Utah February 25, 2017
15 Things You Didn’t Know About Utah’s Delicate Arch – And Why You Need To See It In Person
Delicate Arch is an iconic Utah symbol – it’s even on our license plate. Every Utahn can identify it – but how many have actually visited in person? If you’ve never seen it in person, some of these things may surprise you.
1. Nearly 1.4 million people visit Arches National Park every year.
Far fewer see the arch up close - many just view it from one of the overlooks.
2. Once you get close to the arch, you'll be surprised by its size.
It's hard to tell how large this arch is just from photos. Delicate Arch stands about 60 feet tall. The light opening inside the arch is 46 feet high.
3. People don't just take a selfie and move on.
You'll usually find dozens of people sitting and enjoying the view. Sunset is a particularly popular time for photographers - sometimes hundreds of people wait for the right photo opportunity as dusk nears.
4. As the sun sets, the arch is even more beautiful than ever.
You can see why people wait for this kind of photo opportunity!
5. Sunrise is the least crowded time to see the arch.
The hike will likely be chilly, but if you're looking for more solitude, sunrise is the time to be here.
6. Arches National Park is also a wonderful place to be in the dark.
The park doesn't close at night - allowing you to see the stars.
7. Delicate Arch is made of Entrada Sandstone.
The arch was created by erosion.
8. Delicate Arch (and the other arches and rock formations here) get their red color from iron oxide.
It takes as little as 1% of iron oxide to give the sandstone its color.
9. Delicate Arch has had more than a few names.
Names for the icon include "Cowboy's Chaps," "Old Maid's Bloomers," and "Salt Wash Arch." The first time the arch was called "Delicate" was in a magazine article in 1934. The writer noted that the arch was "the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area."
10. The arch is beautiful in the snow, but you'll need to take extra precautions if you're hiking to see it up close.
In cold weather, the last 70 yards of the trail are often covered with ice. You'll want to wear extra traction, such as Yak-Traks over the soles of your hiking boots.
11. Summer temperatures at Delicate Arch often exceed 100 degrees.
If you're hiking Delicate Arch Trail, bring plenty of water.
12. The park once considered covering the arch in a plastic coating to better preserve it.
This crazy idea, hatched in the 1950s, was quickly abandoned.
13. Climbing Delicate Arch is illegal.
In fact, climbing any arch in the park (and there are an estimated 2,000) is not allowed.
14. To see the arch up close, you'll need to take a strenuous, 3-mile round-trip hike.
Delicate Arch Trail starts at the Wolf Ranch Cabin.
The trail is steep - gaining 480 feet in elevation.
You'll walk across a long stretch of slickrock...
...then wind around a ledge that's perched on the edge of a cliff.
Park rangers suggest that visitors consider weather conditions and their level of fitness before attempting this hike - every year, rescue operations are needed for unprepared hikers.
Is it worth the effort? Definitely.
15. If you're not up for Delicate Arch Trail, you can see the arch from one of the viewpoints.
Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint is reached with just a level, 100-yard stroll. Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint requires a half-mile hike with some stairs, but offers a better view.
Have you seen Delicate Arch in person? Tell us about your experience!
Check out another of Utah’s amazing places –
Goblin Valley State Park.