by Jeff Goulden
A visit to Arches National Park isn't quite complete without a visit to Delicate Arch. A distant view of the arch can be seen from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint, a mere 50 yards from the road, but to experience its majesty you really need to hike to the arch.
The trail to Delicate Arch starts at Wolfe Ranch where there is a fairly small parking area for this popular hike. The trail to the arch is 1.5 miles and gains 480 feet in elevation. There is no shade on this trail so on a warm day you need to take at least one quart of water per person.
From the parking area, the trail takes you past the Wolfe Ranch homestead built in 1888. Just past the homestead, the trail crosses Salt Wash on a suspension bridge. From here a short side trail goes to some ancient Ute petroglyphs that are definitely worth seeing.
Late evening is a great time to photograph Delicate Arch. The setting sun bathes the red rock in a soft glowing light. The distant La Sal Mountains make an excellent backdrop for the arch.
Returning to the trailhead after sunset isn't much of a problem. The footing is good and you just need to follow the rock cairns.
For more information about hiking to Delicate Arch go to the Arches National Park website.
More pictures of Delicate Arch and Arches National Park can be seen in my Arches National Park Gallery. A limited selection of my National Park images are available as prints in my National Parks Gallery on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.