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You are heading to Arches, and definitely want to see Delicate Arch while you are there. So, the question is, Is the best time to visit Delicate Arch sunrise? Or should you hike Delicate Arch at sunset?”
The Delicate Arch located in Arches National Park is a popular tourist attraction. Some people believe that the best time to visit Delicate Arch is during sunrise because it offers a more peaceful and beautiful experience. However, other people believe that the best time to visit Delicate Arch is during sunset because of the amazing colors that can be seen in the sky. So, what is the best time of day to visit Delicate Arch?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It really depends on what you are looking for in your experience.
These tips are for those who are planning on hiking the Delicate Arch Hike to get up close and personal with Delicate Arch. If you are only planning to see Delicate Arch from the viewpoint, any time of day will be fine.
Delicate Arch Sunrise
My favorite time in Arches National Park is sunrise. If you are looking for a more peaceful and beautiful experience, then sunrise may be the best time for you to visit Delicate Arch. Here is why I recommend doing the Delicate Arch Hike at sunrise:
1. The light is more beautiful and dramatic during sunrise than any other time of day.
2. There are far fewer people at the park early in the morning, so you’ll have more room to roam around and take photos. Delicate Arch is by far the most popular arch in Arches National Park, and sunset is the most popular time to be there. By hiking the trail in the morning, you’ll have fewer people sharing the experience with you. You may even get a few photos with no other hikers in them!-
3. It’s cooler early in the morning, so you won’t be as hot while hiking to Delicate Arch. There is no shade on the Delicate Arch trail, so avoiding the hottest part of the day is a good choice.
4. If Delicate Arch is most likely the #1 must-see attraction on your Arches National Park itinerary. By getting it done first thing in the morning, you’ll ensure you won’t miss out. You won’t have to worry about arranging the rest of your day to make sure you get to Delicate Arch. Knock the big one off the list first and move on! This is especially important if you are trying to visit Arches and Canyonlands in one day.
5. Delicate Arch is the most difficult hike in Arches. Doing it early before you are tired and worn out is a good plan.
6. Arriving at Arches National Park before 6 am, means you don’t have to worry about the timed entry reservation system.
Tips for a great Delicate Arch Sunrise Hike
If you’re looking to take in Delicate Arch during sunrise, here are a few tips to make the most of your experience:
– Arrive early. The hike to Delicate Arch is about 3 miles round trip, so be sure to give yourself enough time to get there in time for the sunrise. This means you’ll want to get to the Delicate Arch Trail while it is still dark
– Be prepared for a steep climb. The hike up to Delicate Arch is a strenuous one, so be sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring plenty of water.
– Watch the weather forecast. Delicate Arch is located in a desert environment, so conditions can change rapidly. Make sure you check the weather forecast before you go and be prepared for extreme weather conditions.
– Bring sunscreen and sun protection, such as a hat, you’ll need it on the way back down.
-Once you’ve seen Delicate Arch at Sunrise, you can take the time on the way back down the trail to explore the other sites on the hike. You’ll see Wolfe Ranch and some really great petroglyphs.
-Pack a headlamp to help you navigate the beginning part of the trail in the dark.
-I didn’t know this before we visited Delicate Arch, but you can walk around it, and behind it. There is a large bowl behind Delicate Arch, so after you get the iconic shot, take some time to explore behind it and view it from different angles.
Delicate Arch Sunset
Delicate Arch is beautiful at sunset. The warm evening light accentuates the red hue of the sandstone and creates a beautiful contrast with the blue sky. As the sun sets, you can also enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape.
1 Delicate Arch is located in a great spot for watching the sunset. Sunset is one of the most popular times to see Delicate Arch. You can sit on the rocks and watch as the sun goes down, its a beautiful site.
2 The best time to visit for photography is in the late afternoon or early evening. In the mid afternoon the sun is directly overhead making for a glare on your photos. In the evening the softer light is great for getting the perfect picture of Delicate Arch.
3 The arch itself is a beautiful sight at sunset. The arch will be glowing a fiery red at sunset, and its truly breathtaking.
4 The colors of the sky are amazing when viewed from the arch. The contrast of the sky as it darkens with the red across the rock formations is so beautiful.
5 There’s a really good view of the stars from up there. Arches National Park is a certified Interational Dark Sky Park due to its isolated location and lack of light pollution. This means that its an excellent park to stargaze. Delicate Arch is a great place to watch for milkway. By hiking delicate arch at sunset, you’ll be in a great position when the sun goes down.
Tips for Hiking Delicate Arch at Sunset
If you are looking for an amazing hike to take in the sunset, delicate arch is the perfect spot! Here are a few tips to make the most of your experience.
