Arches National Park
Delicate Arch Trail

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch may be the most rewarding hike I've ever taken. Most of the trail is through amazing beauty, and walking along the waves of slick rock is a tactile joy. Every step seems interesting and unique.

There is a sacred feel along the trail which only increases to something profound when finally you see Delicate Arch. I've done this hike many times, and each time I feel I enjoy it more.

There is a fee needed to enter Arches National Park, which you can pay at a drive up entrance station immediately after you enter the park from Interstate 191.
From the entrance station, follow the park road 11.6 miles to the Wolfe Ranch Road.
Take a right onto Wolfe Ranch road and follow it for 1.2 miles to the Delicate Arch Parking Lot.
Coordinates for the hike: 38.7356790,-109.5202580
Parking / Trailhead amenities
There is a map board with trail brochures, and a couple of pit toilets next to the parking area. The parking lot is paved and there are quite a few spaces available, though I would guess there could be a shortage during the busiest summer months.
Trail observations
The trailhead exits directly from the parking lot and is well marked. The first section of the trail is flat for a short ways, then it climbs and descends a hill, then climbs for quite a distance to the top of a slickrock ridge. The trail stays on top of the ridge, gradually ascending till it reaches Delicate Arch. From Delicate Arch, retrace your steps back to the parking lot.
The trail is quite wide as it approaches the slickrock. Once on the slickrock the path is generally as wide as there is room, and you will need to follow the cairns to stay on the trail. There are a few places where there is some exposure to moderately dangerous drops - if you have children, you should keep an eye on them.
Trail statistics
The trail is 3.59 miles long. The sum of all the uphill climbs is 234 feet.
Trail waypoints
0.02 miTrail headStarting out on the trail
0.15 miBridgeBridge
0.29 miSteep hillSteep climb up a small hill
0.37 miHill descentGradual descent down the small hill
0.41 miHillSmall hill at beginning of trail
0.73 miAscentSteep climb up slick rock
0.87 miClimbingClimbing a long slickrock ascent
1.13 miLooking backView looking back down the slickrock ascent
1.20 miTop trailMostly level trail heading towards Delicate Arch
1.43 miAlcovesAlcoves, arches, and wonderful rock
1.43 miBridgeBridge spanning an alcove, viewed from the trail
1.76 miArch Delicate Arch
1.79 miCliffThe trail follows a cliff - this is a little dangerous
1.79 miTurnaroundTrail end - retrace trail back to parking lot
1.86 miArch La SalDelicate Arch with the La Sal mountains behind
3.59 miEnd of trailParking lot
Trail map - Delicate Arch Trail
Altitude chart - Delicate Arch Trail Trail head Hill descent Hill Ascent Alcoves Bridge Cliff End of trail
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain : Canyon
Trail surface: Dirt
Trail surface: Rock
View: Open
County: Grand County
State: Utah
Country: United States of America
National Park Service web site
National Park Service map of Arches
Printable trail map in PDF format (11 Mb download)
Printable trail map in PNG format (2 Mb download)
Waypoints in CSV format
Waypoints in KML format
Instructions on using a trail description page
Instructions on using a trail map printout
Trails in the surrounding area
Area map for Colorado and Utah (4 additional trails)
Area map for Colorado and Utah (4 additional trails)
Area map for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah (4 additional trails)