Widely recognized as a Utah state symbol, Delicate Arch is a free standing arch unsupported by other rock or fins. This world famous geologic wonder stands approximately 64 feet high and 45 feet wide (21 m by 15 m). Long ago the Entrada sandstone fin was eroded by weather leaving the fragile arch behind. Referencing its unique free-standing shape, Delicate Arch has also been known as “Cowboys Chaps” and “Old Maid’s Bloomers.”
As this is the most visited attraction in Arches National Park, the trail to Delicate Arch is heavily traveled and well defined. From the trailhead you will pass Wolfe Ranch log cabin, inhabited from 1888 to 1910. The first part of the hike is on a wide improved trail that leads to the base of a steep sandstone hill, or slickrock. Stacks of rocks, called cairns, mark the route up this slickrock face. You will pass Frame Arch on your right as you near your destination, which is often used as a picture frame for photographing Delicate Arch. The trail follows an impressive 200 yard man made ledge created in the sandstone. A short assent reveals a picturesque view of the stunning Delicate Arch.
While this trail is frequently crowded with lots of visitors, and might be strenuous for some, we highly recommend this hike as it can’t be fully appreciated until you see it for yourself. If the details of the hike seem daunting, consider seeing the arch from the official viewpoint. Finally, ask your guide about local tips for seeing the arch without the crowds.