Monday, June 14, 2010

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

You are looking at one of my all time favorite pictures, taken at one of my all time favorite places.

Arches National Park in the great state of Utah.

I can barely remember who that is standing behind me, but behind her is Delicate Arch, an arch that is pretty much the iconic symbol of Utah.

Legend has it that a map maker mixed up Delicate Arch with Landscape Arch. Landscape Arch, which is truly delicate, was supposed to be so-named, while Delicate Arch, which does sit like a part of the landscape, was also supposed to be so-named.

Turns out the accidental naming of Delicate Arch is a myth.

The trail that leads to Delicate Arch is my 2nd favorite in Arches National Park, with my favorite being the ranger led Fiery Furnace Hike.

To find Delicate Arch, from the Arches National Park entry drive 11.7 miles to the Wolfe Ranch/Delicate Arch turn-off. Drive another 1.2 miles to the Delicate Arch trailhead parking zone. There is limited parking, so try to go during the off-peak time of the day and year, if possible.

The hike is slightly strenuous, with some elevation gain. Some parts of the trail might make an acrophobic mildly squeamish. You can see part of the trail that might cause some to be a bit acrophobic in the video below.

Soon upon starting your hike to Delicate Arch you will walk past the remains of the John Wesley Wolfe Ranch, built in 1888, abandoned in 1910. Next you will cross Salt Wash on a suspension bridge.

The trail route is heavily traveled and easy to follow. As you get near Delicate Arch you will pass Frame Arch, so named because the arch acts as a picture frame for photos of Delicate Arch. At this point the trail is on a ledge blasted from sandstone, and is the part of the trail referenced above that might make those who suffer from acrophobia a bit weak in the knees.

You turn a corner and are in full view of Delicate Arch. Do not climb on the arch. Do not linger too long under the arch, as this is considered bad manners, making it difficult for others to get the personal photo they want to get.

Delicate Arch Trail
Length: 1.5 miles One-Way.
Time: 1 1/4 hours One-Way.
Trailhead: 4,300'
Arch Elevation: 4,800'
Skill Rating: Easy, there is nothing difficult.
Season: Year Round

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