Hiking to Delicate Arch with Kids - Tips & How To
Without any doubt, hiking to Delicate Arch will be top of your Arches National Park visit to do list. And rightly so. It is iconic and known all over the world. Hiking to Delicate Arch should not to be missed when visiting Arches National park with kids.
A Few Facts About the Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is world famous due to its unique geologic structure. It is also the largest free-standing arch in Arches National Park and measures 16 metres. You will see its' picture on every Utah car number shield, so famous is the Arch.
Good to Know Before You’re Hiking to Delicate Arch - with Kids
Heat & Cold
Depending on the time of day and season you will be hiking to Delicate Arch - with kids you MUST be prepared for the heat or cold. The sandstone rock absorbs the heat from the sun, which makes conditions feel even hotter.
Most people will hike it during the summer time. There is no water supply on this hike. Make sure all your water bottles are full. And bring at least 2 litres per person. Seriously!
Mornings or Sun Sets
Hiking to Delicate Arch with kids would be best early mornings or like many others do, experience sunset at the Delicate Arch.
There is little to no shade on the 4.8km roundtrip hike and it is a steadily uphill trail (146m ascent) all the way to the Delicate Arch.
A normal hike and enjoying the Arch will probably take you 2-3 h. We spent nearly 5 hours, including the hike. This place is just so beautiful and once we found the shady place we stayed and enjoyed it.
What to Expect when Hiking to Delicate Arch - with Kids
When we visited Moab in June 2019, the temperature was pleasant, even chilly at times. This was also the reason why we made the decision that Hiking to Delicate Arch - with kids, would be ok during late morning.
Well, what should I say, we were wrong… was it super-hot and did we run out of water? Yes, would be the answers to these questions.
But once parked on a nearly empty carpark right next to the start of the trail, we decided to go for it. But it was clear that we would take it easy. Note our kids were very good hikers even at this young age. If they weren't maybe we would have changed our plans and abandoned Hiking to Delicate Arch - with kids, at that time.
Throughout the park the landscape is beautiful and impressive. And only whilst hiking in the Arches National Park did I realise you get the feeling of what this place is all about. Massive rocks, arches, towers, pinnacles, and balanced rocks make this park so special. Walking through this landscape was unique and exciting.
Hiking to Delicate Arch - with Kids
The hike starts at the Wolfe Ranch Cabin. You will find a large parking lot and hopefully there is space for you.
As the park has many rare plants growing away from the path, the National Park Rangers ask you not to leave the path. It is not always easy especially with all the rocks to climb up left and right. But we managed to hold the kids back and stayed more or less where we should.
In the photo above Lucas is already marching up one of the massive rocks with plenty of rocks to climb to his right. The sun burning down onto the open landscape is also the hardest part when hiking to Delicate Arch, especially with kids.
Every little shade we found we stopped, and made sure the kids drunk enough water and rested a bit. There is really not much shade at all. So, my recommendation is really use these few shady places and do stop if you are hiking the Delicate Arch with kids during a hot day.
Halfway at the Delicate Arch
After having passed the middle section, the last part is again more interesting as the landscape changes to small canyons and vegetation in the form of small prickly bushes are dotted along the path. If you’re lucky, you may even see a gecko or another desert animal.
Whilst Hiking to Delicate Arch with kids the view of the Arch will be hidden until the very last moment.
Kind of good, as this really makes you want to go further and pushes you to finish the hike to Delicate Arch.
The last bit is along a fairly narrowed edge, so better to keep the kids on your hand. (see photo below)
MY TOP TIP when Hiking Delicate Arch
As you are hiking along this last narrow section, it is like you can hear the Delicate Arch calling your name. You are so close now, BUT there is one last surprise before hiking around the corner to the open space to see the Delicate Arch. On this narrow section look up to your right and you will see above you ( approx. 5 metres) a cave.
You do want to climb up there, as the surprise view is so worth it and even better than standing close by the Delicate Arch. Believe me on this. So, we made everybody climb up there, even my sister who is scared of heights as we would not have wanted her to miss the view. I found out after that this viewing hole actually had a name "The Twisted Doughnut Arch"
When you have reached the cave, you actually realise that it is not a cave but a hole framing the most amazing view down to the Delicate Arch. And shade!!!!
What a surprise that was!
Whilst up there we had our picnic, made lots of photos and enjoyed the quiet, shady place. It must have been a good hour before some other people saw us and of course wanted to come up. So, it was time to make space for others and go and make the obligatory photo under the Delicate Arch!
At the Delicate Arch
A few more metres on the narrow edge walk until you turn the corner and you will be entering the large theatre with the Delicate Arch being the stage. At least it felt like that to me.
Our tip is to walk around, as from every angle the Delicate Arch presents itself differently.
To get a photo ALONE under the Delicate Arch people were being patient and allowing everyone enough time to get the perfect picture. I liked that a lot as it really was not pushy, but this is maybe as there were only a few people there. Not sure how this will work during peak season or even at sunset.
Our Thoughts of Hiking Delicate Arch with Kids
Truly amazing and Hiking to Delicate Arch with Kids must be on your Arches National Park to do list. And this is why I feel it is so important not to stress with your visit to the Arches National Park. Make sure you do have time because after this hike we were all happy and very content to head out of the park, back to our accommodation and just relax or go for a swim.
I would not have imagined to pack some more sightseeing into that day, not only for the kids but also not for us adults.
Top TipDo not stress to see the Arches National Park in one day. Take your time and enjoy this beautiful place on earth.
Remember These Points
- Take plenty of water
- Sunhat is an absolute must
- Light clothing recommended
- Good hiking shoes are a must
- Take your time, the Arch will be waiting for you
- Try to go early morning or at the end of the day
- Don't miss the Twisted Doughnut Arch
- Enjoy it to the max
Is hiking to Delicate Arch suitable for strollers?
- Honestly if you have one of these super outdoorsy big wheel strollers then probably yes.
I have put some tips & suggestions together for you to get the most out of this most amazing national park, read Arches National Park with kids – How best to visit
How Long is the Hike to Delicate Arch?
If you are wondering how long the hike to Delicate Arch will be, check out the map below which should give you a good idea of the whole layout, incline and length. Click on the "Learn More" tab to see the full trail for hiking to Delicate Arch with kids.
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I hope that the information provided here will prove itself useful when planning your trip to the Arches National Park to Hike to Delicate Arch.
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below and share your experience, so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries and stories as well.
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