Hike to Delicate Arch, the Largest Freestanding Arch in Arches National Park

Delicate Arch is the largest freestanding Arch in the park and also made “famous” by Utah license plates. This is a popular hike because the Arch itself is so stunning, standing at 52 feet high and miniaturizing anyone who stands near it. This is a must-see if you’re visiting Arches, but it’s a moderately challenging 3 mile hike. If there is one hike you do in Arches, this should be the one!

Hiking Info

  • 3 mile out and back trail

  • Moderate

  • Elevation change: 629ft

  • Admission: This hike is inside Arches, so you’ll need a National Park pass.

  • Free Parking

  • Bathrooms at trailhead

Note: If you’re unable to do this hike, there is an alternate viewing point a short walk from the parking lot at Lower Delicate Arch Trail. This would be best to view at sunrise, but it’s a much further viewpoint.

When to go

The best time to view the arch is all it’s glow is at sunrise or sunset. At sunrise the sun comes up behind the arch and it’s a bit less crowded. At sunset you get the sun’s light on the front side on the arch, a better option in my opinion, but there will be more people.

Just For Fun Park Tees

It’s always fun to get a tank or tee with the National Park name on it for photos. If you purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no added cost to you. Thank you for supporting this travel blog with your purchase!

The Hike: Delicate Arch Trail

Start from the well marked trailhead in the parking lot.

Eventually you’ll leave the sand path and onto a massive slab of sandstone. This is the most challenging part because it’s a pretty steep climb. If you need a break stop and enjoy the views!

It was a cloudy day when we went in May, which made for a pretty stunning sky.

You’ll continue on through sand, shrubs, and lots of sliderock. Wear some grippy shoes!

Towards the top the trail turns into smooth rock that has been shaped by wind and water. The surface undulates like the ocean.

Keep climbing up the rock. There are even some steps etched into the rock for you.

You turn right after walking the stone path and boom!… there it is! Bigger and more beautiful than you could imagine.

You could spend a month in the this region of Utah and find something new to do each day, but for any weekend warriors here's a list of great activities.

Just For Fun Park Tees

These tees are unnecessary for hiking, but it’s always fun to get a tank or tee with the National Park name on it for photos. I found these Tees on Etsy.

Looking for some cute hiking clothing? My favorite hiking clothes are from Vuori. They are super soft, quick dry and comfortable.

Are you planning a trip soon? These are some of my favorite sites for finding places to stay, book tours, and more:

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