A Morning in Moab and Hiking Delicate Arch

Day 3 and we fancied a lazy morning and a look around the little town of Moab (raved about by my brother and sister-in-law). Dad insisted we start at the Visitor Center, which had some interesting facts and panels. We chatted with the guy (Park Ranger?) on duty about our plans for hiking Delicate Arch later that day and he confirmed our timings.
We had a wander up and down the main drag of Moab and visited a few tourist shops. They were filled with the usual t-shirts, mugs and magnets. Some south-westerny items like place mats, leather hats and turquoise jewelry. Our favorite was Hogan Trading Co; if I had $2.5k to drop on some wall art, that would be the place to do it. Seriously beautiful and unusual items.

fall colors in Moab
Fall colors in downtown Moab
photo: @john_biggs

To be honest, we didn’t even explore the whole high street so there may be more, cuter stores that we didn’t get to. Fatigue from our lazy morning had set in so John started a quick Yelp search for a lunch spot. Despite mediocre reviews (3.5* on Yelp) we settled on The Spoke on Center, due in part to it’s gorgeous outside terrace seating. We were very happily surprised to thoroughly enjoy all our lunches; corn and crab chowder, shrimp ceviche, pastas and burgers. Really delicious and fresh. Highly recommended!

After a quick nap (seriously, what is this fatigue from doing nothing?!), we set off to Arches National Park. We arrived at the Delicate Arch trailhead at 4:45pm, wanting to be set up at the arch by about 5:30pm, ready for a 6:30pm sunset. These timings worked out great.

The hike is only 3 miles round trip and 480 ft in elevation. Meaning I was puffing a bit on those steep uphill climbs but nothing too crazy. Quite a lot of the climb is on slip rock but with good hiking or gym shoes it felt fine. The path with a drop off pictured above looks worse than it is. The drop off wasn’t too far (‘far enough to break a leg but not die’ is how I’d class it) and the path is wide enough.
And then you round the corner …..

Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch in all her glory 🧡

John and my little cousin Anne were already on the other side, away from the 30 or so people set up to capture the view. This was the scariest bit of all this week’s hikes for me. There’s a huge, deep basin between where you arrive and other viewing points, that I found steep and scary. Of course, you don’t have to venture on this at all, the best view is probably right where you arrive. But off I went to join my gang (and also get a cheeky shot under the arch itself!).

Delicate Arch basin
Scary basin walk
Delicate Arch
Me posing under the arch
photo: @john_biggs

Yes, that’s me under the arch. Strain your eyes to see. Glad I defied death-by-basin drop-off for this.

It was fairly easy to get a shot under the arch, people were taking it in turns to have their photos taken. Obviously, I was very British about it all and was waiting my turn, only to have one lady march past me and one family take waaaay longer than their turn. Which I quietly seethed about, off course.

The next hour was spent watching the changing colors on the arch. I had massively overestimated how cold it would be and had made Anne bring blankets and hoodies. In the end I put on all my layers but quickly stripped them off again as soon as we began hiking down.

sunset at Delicate Arch
Ignoring that basin
Depths of basin hell
photo: @john_biggs
Delicate Arch at sunset
Delicate Arch at sunset
photo: @john_biggs

We left shortly after sunset (that gorgeous red glow completely disappears as soon as the sun dips below the horizon) and had enough light to make the steepest descents, leaving just the gravel path at the end of the trail to decipher in the dark.

Find out about our first day of exploring the arches and Devil’s Garden in Arches National Park, a day exploring Canyonlands National Park, and an overview of Moab – how to get there, accommodation, costs etc!

Published by daniditcoucou

Traveling Teacher

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