by Jeff Goulden
One of the most iconic images in all of the 59 U.S. National Parks is that of Delicate Arch in Utah's Arches National Park. Delicate Arch has become an unofficial symbol for the state of Utah and has even been used as a background for the state license plate.
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.
Back on the main trail you soon reach red slickrock and some easy walking. Just follow the rock cairns and you will reach the top of the hill where the trail gradually levels out. Beyond this point you are on a rock ledge with some exposure to heights. In a short 200 yards you reach the viewpoint.
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.
Having your picture taken under the arch seems to be a popular pastime among visitors. Please be considerate of others who want to take pictures and don't linger near the arch for too long.
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. Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
Jeff's Photo Blog
In this Photo Blog I have combined my 50 year passion for photography and my love of the natural world, creating a portfolio that reveals nature in its pure and simple beauty. I am pleased to share my passion with you through this blog.