ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, Utah — There’s nothing like a grand reveal, and with this trip, it’s like a majestic curtain has been pulled back.
The final few steps after a mile-and-a-half hike and it’s time for your reward.
For people who make their first trip to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, it’s an awe-inspiring moment.
Hiking along a ledge, a rock wall hides that final reveal, then the giant arch appears and it is spectacular.
Delicate Arch is the feature attraction of this magnificent national park outside Moab.
You will find yourself gawking at the massive arch with the La Sal Mountains in the background.
It’s simply sensational.
Even for visitors who return, that first glimpse of Delicate Arch remains just as impressive as the first visit.
Everything about the trip to Delicate Arch is worth the time and effort.
There is so much to see in Arches that a full day, maybe a couple of days is required to take it all in. Attractions like Balanced Rock and others, and more than 2,000 sandstone arches.
The views are stupendous.
The landscape and colors of the desert, as well as the red-rock formations, make this such a breathtaking and unique area to visit. Coming from the mountains to the Utah desert offers such a stunning contrast of Mother Nature’s beauty.
But Delicate Arch remains the coveted destination for many visitors to Arches.
The hike itself is not difficult but it’s not necessarily easy for the novice hiker. There’s no hurry, so take your time, stop and rest and, most importantly, bring water — lots of water in the hot months.
The hike goes along an old road, then onto slick rock and sandy areas, so good footwear with capable tread is advisable.
Just to let you know, the Park Rangers rate the Delicate Arch hike as strenuous.
The thing to remind yourself when you visit Arches National Park — this is not a quaint, quiet park.
Its dazzling attractions and easy accessibility right off U.S. Highway 191 make it an immensely popular destination.
More than a million visitors flock to Arches annually to take in the stunning vistas.
From May through September 2016, Arches averaged more than 202,000 visitors a month.
During my most recent trip to Arches in March, there was a line of vehicles waiting to enter the park.
A few years ago, the parking area at the Delicate Arches trail head was expanded and paved but it is routinely packed, so alternative parking along the road is all that remains.
That means lots of hikers on the trail, and lots of people at Delicate Arch.
Be courteous and patient, and enjoy the journey and the destination
As visitors arrive at the wondrous destination, cameras of all kinds emerge to snap photos. A line will form near the arch for people to take turns standing under the massive arch for that memorable keepsake to be shared all over the world.
There’s something magnificent about seeing the astounding creations of nature.
Arches National Park also served as a reminder that these sights are to be cherished because they can also be taken away by the same forces that created them.
In 2008, an arch collapsed in Arches, and over in the country of Malta, a natural rock arch named the Azure Window, which was a backdrop for a number of movies and TV shows, collapsed into the sea after a wicked storm.
The dramatic and picturesque presentation of Delicate Arch, with its rugged contours and brilliant background of blue sky and mountains, is what stays with me. Standing alone on the edge of a drop, it looks like it was constructed to be a star attraction.
To see Delicate Arch is worth every step and every possible inconvenience.
There is nothing delicate about the sense of awe and appreciation you will take home after a visit to this marvelous natural attraction.
Delicate Arch is a grand sight to cherish.