Hello and thanks for checking out my article on Delicate Arch! My name is Samuel French. I’m from Knightdale, North Carolina and currently live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have always loved the outdoors and nature.
I got my first camera in 2019 to record myself playing guitar. Falling in love with photography came naturally to me. I started taking pictures of everything, but mainly of dogs at the rescue I volunteered at. My wanderlust developed as I saw more pictures of epic landscapes. I thought that traveling and sharing photos of destinations would be fun.
Then right after COVID-19 hit, my brother passed away and it made me think of life in a different way. I wanted to experience more. Life is so short and I didn’t want to waste it sitting around watching TV or going out on the weekends. I wanted to live life to the fullest and make my brother proud.
So I started grinding down and learning everything there is to know about photography. Since COVID-19, I began to go on more hikes and take as many types of compositions as I could to see what worked and what didn’t. This helped me to stay busy and use this time to do something positive.
I have enjoyed traveling around the states and improving my skills along the way. It’s been a tough but rewarding time. My bucket list has grown considerably. My next big stop is to Iceland at the end of July! I can’t wait to discover the Land of Fire and Ice. This country looks like a dream.
Visiting Arches National Park in Utah
Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Arches National Park. I had seen many pictures of Delicate Arch online and knew I had to check it out. So I saved up some money and travel points to head out to Utah for five days. I landed in Las Vegas and visited Zion, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, slot canyons, Bryce Canyon, Valley of Fire and Arches.
Delicate Arch is located on the far east side of Arches National Park. The arch has its own trail. When you follow the main road in the park from the visitor center you start to see signs with arrows pointing how to get there. I didn’t actually realize how big the park was until I got there.
I could have spent a few days exploring the national park. Since I didn’t see everything at Arches, I can’t definitively say that Delicate Arch is the number one highlight. However, out of all the places I saw, I would say it was the best. It’s amazing what this earth can create. The 180 degree view around the arch with the mountains in the distance was stunning!
There is a sign at the beginning of the trail that tells you all about how it was formed naturally over thousands (if not millions) of years. The arch was created by the movement of underground salt beds beneath sandstone which washed away or broke off, in combination with erosion from water. It’s fascinating to think about the power and wisdom of Mother Nature.
My Favorite Memory from Delicate Arch
My favorite moment from visiting Delicate Arch, even with all the beautiful landscapes around me, was the connections I made with other hikers. I actually traveled solo to Utah – so it was nice to meet and hangout with others on my hikes. After the sun went down and all the people started to disappear, it was blue hour and there was still a group of people there.
I went and sat with them, talked, laughed and had the best time. One guy even sat next to the arch and started singing and playing his guitar. It was a beautiful moment! Then when the night came around, we all hiked back to the parking lot together chatting away. At one point, we turned off our headlamps and looked up to stargaze at the incredible starry sky above us.
Being from the east coast with lots of light pollution, it was amazing to see how many stars you can see out there with no light pollution. The whole evening and the connections I made will be a memory and moment I will never forget. Even with all the spectacular landscapes around me, it was the people I met that turned this trip into an unforgettable experience.
Best Time to Photograph Delicate Arch
The best time to shoot Delicate Arch is sunset. The sun sets in a spot where the light illuminates the arch and as the sun gets lower it creates a triangle. If you shoot at sunrise, it won’t look as good because there would be no soft light. Also, if you plan on visiting Sand Dune Arch, the best time to go is at the end of sunrise or just after when the light is high enough to make the light bounce around inside without being too harsh.
Need to Know Before you Go
I recommend getting to Delicate Arch two or three hours before sunset. Do this if you are just going to this one arch. But if you plan on seeing more of Arches National Park, go even earlier because you will for sure want to stop at the many other great places on the way to the trailhead.
I arrived at around 2pm on the first day and left at around 10pm. Traffic didn’t seem bad. The next day I went between 8-9am and got in right away, but when I left at around 12pm after seeing Sand Dune Arch, the traffic seemed bad. The waiting line was super long. So I highly recommend getting there either before 9am or mid-afternoon to avoid the crowds.
There is usually a line of people waiting to get a picture of the famous Delicate Arch. It doesn’t take too long though and everyone is pretty cool about giving everyone enough time. You might have one of those “Instagram vs Reality” moments! The crowds are smaller at the other spots of Arches National Park such as Double Arch, Sand Dune Arch and the Windows Section. I highly recommend checking out these places too.
When it comes to accommodation, I actually stayed at a lovely airbnb that was pretty cheap and nice compared to the other options in the area. It was hosted by Moab Beds & Bagels Xpress. You can find them on Airbnb.com or book through their website: click here for more info. Thanks for reading everyone and enjoy your visit to the incredible Delicate Arch!