Grand County, Utah

Sunset Hike to Delicate Arch

Originally added by Whitney James

Distance: 3 miles roundtripElevation gain: 500 ftQuick and steep hike with great views of Arches National ParkExcellent place to take very young hikers who will be challenged but have funPhenomenal views of La Sal Mountains

If there is one time not go to Delicate Arch, it's during sunset. Every man and his poodle is perched on the ledge of the amphitheater overlooking the view, plus you're accidentally photo-bombing group selfies from every angle, and there's fresh gum smeared where you were just about to sit down. But sometimes gems aren't hidden, and if you get in the right mood, the crowds can make celebrating the outdoors even more fun (minus the gum).

Plus, it's no wonder we all tromp up the path to claim our photo under the famous arch, which rides around on the license plate of every Utah car–it's gorgeous! The sun hits the La Sal Mountains and lower cliffs of the park just after it passes over Delicate Arch, making for perfect framing with a long range lens. Wait a bit longer and the crowds do thin, but plenty of star-shot hungry photographers are still ambling up the steep, slick, rock trail when things fade to black. Search around to find your own spot to soak it all in, but realize that our national parks are busy areas, and the view is just as incredible even if shared.

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I've hiked this many times and will continue to do so, it's an icon for a reason. Winter is the best time to avoid crowds, but you'll want traction devices if it's icy. Don't plan on getting a people-free sunset pic here during peak tourist season.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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