Is Delicate Arch wheelchair accessible? Yes, with the right wheelchair, and group of friends you can visit one of Utah’s most iconic destinations in a wheelchair. You will also need some planning and some muscle.
Delicate Arch is one of the most iconic hikes in Utah. It quickly became the first destination I wanted to visit with Sam in the Emma X3. When I heard that Sam had been to the trail-head of Delicate Arch before and sat with his mother in the van while the other half of his family went on the hike it seemed like a perfect opportunity for an adventure.
Sam has Cerebral Palsy and has used a wheelchair his entire life. He’s also an instant friend to everyone he meets. His infectious laugh, and unbridled enthusiasm for life make him one of the most fun people you will ever spend time with.
Sam Durst ready to roll.
Don’t Chicken Out
The evening before the hike we sat in our room at the Expedition Lodge in Moab, UT. Sam’s parents had heard from friends that the trail to Delicate Arch was too steep for a wheelchair and they thought it might be a good idea to pick something easier.
I suggested we start the hike and see how far we could get. Sam’s cousin Grace was appointed “Safety Police” for the hike. If Grace felt the trail was too dangerous we would turn around no questions asked.
Sam’s family being nervous is completely understandable. This special off-road wheelchair had just opened doors to many places on our planet that were previously off limits to them.
The trail to Delicate Arch is steep and because the Emma X3 is a manual wheelchair we tied 2 ropes to the front of the chair so that more people could help pull in difficult sections.
Taking a break on the trail.
Be Open to Help
During our trek a couple of hikers noticed us bracing ourselves for the upcoming steep section of the hike. They walked passed us, turned around and asked, “Do y’all need some help?” We quickly accepted and the strangers began to push Sam up the trail.
There are a few technical sections of the trail where the chair will need to be lifted over some large uneven rocks. If you don’t have enough muscle in your group don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some people might want to jump in but feel awkward offering.
We became friends along the way and later that evening we all went for pizza together. Similar to our Dirty Dash experience this hike was suddenly more memorable for the young couple because they could provide service on the trail.
As we pushed the wheelchair along the trail we always had at least 3 people with hands on the chair. In the steep sections there would be 4 people. Two pushing and 2 pulling. We didn’t want anything to happen to Sam, and we didn’t want the Safety Police turning us all around.
Enjoy Your Moment
I love the trail to Delicate Arch because you can’t see the arch in the distance. You don’t realize you are there until you round the last corner and boom. You are greeted with the reward for all your efforts. As we rounded the last corner and saw the Delicate Arch the crowd of people hanging out there began clapping and cheering our efforts.
When Sam’s mom began to cry while explaining how they had never been able to do anything like that as a family. We all cried. Even the strangers we had met on the trail were crying. It was such a special moment for everyone.
So is Delicate Arch Wheelchair accessible? You bet it is. You’ll need a crew of helpers and a special off-road wheelchair.