Since I was in the neighborhood of Arches and Canyonlands National Park I decided to take a break from capturing Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep and do some landscapes. I drove down to Arches late one afternoon in order to capture Delicate Arch at Sunset, well actually just after sunset. Sunset was around 4:45pm and I arrived at around 4:15pm to the Wolfe Ranch trailhead. It’s about a 1.5 mile hike out to Delicate Arch with about 480 ft. of elevation gain. The first part of the hike is fairly flat and it’s not until you get to the slick rock part of the trail it’s gets fairly strenuous with a steep up hill incline to the arch. Let’s just say this old man was huffing and puffing by the time I made it to the arch and the sun was just setting as I was able to find a spot to set up.
When the sun sets at Delicate Arch the crowds of people leave in order to take the hike back to the parking lot while there is still light in the sky. The best light, however is after the sun sets in the sky and goes below the horizon that the color of Delicate Arch begins to glow. In the winter months the angle of the sun set as it goes below the horizon make for magical light against Delicate Arch and the arch turns a glowing orange hue. It is absolutely breath-taking! Stay the extra 30-60 minutes and captures some long exposures of the arch and you will be amazed at the beautiful color of Delicate Arch. I just happened to catch the Delicate arch on a clear evening so I was able to capture the snow-capped La Sal Mountains in the background.
Tips for hiking to Delicate Arch for sunset shoot:
- Bring Water – There is no shade and can be a strenuous hike (3 miles round trip)
- Bring a bright flashlight or head lamp – You will need it to hike back to the Wolfe Ranch Trailhead in the dark
- Dress in layers – It was warm hiking out, but when the sun goes down in this open desert, it can get quite cold and drop 20-30 degrees after dark
- Bring a tripod – you will need it for long exposures