Discover Arches National Park Hikes: The Best Trail Guide

Visit Arches National Park

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished – Lao Tzu

You’ve probably heard the saying, “The Mountains aren’t going anywhere”, and largely that’s true. These impressive arches are a different story! These fragile rock formations are in a constant state of change and could change as we know and love them in an instant. In this post I’ll share 10 Arches National Park Hikes that will help you see this famous landscape.

Best Arches National Park Hikes

Double Arch

Double Arch Trail

DISTANCE: .5 Miles

ELEVATION GAIN: 95 feet

DIFFICULTY: Very Easy

DESCRIPTION: This .5 mile, heavily trafficked out and back is great for the whole family. This is an easy hike, realistically more like a short walk, to a huge payoff.

You can choose to stop at the base of the arch and gaze up in wonder or do some light rock scrambling and get right up under double arch’s two, huge, intertwined arches. It is an absolutely gorgeous and easily accessible hike!

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Balanced Rock

DISTANCE: .3 Miles

ELEVATION GAIN: 55 feet

DIFFICULTY: Very Easy

DESCRIPTION: You can’t miss this iconic land form from the road but if you want to get more up close and personal take the loop trail at the base of this fragile, picturesque rock formation. A majority of the loop is paved and therefore deemed accessible to wheelchair users.


(Disclaimer: this photo is from a picnic table down the road. Great spot for a picnic!)

Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch

DISTANCE: 1 Mile

ELEVATION GAIN: 196 feet

DIFFICULTY: Easy

DESCRIPTION: At the very end of the Arches scenic drive you’ll find the trailhead for Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. It shares a trail head with the much longer and more difficult Devils Garden Hike.

It’s a short, easy hike to two pretty arches with beautiful backdrops. Definitely a busy hike given its proximity to the parking lot.

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The Windows & Turret Arch 

DISTANCE: 1.2 Miles

ELEVATION GAIN: 154 feet

DIFFICULTY: Easy

DESCRIPTION: A short, gentle climb up a gravel trail leads to the massive North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch.

You can return to the parking lot via the same trail, or take the 1.2 miles primitive trail around the Windows by starting at South Window viewpoint. As a fairly easy trail, it is often a very busy viewpoint!

Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch, Tapestry Arch Loop

DISTANCE: 2.8 Miles

ELEVATION GAIN: 321 feet

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

DESCRIPTION: Start your hike at the trailhead for Sand Dune Arch. Sand Dune Arch is a secluded, shady arch nestled among sandstone fins just .3 miles into the trail.

Continue to broken arch and tapestry arch (pictured here) before turning toward Devil’s Garden Campground and completing the loop.

Delicate Arch Viewpoints

DISTANCE: .7 Miles

ELEVATION GAIN: 141 feet

DIFFICULTY: Easy-Moderate

DESCRIPTION: Personally, I would not recommend either viewing site. If this is your ONLY opportunity to view Delicate Arch then please don’t miss out.

Lower Delicate Arch viewpoint is wheelchair-accessible and provides a view of the arch at a distance.
Another mildly strenuous hiking trail climbs 0.5 mile (0.8 km) toward Delicate Arch, ending at a viewpoint separated from the arch by a steep canyon. You can’t reach Delicate Arch on this trail; to hike all the way to the arch, start from Wolfe Ranch.

Delicate Arch

DISTANCE: 3.2 Miles

ELEVATION GAIN: 629 feet

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

DESCRIPTION: This free-standing arch has become widely accepted as the symbol of Utah. It is, after all, on the Utah license plate.

The Delicate Arch trail begins at Wolfe Ranch which can be found off of the main park road on Wolfe Ranch Road. This is one of the park’s most popular hikes so be prepared to share the trail. Hiking at sunrise or sunset will provide more solitude; be sure to bring your headlamp.

It’s important to note that there is no shade along this trail. Please hike prepared with sun protection and water!

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Landscape Arch, Arches National Park 

Devil’s Garden (and Landscape Arch)

DISTANCE: 7.9 Miles

ELEVATION GAIN: 1,085 feet

DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult

DESCRIPTION: At the very end of Park Road, 18 miles from the visitors center, you will find the trailhead for Devil’s Garden.  This is easily one of the best Arches National Park hikes in the park.

You can hike this as an out and back to Double O Arch or complete the loop which includes a primitive trial. Regardless of which route you choose, this trail will take you past 6-7 arches that you can only see along the trail.

The first photo opportunity and very popular destination is Landscape Arch. The hike to Landscape Arch is fairly easy, however, the terrain becomes much more difficult beyond this point. Between Landscape and Double O Arch, you’ll encounter two spur trails that are worth your while.

The spur trail to Navajo Arch is an absolute must! It’s also a shady one; perfect for a hot Moab day. Just south of the Double O Arch there’s a primitive trail that brings you to dark angel. The Dark Angel is a 150-foot sandstone tower that, although unique, wouldn’t be first on my list to see.

You may also choose to do the loop and take the primitive trail. It’s important to note that you will be walking through soft sand, need basic trail navigation and will need to comfortable with basic rock scrambling skills. Additionally, there are quite a few steep inclines and narrow ledges along this route. Round-trip, including all spur trails, this route will run you 7.9 miles; I suggest an early start in the heat of summer!

