31. December 2014 · Comments Off on Utah Discoveries 3: Hiking to Delicate Arch at Arches National Park · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
My boys got annoyed in a hurry with my attempts for the perfect Delicate Arch photo. I was doing everything in my power to keep other people out of the shot, which was quite difficult.

My boys got annoyed in a hurry with my attempts for the perfect Delicate Arch photo. I was doing everything in my power to keep other people out of the shot, which was quite difficult.

The¬†ultimate goal in our visit to Moab was a visit to Arches National Park. The geology of the region is incredibly unique, with soft sandstone being unevenly worn away due to wind erosion. The terrain doesn’t even look like it belongs on this earth! Delicate Arch, towering over six-stories high, is the most famous of these arches (even appearing on the current Utah license plate, and getting there isn’t easy.

All the books and websites about Delicate Arch will tell you that a sunrise hike to the arch is ultimate way to¬†experience its beauty. So that’s what I wanted to do.

What was I thinking?

After the previous night’s horrible evening of fireworks and heat in our tents, we were too exhausted to awaken early enough for the sunrise hike. We ended up leaving the campsite at about 7:30am, getting to the trailhead for the arch hike around 8:30am.

At the Delicate Arch trailhead. Get there early! The parking spaces will fill up quickly.

At the Delicate Arch trailhead. Get there early! The parking spaces will fill up quickly. Also, bring plenty of water for everyone.

The park’s website will tell give you ample warning about the lack of shade and ample heat on this hike. There are also some lengths where you’re walking on the edge of a rock ledge. Be sure to bring plenty of water, and comfortable surefooted shoes.

There are actually two ways to see Delicate Arch. If hiking isn’t your forte, there is a road that will take you to a view of the arch, but it’s from a mile away. If you want to get up close and personal with the arch, you need to take the 1.5 mile trail.

You will not see the arch until the very end. Which was frustrating to the kids, who peppered Dave and me with a flurry of “How much further?” and “Are we there yet?”.

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And we’re off! The kids were in good spirits for most of the hike, and we welcomed the mostly cloudy conditions.

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Take your time and enjoy the scenery on the hike. It’s gorgeous!

 

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The trail is actually more crowded than these photos are indicating.

 

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This is called “slickrock“. There are little piles of rocks along this trail that indicates where we’re supposed to be. There are also signs warning hikers to be extra careful on the slickrock when it’s raining.

(Moab is famous for its “slickrock”, as evidenced by its famous biking “Slickrock Trail“.)

 

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Towards the end of the 1.5 mile hike, there’s a length of the trail on the edge of a rock outcropping. Again, you have to be careful of the trail is wet.

After nearly 45 minutes of “are we there yet, mom?”, we turned around a bend and the arch came into view.

As well as the line of people near the arch to get photographed with it.

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There weren’t less than a dozen people trailing off towards the left the entire time we were at the arch. We ended up just getting our photographs from afar.

My goal was to get photos without people in the view. So folks will think I'm the only one there, right?

My goal was to get photos without people in the view. So folks will think I’m the only one there, right? As you can see, I failed here.

We had someone take a family picture.

We had someone take a family picture.

On the return trip, we took a brief detour to see some petroglyphs.

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These were made by the Ute Indians.

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Was Delicate Arch worth the hike? Absolutely! Wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of water, and be sure to get to the trailhead early enough to get parking.