Hiking to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park


(Did you know it’s the Centennial Celebration of the National Parks? It is! The National Parks Service is officially celebrating their 100th birthday on August 25th. I absolutely love and respect the National Park Service and plan on doing a whole bunch of National Park posts this month. Check out my last post about Rocky Mountain and next up is this one, Arches National Park….)

A couple of weekends ago, my boyfriend and I got the chance to make a quick visit to Moab, Utah. I had never been before, and Ben had a guiding opportunity for the area so when a friend cancelled plans with me back in town, I jumped at the opportunity to go with!

Sunrise near Fischer's Towers

Sunrise near Fischer’s Towers

We drove out on a Friday night, camped in my new Jeep Renegade and were up before the sun the next morning. While Ben met with his client, I got my running clothes on, loaded up with water (it is after all the desert) and laced up my trail shoes.


Shot with my Go Pro Hero 4

We were all super lucky that it was an unusual day in the desert and even thought is was 90 degrees at 8am, it didn’t feel like that with the overcast skies. I got a great run/hike in around Fisher’s towers in Castle Vally outside of Moab.


Once Ben was done working, we had a lot of time to spare before we had to head back to Golden, so we decided to check out Arches National Park, another place I had never been. I have always seen pictures of the Delicate Arch and always have wanted to see it in person.

Ben was tired

Ben was tired

We entered the park via the main entrance. There’s only one other way to get into the park, which is the way we exited, but it’s through the north most part of the park via a dirt county road and it not well-marked. At all.

After passing the other amazing vistas and landmarks of Arches (Tower of Babel, Courthouse Towers) and taking the best picture of Balance Rock, we made our way to the trailhead for Delicate Arch.

Help preserve the national parks by holding up Balanced Rack.

Help preserve the national parks by holding up Balanced Rack.

Thinking we were still having great luck with the weather, we left our car with only two 16.9 oz bottles of water even when the signs recommended two liters per person. Sure enough, the sun finally came out in full blaze and we were hiking in 110 degree heat.

We didn’t turn back because in our heads, we thought we were pretty fit people and didn’t need more water than we had. We kept going, after all it is only a three mile hike, round trip! Little did we  know (ok maybe Ben did, but I didn’t) that we would be hiking 50% of the time on rock, feeling like we were in a  microwave.


We went through our water before we even reached the arch. Ben even gave me 90% of his water. Needless to say, we probably we suffering from heat exhaustion.


Worth it? Totally. The arch was incredible! (Please note, I don’t recommend heat exhaustion at all. Learn from me and trust the signs; bring 2 liters of water during the hot summer months.) With polite people waiting in a line, I got my desired picture under that arch.

If you look closely, I'm under the arch! Bucket list: check!

If you look closely, I’m under the arch! Bucket list item: check!

We started our way down, making friends with a family from Texas and back to our air-conditioned car.

We really wanted to do the seven hour mile to see Private Arch, Landscape arch and more, but we just didn’t have enough time. All that means is we get to go back – maybe during a less-hot time.


As I mentioned before, we decided to leave through the other entrance, a long, un marked dirt road. There is one more view this way, Tower Arch, that not many make it to. You can either park and hike three miles round trip or take a 4WD road. Having just bought my new jeep, I really wanted to try the 4WD trail….

4WD Fail

4WD Fail

Let’s just say, I need more 4WD practice… Ben and I had a good laugh as I stalled my car many times and got stuck in the deep sand. Maybe next time!

Getting there:

  • You can to Arches National Park via Highway 191 or 128 through Utah off I-70.
  • Highly suggest entering from the main entrance on the south side of the park.
  • Park Website


  • Seriously, bring LOTS of water. It is after all a desert.
  • Although not a big National Park, the trails are pretty strenuous and take a lot of time. Plan for at least one FULL day or a couple of days in the park to get the best of Arches.
  • We camped (in the Jeep) out side of the park, in BLM land for $15 a night.
  • Enjoy Moab! There’s a lot of things to do in and out of the park! We noticed signs for zip lines, rafting, 4WD trips, and more!


5 thoughts on “Hiking to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park

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