Fiery Furnace

DIFFICULTY: Moderate-Difficult

DESCRIPTION: This is a guided tour that you should sign up for AS SOON AS you know you will be exploring Arches National Park. This natural labyrinth requires a Ranger Guided Tour or a permit from the visitor center. A permit for the Fiery Furnace is $6 per adult and you must watch an orientation video before exploring.

Garden of Eden Hike

DISTANCE: 1 Mile

ELEVATION GAIN: 100+ feet

DIFFICULTY: Easy

DESCRIPTION: The Garden of Eden area of Arches National Park has no designated trails. It’s a pretty neat place to simply explore and enjoy the interesting rock formations that Arches National Park hike shave to offer!

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Arches National Park FAQs

Where Should I Stay When Visiting Arches National Park?

There are many accommodation options available in Moab! what you choose will depend on your budget and what you’re looking to get out of your stay.

Camping near Arches National Park:

1. Devils Garden Campground

2. Up the Creek Campground

3. Slickrock Campground

4. Moab Valley RV Resort

5. Bureau of Land Management Land

Budget Accommodations in Moab:

Lazy Lizard Hostel.

This incredibly cost effective option provided us with the opportunity to utilize a kitchen (yay for cutting down food costs), laundry, showers, and air-conditioned sleeping arrangements. Since there were three of us we chose the private cabin option which can sleep 4-6 comfortably for an incredibly reasonable price ($46 a night); the cabins have an air conditioner, outlets, desk space and a personal parking space with a bench and picnic table. In that hot Moab heat, we were grateful for the opportunity to shower and sleep in a cool room each night.

MainStay Suites

A great place for families as most suites can sleep 6 and come equipped with a kitchenette for a very affordable price. This location features a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, shared lounge and free WiFi.

Boujee Accommodations in Moab:

Hoodoo Moab by Hilton.

The Hoodoo Curio Collection by Hilton is the newest, and nicest, hotel in Moab. With gorgeous views, an outdoor pool, full service spa, and decor that pays homage to the landscape, you can’t go wrong! Added bonus: this hotel is 10 minutes from Arches!

Hotels in Moab that Fall Somewhere In Between:

Best Western Plus Canyonlands.

The Best Western is a straightforward hotel that includes a hot breakfast, seasonal pool, and is 5 miles from Arches National Park.

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Double Arch, Arches National Park 

Should I Stop at The Arches Visitor Center?

Absolutely yes. I found the visitors center to be an exceptionally beautiful (and busy) one.  You can fill up your water bottles at both the Visitor’s Center and Devil’s Garden as well. Take a look at the exhibits to learn more about the park’s history, geology, plants, and animals. You may also watch a park film that plays every 30 minutes in the visitor center.

What is the Best Time of Day to Visit Arches National Park?

The best time to visit Arches National Park includes arriving to the park prior to 9 AM or after 2 PM. The busiest, and the hottest, time of day during the popular season (summer) is between those hours. Arriving outside of that time frame will help

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Partition Arch, Arches National Park

What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Arches National Park?

Realistically, when are you available to visit Arches? Because that will always be the best time of year. If you’re looking to avoid crowds and blazing temperatures, the winter months might be best for your trip. It’s important to note that the park can be icy and/or even a little snowy during these times! Packing traction devices should allow you to experience all of your favorite trails.

How Can I Visit Utah’s National Parks?

Arches National Park is just one of Utah’s 5 National Parks. They can be visited individually, however, a road trip to see all five at once can make for one amazing trip. Plan your Utah road trip with a little help. Start by asking yourself what you want to see and when you plan on going; use this guide to complete the beginning stages of your planning! It’s important to have a good idea of when you’ll want to visit and what you’re looking to get out of the trip.

 

Published by Kaitlyn Fortier

Hello everybody! My name is Kaitlyn Fortier. I'm a Middle School Teacher and 3-season Athletics coach in Central New York. I utilize this platform to share actionable tips, 'best-of' lists, and budget-friendly travel guides for explorers of all travel interests.

24 thoughts on “Discover Arches National Park Hikes: The Best Trail Guide

  1. Just watched an episode of Motion on the Arches. Your blog captured much of what they filmed. Looks like an amazing place!

  2. Places where I love to lose myself. Finding a contact with nature in such a direct way through the natural history of the place … I hope one day to visit this place too because I have dreamed it for some time!

  3. What a beautiful park. I need to get here one day. I just love your photos. This would be such a neat area to explore.

  4. Arches National Park was so much more beautiful and amazing than I had imagined. We arrived rather late in the day, and only had 3-4 hours to spend here. There was no line to wait in when we arrived; we went straight through. We had to rush around between the different stops, and although we got to see much of it, you could really spend a lot more time here rather than just a few hours.
    The Visitor Center was very nice with great information about how the arches formed. Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we rushed through it, but you could easily spend an hour inside.
    The arches were interesting, but I was in awe of the area they call “Park Avenue.” I felt like I was standing among ancient ruins in Egypt. Another area I recommend visiting is Sand Dune Arch. You walk a little bit through a lot of sand (like a beach, and you will get sand in your shoes) and you arrive in this little-secluded hidey hole area with the arch. You have to experience it to understand how cool it is.

  5. Arches national park is really beautiful, when I stayed in Utah I got chance to visit there. Your pictures are really beautiful.

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