Delicate Arch, Delicate Arch Trailhead, Arches National Park, Utah

Delicate Arch - 3.0 miles

Delicate Arch Trailhead

Delicate Arch (GPS: N38 44.627 W109 29.991)

Delicate Arch (GPS: N38 44.627 W109 29.991)

Round-Trip Length: 3.0 miles
Start-End Elevation: 4,280' - 4,815' (4,815' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +535' net elevation gain (+602' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Delicate Arch - 3.0 Miles Round-Trip

Delicate Arch is perched high above the desert floor, framed by the distant La Sal Mountains and fronted by lengthy waves of colorful slickrock. While this iconic formation is the trail's main attraction, the hike also features a nearby panel of Ute petroglyphs, and the abandoned ranch of frontiersman John Wesley Wolfe:

Trail Map | Photos

From the trailhead, the trail crosses Salt Wash to a short spur for Wolfe Ranch. Another nearby spur leads to the Ute petroglyph panel depicting horses and a bighorn sheep hunt.

The trail climbs gradually for .75 miles on a wide gravel path above rolling desert scrub, then turns sharply up a steep, exposed slickrock slope with terrific views of a striated mesa to the south. Cairns now mark the remainder of the trail; though generally easy to follow, be mindful of your orientation in this increasingly indistinguishable landscape.

The challenging hill levels off through a slickrock saddle (1.1 miles : 4,640') dotted with pinyon and juniper, then turns a corner with northerly panoramas of Navajo Sandstone dome formations (1.35 miles : 4,755').

The final 100 yards funnel hikers along a narrow ledge blasted out of stone, passing Frame Arch on the approach to a good view point and 'frame' for Delicate Arch.

Most visitors stop on the high ridge overlooking Delicate Arch, however with some determination it's possible to walk around and under it. The space between the ridge and arch is a surreal, spiraling stretch of slickrock - a playground for the adventurous and sure footed. Be courteous to others taking photos from a distance when exploring the vicinity.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N38 44.135 W109 31.229 — Delicate Arch Trailhead
  • N38 44.426 W109 30.585 — Begin uphill slickrock travel
  • N38 44.507 W109 30.319 — Slickrock travel mark #2
  • N38 44.659 W109 30.079 — Slickrock bench on approach to Delicate Arch
  • N38 44.645 W109 29.991 — Delicate Arch viewing area
  • N38 44.617 W109 29.948 — Delicate Arch

Worth Noting

  • The trail, which travels over extensive slickrock and by several steep dropoffs, can be trecherous when wet. Check with a ranger if conditions are questionable.

  • Delicate Arch is best lit in the afternoon.

  • The trail is highly exposed and challenging for some; carry ample water and sun protection.

  • This is a very popular destination and heavily used trail; be prepared to share preferred view points with others.

Directions to Trailhead

The Delicate Arch Traihead is located approximately 11.7 miles north of the main park entrance station and visitor center. Take the main park road to the Delicate Arch - Wolfe Ranch turnoff on the right. Travel another 1.2 miles to the parking area on your left.

Contact Information

Arches National Park
PO Box 907
Moab, Utah 84532-0907
Headquarters Phone: 435-719-2100
Fax: 435.719.2305
Phone: 435.719.2299 (recorded information)
Camping Reservation Line: 877.444.6777

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"I had seen Delicate Arch in countless photographs but nothing could have prepared me for the real thing. To start, it's kind if hard to get to! The trail runs steeply over wide expanses of slick rock before riding a slick rock bench to the arch viewpoint. To actually reach the arch, one has to navigate a precarious (for me) slick rock bowl to the base of Delicate Arch itself. The views are amazing and we came back the next day for sunset."
Amy  -  Los Angeles, CA  -  Date Posted: November 23, 2013


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