As I continue my journey through arches, it is most important to mention the most famous arch in all the park, Delicate Arch. This stand alone arch is one of the great icons of Utah. It can be seen anywhere you drive, just look on the license plates of our vehicles. It has countless of photographs of it circulating around the state and has a firm position on any post card stand at almost any gas station. Delicate Arch is miracle in itself and a must see of Arches National Park.
It is a mildly difficult hike of about 1.5 miles one way totaling about 3 miles all around. There is a section that is quite difficult due to the large rock face that you traverse to get to the top of the plateau. This is by far the most difficult part of the entire adventure. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I had visited the arch in the summer and thus it was very hot. The trail has no shade until the very end of it (depending on the time, that might be in the sun also) so bring at least a liter or two of water per adult.
You cannot see the arch until the very end of the hike. Just before you arrive at the arch you find yourself on the edge of a cliff with a trail that wraps around the rock face. Its not long before the arch comes into view and you have arrived. This stand alone arch is completely unconnected. This is the unique geological feature of this arch. Most arches within the park sit usually within a larger system of cliffs or canyons often called fins (this is due to their narrow structure). Not only this, the arch sits at the top of a big bowl making it a very scenic location to take pictures. If it’s the afternoon, take a snack and enjoy the shade of the arch and get a few up close and personal shots with it. Also if you are interested in a more rare and unique image, track when the next full moon will be and set up a camera. One of the famous attributes about this arch is the ability to get a picture of the moon through the arch with the La Sal Mountains in the back ground. Its quite impressive.
I sat at the arch for about 20 minutes, taking pictures and enjoying the wind and silence. After a few exploring moments I finally bounded my way back to the car, off to go explore other area’s of the park. The walk back each time I have done this hike always seems to take forever. Once things level out though, you know you are close. Getting back to the vehicle I would recommended a cold drink and the nice interior of an air conditioned vehicle.
Other cool facts about this arch. It was featured in the movie “The Hulk.” But in the movie the entire place was blown to bits by helicopters rather than being a peaceful place where one can relax.