The Best Time to Visit Delicate Arch

The Best Time to Visit Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch is one of the most famous formations from any of the national parks in the United States.  Standing 52 feet tall, years of weather erosion has resulted in the freestanding arch we see today.  It has become so famous that it also graces the license plates of Utah!  Delicate Arch is a photographer’s dream, and we found early April just after sunrise to be an amazing time to visit.


The park’s star, Delicate Arch, graces Utah license plates

  • LOCATION:  Utah
  • CLOSEST MAJOR CITIES:  Moab, Utah (located here) | Salt Lake City, Utah (230 miles away) 
  • ANNUAL VISITORS:  1.8 million (2022)
  • 20th most visited US National Park out of 63
  • TOP THINGS TO DO:  View Delicate Arch

About the Hike

Located in Arches National Park in southeastern Utah, the 3 mile hike on Delicate Arch Trail to reach Delicate Arch is labeled strenuous according to the National Park Service.  If hiking this trail during winter, when snow can hit the park and trails can be slick, be cautious.  Make sure your shoes have good traction and consider bringing trekking poles.  In the summer months, temperatures will be high and the sun intense, so plan for this.  Have sun protection and plenty of water and try to do this hike early or late in the day.  If you want the best temperatures for comfortable hiking, do this hike in the spring or fall. 

As for the difficulty of the hike, you have plenty of areas when ascending the slick rock to stop and take a break as needed.  Make sure your shoes have good traction, consider taking trekking poles for the ascending parts of the hike, pack plenty of water and snacks, and enjoy – this hike is incredible!

When We Visited

We visited Delicate Arch in early April.  We found this to be an awesome time to visit.  While it was busy, it wasn’t overcrowded and the temperatures were great for exploring.  

The Best Time to Visit

When reading about the best times to visit Delicate Arch, sunrise and sunset are often touted as the best times to visit.  We didn’t want to visit at sunset as we didn’t want to be hiking the trail back in the dark.  Sunrise came early in April, when we were there.  Alarms were set for 5:00 am, we were at the park entrance by 6:00 am, and we were hiking by 6:30 am.  We may have missed the actual sunrise however had we been at Delicate Arch at sunrise, we would have missed all the gorgeous light bathing the trail during our hike to the arch!  We recommend hiking just after sunrise to get the most amazing light!

Another reason we liked doing this hike just after sunrise:  as we were hiking to Delicate Arch, the plethora of sunrise chasers were heading back.  We didn’t experience crowds on the trail nor at the arch!  By visiting just after sunrise we experienced low crowds and the most beautiful morning light.

Now, I will let the pictures do the talking so you can seen for yourself why we think just after sunrise in early April is the best time to visit Delicate Arch!

Read More!

We have several articles on visiting the American Southwest:

Canyonlands National Park is located very close to Arches.  If visiting Arches, make time to visit Canyonlands as well and see why Canyonlands Should Be Your Next National Park!

Utah is home to five national parks, collectively known as “The Mighty Five”.  Check out our guide to visiting these parks, Guide To Visiting Utah’s Epic Mighty Five National Parks.  

For more in depth information in to visiting Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks, you can read about that trip here:  Rounding Out Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks.  

For more in depth information in visiting Zion, Bryce Canyon, as well as a few days in Page, Arizona, check out our guide:  Southwest National Parks Road Trip.  

To see some of the best our country has to offer, be sure to check our our guide:  The Ultimate Southwest Road Trip.  

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