Arches National Park

Here are six fun facts about Utah’s famed Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Delicate Arch is located in Arches National Park, five miles north of Moab, Utah.

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Delicate Arch may not be the largest stone span at Arches National Park in Utah, but its sassy stance has made it the most famous. The 46-foot-high formation has become a state symbol, appearing on the Utah license plate and a U.S. postage stamp. Even so, only about a quarter of the park's 800,000 annual visitors make the three-mile trek to the arch itself. Most savor the sight from Delicate Arch Viewpoint, a half mile away.

NAME GAME
The sandstone arch's nicknames include Cowboy Chaps, Old Maid's Bloomers, and License Plate Arch.

LATE TO THE PARTY
Delicate Arch became part of Arches National Monument in 1938, when President Franklin Roosevelt expanded the 9-year-old park's territory. (The area became a national park in 1971.)

WINGED PICNICKERS
White-throated swifts sometimes alight on the face of the arch during summer to eat flies and beetles.

DEFERRED MAINTENANCE
In the 1950s, park officials considered reinforcing the arch's smaller strut with silicone epoxy but then decided not to.

TORCH TAKEOFF
In 2002, the Winter Olympics torch relay began its final leg to Salt Lake City at Delicate Arch.

ARCH ENEMY?
Fans of the arch, concerned about possible damage to their beloved icon, cried foul last year after rock climber Dean Potter scrambled to the top.

Photography by George Ward

This article was first published in September 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

If You're Going: 

Delicate Arch is located in Arches National Park, five miles north of Moab, Utah. (435) 719-2299, www.nps.gov/arch.

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