Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hike to the Delicate Arch at Arches National Park

My favorite part of Arches National Park on Memorial Day was our hike to see the Delicate Arch. I was surprised at how difficult it is to get to many of the arches. I naively thought that as soon as I entered the national park there would be arches scattered all of the place. It's really more like a huge Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs with some arches mixed in, lots of which you can't even see from the paved road.

Our first view of the Delicate Arch was from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint trail. It's so tiny you may even have to look for it in this first photo. (If there is a photo in my blog that you would like to see larger, just click on the picture for a larger view.) I immediately realized this was not the trail I expected and I wanted to hike up to the arch and I didn't want to settle for this far away view of it.

Zoomed in view of the arch. You can see people all over the place under it now.

There were tons of people at the park since it was a holiday, but the nice thing is you can always find someone to take a family photo. Here you can see the arch directly above Savanna's head.

Next we started the real Delicate Arch hike. The park information brochure says it will take 2-3 hours and to bring 2 quarts of water per person. We did the hike in 1 hour. Thank goodness we were acclimated and used to hiking steep trails. The elevation gain was 480 feet and 3 miles round trip.

A look here at Savanna will give you an idea of how steep the walk up this huge rock was. The rocks around Moab are not slippery at all and you can have such great traction in the right shoes, very unlike the trails we are used to in the San Juan Mountains with loose and deteriorating rocks.

Looking back down the trail toward the parking lot.

Nearing the top of the trail there is a very narrow ledge with quite a drop-off. See the two people on the right? Just around that corner you can finally see the Delicate Arch.

One more view of the steep ledge part of the trail.

Finally we're at the Delicate Arch!!!

A zoomed in view with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

The next two photos are of Jay and Savanna under the arch. I had a terrible time holding the camera still because the wind was about to knock it out of my hands. Savanna is wearing a blue shirt and Jay is wearing a whitish-gray shirt.

One more shot just for the heck of it and because I like it.


Phil said...

Amazing place! Great pics and story. I have to visit sometime.

julie said...

Aw, Lisa, this brings back memories, some not so pleasant (!) for me! When, no doubt, you were just a young tyke, I and my Geology Field Camp co-horts were trekking all over this area for our field work on anticlines and sedimentary rocks. It was not as well visited in those days- quite desolate, except for us. A most vivid memory is of our professor, who slathered baby oil on his face and lectured to us with many black flies stuck on his cheeks!

camper said...

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for the comments about Chaos! We take a lot of photos of our monster and sometimes they end up being pretty good!
You and your family do a great job of exploring the region and posting about it!
Cheers and I'm sure I'll see you around Telluride at some point... chaos may be the golden chasing the gondola!