Great Hikes: Delicate Arch, Arches NP

The trip to Delicate Arch, the same piece of rock plastered across Utah license plates, is a classic hike in Arches National Park. With incredible sandstone formations and views, you can have amazing photo opportunities for relatively little leg work. The arch itself stands 65 feet tall and is so iconic that Utah officials made sure the Olympic torch passed under it during the 2002 Winter Olympics relay.

The arch was originally a freestanding Entrada Sandstone fin, but was carved out over time by erosion and weathering. This process continues and park officials are not sure how long the arch will remain.

Climber Dean Potter put his mark on the arch in May 2006 when he made the first recorded free-solo ascent of the formation. While this climb was not explicitly forbidden, it did cause controversy and caused the Park Service to prohibit climbing, slacklining or the placement of fixed anchors on any named arch within the park. 

Distance: 3 miles roundtrip 

Elevation Change: 480 feet

Difficulty Rating: Moderate

Duration: 2 – 3 hours

Best Time to Go: March-October (early morning is best to avoid crowds)

How to get there:
Arches National Park is in southeast Utah, just five miles north of Moab. The nearest airports are in Grand Junction, CO. (110 miles); Salt Lake City (236 miles); and Denver (360 miles). Once in these cities, you can rent a car to get to the park. There is also shuttle service from certain locations.

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