Delicate Arch Trail

MODERATE 880 reviews
#1 of 46 trails in

Delicate Arch Trail is a 3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Moab, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
590 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

no dogs

Delicate Arch Trail is a short hike in Arches National Park to Utah's most recognizable natural arch. You will likely recognize the famous arch from the Utah license plates. The hike starts at the Delicate Arch Trailhead off at the Wolf Ranch turn-off in the Moab area of southern Utah . There is a large parking area right off of the main park road. From the parking area you will cross the bridge over salt wash. The hike to Delicate Arch is just over 1.5 miles each way, approximately a 3 mile hike round-trip. It is best hiked in spring and fall when the temperatures are cooler, or during the golden hours just after sunrise or and before sunset when the rocks seem to turn a magical color and the air temperature is bearable again. Take at least 1 quart (1 liter) of water per person! There is no shade. Open slickrock with some exposure to heights. The first half-mile is a wide, well-defined trail. Upon reaching the slickrock, follow the rock cairns. The trail climbs gradually and levels out toward the top of this rock face. Just before you get to Delicate Arch, the trail goes along a rock ledge for about 200 yards. A visit to this beautiful arch is a must do in Arches National Park. Parking is limited and can fill up quickly during peak tourism months so make sure to arrive at the trailhead early.

hiking
23 hours ago

Took a weekend trip to Moab to escape busy college life. Planned the roadtrip so that we could get here right at sunset and we couldn't have timed it better! Got there with about 10min before the sun was below the horizon, but still had time for some amazing views. Lost my camera lens cover down the gully, but my friend scooted down to get it back for me. Temperature was perfect, and distance was ideal. Definitely recommend a sunrise/sunset time to avoid the crowds!

4 days ago

It's like a ceremonial procession going through raised areas and terraces. The last access passway gives a certain experience of surprise as you approach boarding the rocky walls to the high point where the arch is. Viewing the forms you can imagine the naturalistic forces, winds and water, which shaped the landscape in a formidable "style."
But if it's a windy day as today was you should know that you will be straining particularly your muscles and the gusts will strike your face with sand. This could be taken by many people as a part of the adventure. But it's highly rewarded to come and see this marvel surrounded by a concave harmonic space. The senses of abbys and height, of closure and openness are almost architectural.

4 days ago

Just happened to be there in a day that wind gusts of over 20mph. It didn’t seem to stop anyone from going. Beautiful views, courteous hikers.

hiking
5 days ago

Go earliest in the morning as possible! 1) to get parking 2) to avoid the mass crowds of tourists and 3) to avoid the scorching sun - if going in early summer, it can be 90 degrees already by 10am. Very beautiful, a good hike, but too many people. Don't forget your water, don't forget to check out the petroglyphs, and don't be afraid to explore a little more off the path. Worth seeing once to say you've been there ;)

6 days ago

Go early (0800ish) and avoid the mass waves of people! Very easy hike. Great finish at the end. I ended up enjoying this much more than I thought I would.

hiking
7 days ago

Did this hike with wife and 5 children, and it was awesome! It is now the standard by which I will be judging future hikes of similar length. The terrain was varied and interesting, wildlife plentiful, scenery beautiful, and of course the big reveal at the end of the hike is as rewarding as any hike I have been on. The feeling of coming around the corner and seeing the size and grandeur and marvel of nature that is Delicate Arch was inspiring! It made my hair stand up on my arms and neck. I hope to make this a family tradition. I was nervous to take my five year old, and other children who love to run and climb, but they did great. The only parts that caused me concern were about the last 100 yards, and when I looked at the drop-off on the other side of the arch. With good instruction and careful judgment this is a hike the whole family will love.

hiking
12 days ago

Have hiked Delicate Arch a few times, but always in the summer. Best to start early, 5am or so. Then you a) avoid the direct sun and hottest part of the day, b) you avoid the largest crowds and you are c) rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. Rangers are overworked and frustrated with avg person who does not hike, and does not bring plenty of water for themselves and their kids. The hike is moderate; uphill hiking up the slickrock; would not recommend it for those with a fear of heights. Beautiful beautiful scenery; sitting at the arch area and taking it all in is just the best.

17 days ago

This was a fun hike. There was some ice right before getting to the arch, so watch your footing or bring shoe spikes. I didn’t use my yak tracks on my shoes but if it had been more snowy and icy I would have definitely needed them. I went early in the morning and the morning light on the arch was epic! Loved this hike.

hiking
17 days ago

one of the best hike and the view up there is just marvelous!!! this place is very memorable for me and my 3 kids. need to come back for sure

21 days ago

Nice, easy hike.

27 days ago

Nothing short of amazing. A small part of the trail had ice on it, so you may want to prepare ahead with shoe spikes - but it can be done without them.

1 month ago

Hiked early in the morning to catch the sunrise. Had no idea the breath taking imagery I was about to receive. Even more amazing is watching how many people are hiking up to see the view as you make your way back down. Somewhat of a Mecca.

hiking
1 month ago

A must-do hike in Utah. Careful on the ice and snow near the end!

hiking
1 month ago

Did this yesterday. Having microspikes for the last bit of the trail made a great difference. Watched several people slip and nearly fall off the side because they did not have proper footwear. My husband had to help several navigate the ice. It’s a great hike. It’s just stressful (or maybe just as a mom) to watch the seeming lack of care or observation, particularly among younger children, around the arch, cliffs, and the bowl near the arch. We also found and packed out plenty of litter left by others. Just not a lot of trail etiquette or outdoor best practices. Still, this was a great time of year to do the hike (had a lovely 50 degree, sunny day). I can’t imagine doing it during busier, or hotter, months.

Went today with 3 girlfriends- started about 12:30pm. Going up was notable slick with people taking extra care heading down. By the time we headed down, everything was slicked over and polished up and it was VERY treacherous (sit and slide down).

1 month ago

Great hike to the arch. Glad to have microspikes for the last bit of trail since it was really icy and steep.

hiking
1 month ago

If you’re hiking it in the winter be sure to have traction straps to put on your shoes for the icy parts. If you want it to be extra incredible, begin your hike at sunset and reach the top to see the stars. The Milky Way is visible & it’s unbelievably stunning. It’s a must do at night!

1 month ago

Great trail

hiking
1 month ago

Kid friendly. But watch them (duh) there are some cliffs and drop offs.

hiking
1 month ago

Made this happen on New Year's Day. 17 degrees. The arch is a miracle however you get there. BUT IN WINTER: rent strap-on ice cleats. The part of the trail, uphill, before you turn the corner to be next to the Arch, gets no sun exposure to speak of. That 2 to 4 inches of ice is transparent. I was standing there one moment, the next I went horizontal and landed directly on the red rock on the back of my head. When my wife stepped to help, she went over the edge, down to the floor of the basin. She had on a white parka and disappeared completely into the snow.

The kindness of strangers while hiking is a gift. Someone went down and dug her out and walked her back up--she was stunned but uninjured.

Because I landed directly on my skull, it could have been curtains. I was saved by having a scarf, three different winter caps, and both my undercoat and parka's hoods were up. Head bounced right up.

Could have been tragic. I have never seen ice that thick remain so transparent!

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