– Arrive early to get a good spot. The arch can get crowded during peak times, so it’s best to arrive early and stake out your spot.
-Bring plenty of water and snacks. The hike is pretty strenuous, so you’ll want to stay hydrated and fueled up.
-Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. The sun can be pretty intense in this area, so it’s important to protect your skin.
– Be careful on the rocks. There are a lot of rocks on this trail, so watch your step and take it slow.
– Enjoy the view! Once you reach the arch, take a moment to soak up the incredible view and enjoy the sunset.
– Bring a headlamp for your hike back to the parking lot, especially if you plan on staying much after dark. If you are planning on stargazing, be sure your headlamp can switch to a red light, like this one. This insures that you can see, but your light wont distract your eyes and you’ll still be able to see the stars.
-Bring a lightweight coat, it can get cold very quickly after the sun goes down.
Delicate Arch Facts
Delicate Arch was so much bigger than I thought it was. My sister and I took my boys to Arches and got this photo taken, it really shows how big it is!
The opening of Delicate Arch is 46 feet high and 32 feet wide. This is the largest free standing arch in the park.
The arch itself is 52 feet tall.
Delicate Arch has also been called Cowboy’s Chaps, Old Maid’s Bloomers and Salt Wash Arch.
If you don’t want to hike to Delicate Arch, you can see it from a view point one mile away. The lower view point is about 100 yard walk. You can also go to the upper view point which is about a half a mile walk.
Delicate Arch is formed from Entrada Sandstone and gets its red color from iron oxide.
Delicate Arch is the logo on Utah’s License Plate.
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Delicate Arch Hiking Trail
Delicate Arch trail is one of the most popular hike in the US National Parks. I personally find it to be one of my favorite hikes. I would definitely tell you to expect crowds though, I had done no research when we went and I was shocked about how many people were there!
You start your hike from the Wolfe Ranch Parking lot. This is a large parking lot, but it will definitely fill up quickly. If you cant find parking at Wolfe Ranch, you can park in the Delicate Arch viewpoint, but this will add one mile each way to your hike.
In the parking lot, look for the start of the delicate arch trailhead. The trail starts out pretty easy with just a few gentle climbs along the way. About 1/4 mile into the Delicate Arch hike, you’ll see a side trail. Take this short spur either on the way up, or the way down, but be sure and take it!
This spur will only add about 10 minutes to your hike, but it will take you to see some well preserved petroglyphs. Ute Indians carved these images of big horn sheep, and horses with riders were carved sometime between 1650-1850. Dont touch the drawings, the oil in your hands can ruin them.
One you’ve explored the petroglyphs, continue on up the Delicate Arch trail.
Once you reach the slickrock part of the hike, you are at the most difficult and strenuous part of the hike. Keep following the rock cairns that act as trail markers, and keep pushing forward and up! If you’ve chosen to not hike to Delicate Arch at sunrise, this slickrock can be very hot in the middle of the day.
After the slickrock, the trail is easier. Towards the end, you will be walking along a narrow path with a big drop off on the side. Watch your footing and be careful. If you have a fear of heights, this part may be the most difficult for you.
The best moment is coming up! When you turn the final corner you’ll finally see Delicate Arch! It’s such a beautiful site, and all of your hard work will have been worth it!
Delicate Arch Hike Quick Facts
Distance: 3.2 miles round trip
Hike Type: out and back
Elevation Gain: 639 feet
Difficulty: moderately challenging
Approximate Time: 1.5 hours, not counting the time you spend at the arch.
Permit needed: Entrance Pass to Arches National Park, or America the Beautiful Pass
Delicate Arch Sunrise, or Sunset?
If you want to see the most beautiful side of Delicate Arch, I recommend going during sunrise. The colors are incredible and it’s not as crowded. However, if you would rather see the sunset over the arch, that is definitely worth witnessing as well.
No matter when you go, be sure to take in the views and enjoy this hike! Have you been to Delicate Arch? What time did you go?
National Park Resources
When planning a National Park trip, these are the resources I use:
✅ First, grab an America the Beautiful Pass– this grants access to all NPS sites for 12 months
✅ Download the free NPS App to help you navigate the parks
✅ Check GyPSy Guide to see if there is an audio tour for your park
✅ Use Hotels.com for hotel stays and earn 1 free night after every 10 nights
✅ Use the DYRT or Harvest Hosts to look for camping sites
✅ Use RV Share or Escape Campervans to explore the parks
✅ Get Souvenirs and Parks Passport before you go using National Parks E-Store
➡️Read more about how to visit all 63 US National Parks
These are resources I trust and use in my travels. By purchasing through the links above, you help me keep my blog running at no additional cost to you, and I appreciate it so much!