Delicate Arch is one of Utah's most famous icons. You see images of it everywhere: on magazine covers, computer screen savers and license plates. But photos do not adequately convey the stunning beauty that hits you as you come over the ridge and see the arch in person for the first time-when you stand under it, the arch towering above your head, slickrock canyons falling away below you, the snow-covered La Sal Mountains in the distance. It is a spectacular sight.
Delicate Arch is also one of Utah's best family hiking destinations. The majesty of the arch can't be seen from the roadway. There is a viewpoint, just 50 yards off pavement, where you can see the arch at a distance of about one mile. But to really comprehend its beauty you need to take the trek that brings you up under it.
Edward Abbey, noted naturalist and author, wrote this: "There are several ways of looking at Delicate Arch. Depending on your preconceptions you may see the eroded remnants of a sandstone fin, a giant engagement ring cemented in rock, a bow-legged pair of petrified cowboy chaps, a triumphal arch for a procession of angels, an illogical freak, a happening.... If Delicate Arch has any significance it lies, I will venture, in the power of the odd and unexpected to startle the senses and surprise the mind out of their ruts of habit, to compel us into a reawakened awareness of the wonderful-that which is full of wonder."
Delicate Arch is located in Arches National Park, near Moab in SE Utah. Spring and fall are the best time to hike in this area. Summer afternoons can be very hot, but hiking can be pleasant mornings and evenings during summer. Hiking is also enjoyable on mild winter days.
Near the trailhead at Wolfe Ranch there is a panel of Native American rock art, attributed to the Utes, which is worth gazing at for a few minutes.
Additional information on Arches National Park or Moab-area attractions can be obtained by contacting the Moab Travel Region or Arches National Park:
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