Hike and Shoot Delicate Arch
Utah › Delicate Arch Trailhead
Added by Andy Best
Get amazing views and shots of one of Utah's most iconic arches. Stay once the sun goes down for great views of the night sky and the for the crowd to take off.
I headed out to the trailhead because I really wanted to shoot the super moon with the Delicate Arch. It was absolutely fantastic, especially during such a full moon. Everything was bathed in a soft glow, it was like I was on another planet actually. It was amazing to sit in silence and to try to comprehend the power it took to shape the beautiful landscape.
Something to consider...I didn't really need a headlamp, but due to the cliffs everywhere I'd suggest one. Be ready for some crowds, but if you want the place all to yourself stay past sunset and late into the night. Everyone leaves and it's absolutely wonderful!
After you're done, hit up Moab Brewery in town. Get the beer in the can, it's full strength. :)
- 2 headlamps (in case one fails you can get out safely)
- Lots of water
- Good hiking shoes
- A beer
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Go For Sunrise!
Just did this hike for sunrise and it was breathtaking! I've photographed Delicate Arch before, but sitting there for the sunrise was incredible. Plus it was just me and 10 other people making the area way less crowded than if you were to go during the day!
Crowded but great
Hiked Delicate Arch in midday and as everyone else has said, there was a crowd. Had to wait our turn to grab a photo, for example. Nevertheless, it's an amazing spot, nice mid-length hike and the arch is just massive. Way bigger than I expected. Great viewpoint above a bunch of sandstone valleys as well. Get out there!
Don't Miss It
Super busy place, but definitely still make sure you see it, despite all the company you'll have up there! Been there quite a few times, and the last time someone proposed under the arch with a huge crowd watching.. definitely brought a bunch of strangers together in one moment. The camping is great in Arches NP too.
Love This Arch
Decided to hike out to Delicate Arch in the early afternoon and man was there a lot of people. It is an incredible arch though. When you can get some photos without people standing under it, definitely take advantage. I sat there for about 2.5-3 hours and just waited for sunset. I had a similar experience the Grant (below) in that some photographers yelled over to a group who were just standing under the arch when the sun was in peak position. So, note to those who visit during sunset time, do not just hangout under the arch for a long time or you will have people yelling over at you to move.
Classic Arches Hike!
We hiked here for sunset and to photograph it for sunset. There were some tourists that kept standing under it to take selfies durning perfect light. It was funny to hear all the fellow photographers gripe and yell at the dang tourists to go away since they were ruining the shots. Only other photographers would understand, haha.
My only option was to hike this during the middle of the day in July, so it was HOT but I was determined to see the delicate arch! Once I got there, I was able to relax and just enjoy the views for quite a while as it cooled down. An amazing place.
Well worth it
One of my favorite locations in the park by far. We were able to avoid the majority of crowds by getting there at 5 a.m. on a Thursday. I would suggest doing it early, it was well worth it to have the freedom to move around and shoot without people in every shot. I can't speak for rush hour, but can see this destination getting crowded since we passed countless people hiking in while we were on our way out.
This end result of this hike is truly incredible. For me, Delicate Arch was even better than anticipated. One of those moments when you know you've reached something special. The fact that it's located on a ledge of what looks like a naturally carved stadium bowl makes it even cooler. If you don't make it up here for a sunset or during a storm you've wasted your time in Arches.
Incredible Sunset Photography, but Crowded
This is an incredibly beautiful hike so everyone is going to be along the trail with you. It is still completely worth it and it was my favorite spot in Arches. Delicate Arch is incredible and there are many options for sunset (and other) photography. The biggest bummer about this hike and photography is that there are so many people there and most of them want their photo in the arch. We stayed clear of that, but it was a bit hard to get great shots without people in the landscape. We still got some though and the hike is incredibly beautiful. We stayed until well after sunset and hiked back down with less people on the trail.
Stellar Night Hike
I went for the first time this past week. Hiked up before the sun set and got to the top just as it set. It was absolutely stunning. And yes, there can be heavy foot traffic. We stayed until about 2-3 AM and the crowds definitely cleared out by the time it got dark. The sky was super clear so we wanted to wait for the moon to set to take a Milky Way shot. About 10 other photographers were out there with us that night. It was pretty awesome sharing the experience with other photographers. And aside from photographing, just being up there and observing the starry sky and silhouettes of awesome landscapes was unreal. This hike is an absolute must, especially on a clear night. Warning: there are plenty of drop offs so make sure you have a headlamp and shoes with good traction. Also, careful with your gear. I accidentally dropped a lens hood into a dark abyss while I was up there that night. I can get a new one but littering is not my thing.
Consider Hiking it at Night
Delicate Arch is an iconic landmark and as such it is incredibly busy during the day. To beat the crowds I would recommend doing this as a night hike or a sunset hike and then staying past dark. There is something truly humbling about seeing Delicate Arch silhouetted in the night sky and having the scene all to yourself.
Worth the hike!
This was such an amazing experience! Yes, the arch gets crowded. If you go during the day, you'll be hard-pressed to get a picture without at least 10 other people in your shot, but that's no reason not to go. And the benefit of having all those people around is that you don't have to worry about losing the trail! This hike alone puts Arches near the top of my adventure list!
Rough Hike Up, But Worth It
I hiked this about two hours before sunset and watched the sunset from the Delicate Arch - stunning!! The hike was very interesting and really fun on the way back on the dark! Just beware, this trail has LOTS of drop offs and part of the trail is only marked with rock cairns. Just be aware of where you're walking and headed!
Hiked up to see Delicate Arch in winter and it was an amazing time. Winter provided far cooler conditions for hiking so no need to worry about heat. The arch was beautiful and a great sight. Only complaint is the trail is really poorly marked once you reach the large slick rock section.
More Adventures Nearby
Camping at Yant Flat
Utah / Yant Flat Parking
Though only a few miles from civilization as a bird flies, this trailhead is only accessible via a dirt road (that can be quite bumpy - high clearance vehicles recommended though I did it in a car).
Camp at Sand Flats Recreation Area in Moab
Utah / Sand Flats
The rock domes and slickrock around the campsites provide fun for young and old to scramble on, or simply enjoy the sunrise or sunset.