Here are six fun facts about Utah’s famed Delicate Arch.
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.
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.)
White-throated swifts sometimes alight on the face of the arch during summer to eat flies and beetles.
In the 1950s, park officials considered reinforcing the arch's smaller strut with silicone epoxy but then decided not to.
In 2002, the Winter Olympics torch relay began its final leg to Salt Lake City at Delicate Arch.
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.