If we were to do Zion National Park all over again, we would hike the Angels Landing first thing in the morning, when the air’s cool and our energy level high.
This we did at Arches National Park.
The 3 mile loop trail to Delicate Arch begins at Wolfe Ranch. Also know as Turnbow Cabin, this humble one-room cabin was built by Civil War veteran John Wesley Wolfe and later sold to Marvin Turnbow and his partners.
The cabin measures merely 17 feet by 15 feet (5.2m by 4.6m), and is made of cottonwood logs topped by a thatch-and-clay roof.
Not far from the trailhead comes an intersection, the left of which leads to a large rock wall
with petroglyphs (petro = rock, glyph = carving) by Ute people – A group of Native American people living primarily in Utah and Colorado.
Back to the main trail and begin the ascend. First on a dirt path,
which winds through an area full of chert – a hard, shiny rock used by Natiive Americans for tools and weapons
Then onto a long stretch of open slickrocks.
Trail are neatly marked with signs
even dead tree branches.
There are Utah junipers, providing minimal shades to those in need.
And places for taking short breaks.
After walking around a short ledge hugging a steep cliff – from which a natural window can be spotted right across.
There it is! – Freestanding, 64 feet high and 45 feet wide, formed by Entrada sandstone
framing the snowy peaks of the La Sal mountain in the background.
Delicate Arch – the most iconic symbol of the state of Utah and one of the most famous geologic features in the world.
Round trip: 3 miles/4.8 kilometers
Elevation change: 480 feet uphill to the arch and downhill back to trailhead.
Best time of the day: Later afternoon is best for photographing the arch. However, sunrise is just as beautiful, much cooler, and always less busy. You might find several hundred people at Delicate Arch for sunset, but just a handful for sunrise. Try to enter the park before 7 am. Get an early start, and beat the crowds. Sunrise and Sunset Times
Carry and drink water: 2-3 quarts (2-3 L) of water per person.
Bring sunscreen and a hat.