continuously up over that rock. Slick rock sounds dangerous but don't be afraid. It is safe to walk there unless it is wet. During rainfall you should be careful. You should also know that there is no shade on the way. It is easy to find the way up because cairns mark the path. Enjoy that hike! During the whole time you will have a great view. It is a beautiful and gorgeous landscape. You can see the La Sal Mountains in the background which are covered with snow most of the time. So you will enjoy the hike, especially if you like taking pictures, although you walk the whole time under the burning sun.

When you reached the plateau you will see juniper trees, dried trees and bushes between rocks and interesting rock formations. The last part of the hike is the most spectacular one: on a small path you have to go around a rock cone. You don't see the arch the whole time of the hike but then when you take the last few steps and turn right around the corner - there it is!! It is right in front of you in its full size and glory.

Delicate Arch, Arches, Utah

With imagination one recognises a bear's head (254kb)

On a height of 4829 ft the wind is very refreshing and cools you down. The view of the gigantic Delicate Arch is breathtaking and unforgettable when you are there for the first time.

Take you time and enjoy the view, enjoy the silence, just enjoy everything. There are places to sit and relax and you can have the view of the arch. If you have a picnic please take your trash with you.

You should not return to late because in the late summertime (Mid Sept) it is getting dark real quick.

Moab Hotels by

Picture advice:

The best picture of the Delicate Arch is in the morning at sunrise or in late afternoon before and at sunset. When you have luck you can see the La Sal Mountains covered with snow, few clouds and a full moon for a perfect shot.


Last update: 02/17/2008