We were hanging out in Moab, Utah to avoid a late winter storm that was threatening to dump two feet of snow on I-70. I woke up and said to Theresa, “How about we hike to Delicate Arch today?” She enthusiastically agreed! We visited Arches on our grand tour of Utah in 1996. It was like visiting an old friend.
Delicate Arch is like nature… fragile but resilient. In spite of a tiny left leg that has a long vertical crack in its foot (as shown above), Delicate Arch stands firm on the edge of a thousand-foot cliff.
Here’s a side view of the arch. How does she remain standing?
The Le Sal Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop for Delicate Arch. People were patiently taking turns having their photos taken under the arch. Fortunately there were no “arch hogs” today where people rudely camp out beneath the arch and spoil everyone’s photos.
Even on this cloudy, chilly day, Delicate Arch proved to be a popular destination. There were about 100 people sitting and standing around, having lunch, and getting their pictures taken beneath the arch.
Delicate Arch is a 65-foot tall arch that was formed from an Entrada Sandstone fin that eroded away over millions of years. Interestingly, this amazing arch played no part in the designation of Arches National Monument in 1929, as it wasn’t even within the monument’s boundaries at the time. The arch was acquired in an expansion to the monument in 1938.
We climbed to a ridge on the opposite side of the canyon for lunch and a terrific view of Delicate Arch.
It takes a moderately strenuous 1-1/2 mile hike up slickrock to reach Delicate Arch. In spite of this challenge, the trail is constantly filled with a stream of tourists.
The view from the top of the slickrock trail to Delicate Arch is almost as amazing as the arch itself. The colors are so varied—including red, orange, yellow, green, white, and even blue—that this looks an impressionist painting.
This rock wall near the Delicate Arch Trail was carved by the Ute Indians sometime between 1650 and 1850 A.D. These petroglyphs include horses with riders, bighorn sheep and dogs.
Arches National Park protects 76,679 acres in southeastern Utah. A snowstorm raged over the Le Sal Mountains the entire day we were there but never came over the park.
Balanced Rock is a 55-foot high boulder the size of the three school buses perched precariously on its base.
Tunnel Arch on the right is one of over 2,000 sandstone arches in the park.
Pine Tree Arch is impressively large.
Landscape Arch is the longest natural arch in the world with a span of 290 feet.
Since 1991, three slabs of sandstone measuring 30, 47 and 70 feet have fallen from the thinnest section of the arch on the right. The 1991 fall was captured on film by an amateur photographer. The amazing photo is displayed near the arch. These collapses prompted the National Park Service to close the trail under the arch for two decades and counting.