Hike to Delicate Arch

Arches National Park

Today, under threatening skies and with hoards of other hikers, (some in flip-flops, others with hiking sticks) we embark on a memorable 3 mile round trip adventure on steep slickrock slopes. The trail offers no shade and traverses a rock ledge before arriving at Delicate Arch.

The trail begins at the Wolfe Ranch parking area.


Disabled Civil War veteran John Wesley Wolfe and his son, Fred, settled here in the late 1800s. The weathered log cabin, root cellar, and corral are evidence of the ranch they operated for over 20 years. (park brochure)

nps public domain


After crossing a bridge, a loop trail leads to petroglyphs on rocks that we decide to explore on the way back.

It’s so remarkable to be walking through the geology of Arches National Park! The colors, the rocks, the foliage, the views!

Teaser alert… An arch, yes, but not Delicate Arch…

Ooh… the trail narrows and looks over the edge…

Now we continue along a ledge…

And arrive..

People gather to rest, take pictures, get closer to the base of the arch, and make new acquaintances.

We spend 20 minutes talking to others.

And then it starts to rain!

Everyone starts scrambling down like ants, heading back to the trailhead and seeking the shelter of a waiting parked vehicle.

Water starts streaming through the crevices in the rock and quickly fills the potholes. I try to get a picture but my fingers are too wet to unlock the screen on my iPhone.

Meanwhile, other brave (or crazy) hikers, some carrying crying toddlers, continue up the trail to Delicate Arch. They are closer to the end of the trail than to the beginning, anyway. Besides everyone is already drenched, except for those who thought to bring a poncho.

By the time we arrive back at the trailhead, the rain has stopped, and no, we never do take the loop to see the petroglyphs carved in the rocks. Next time…

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