Delicate Arch  

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Delicate Arch is a tall freestanding natural arch located in Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.

It is the most widely-recognized landmark in Arches National Park and is depicted on Utah license plates and on a postage stamp commemorating Utah's centennial anniversary of statehood in 1996. The Olympic torch relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics passed through the arch.

Hiking to the Arch

Delicate Arch is located at the end of a moderately strenuous hiking trail from the parking area at Wolfe Ranch. Taking thirty to forty-five minutes each way, the round trip is slightly more than 3 miles long and the Arch is completely hidden from view on this trail.

The first third of the hike is through rugged, brushy terrain and gains slightly in elevation. The middle third of the hike is along the face of an exposed slickrock outcrop and is strenuous due to the gain in elevation, but offers better views of the geology in the salt valley. Cairns (piles of rocks) have been placed by visitors and park staff to roughly suggest the otherwise unmarked trail to the top, yet visitors tend to wander all over the huge expanse of completely exposed sandstone.

The latter third of the trail is the most rugged, as hikers have now nearly reached the "top" of the plateau. The Arch is still invisible, and the trail runs around outcrops, through washes and between stands of twisted brush and trees. The trail may be easier to follow, but meanders as parts become muddy and difficult to walk through. During the 2004 fall season, the trail clearly followed the left (northern) side of the plateau, and brought visitors along a narrow shelf above a dry wash.

The arch comes into view suddenly around a corner in the trail and frames the La Sal Mountains to the southeast. The immediate area around the Arch offers views of the southern expanse of the park, and has unguarded cliffs plunging one hundred feet or more.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Delicate Arch" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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