What Is It?
Encompassing a gap 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, Delicate Arch is one of Utah’s state symbols. One of more than 2,000 arches in Arches National Park, Delicate Arch has had many different names, including Salt Wash Arch, Cowboy Chaps and Old Maid’s Bloomers.
A Big Arch
Delicate Arch is the largest freestanding arch in the park. To get the best views, you need to get out of your car. Two short walks to see the arch are the lower and upper viewpoints, which require a 100-yard and half-mile walk, respectively. Some visitors may want to make the difficult 3.5-mile hike up to the arch itself.
How Did It Happen?
Arches National Park has large amounts of sandstone, and the makeup of the sandstone varies. Sandstone is porous and allows water to flow through it. Various parts of the landscape allow water through differently, meaning it erodes at different speeds. Arches remain standing while their centers wash away.
Take a Picture, It May Last Longer
The erosion that forms arches is still happening, meaning new arches will form as old ones fall. Wall Arch, which had spanned 74 feet, fell in August 2008, startling those camping in nearby campsites.
To start planning your trip, visit www.nps.gov/arch or call 435-719-2299.