Arches National Park

girls with braids and a bucket hat looking towards double arch

Arches National Park Travel Guide

I’ve always seen the beautiful red rock formations of Arches National Park on social media and thought to myself, how am I going to see those? Well, I planned a 10-day Utah Roadtrip and made it happen. If you plan on visiting Arches, use this post as your guide. At the end of this post, I’ll share some tips for planning your Utah visit.

Double Arch, Arches National Park 

This iconic park showcases the pure power of mother nature. Due to the nature of these landmarks, I would rush out to Arches National Park before the landscape changes for good. The fragile rock formations that make this park so special are truly a sight to see.  

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. Devil’s 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.

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.

Partition Arch, Arches National Park

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

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.

What is the Best Hike in Arches National Park?

This truly depends on your ability level, preparedness, and what you’re looking for. There are a number of hikes here that range from .5 miles to 10+; in a full day at the park you are more than capable of linking a few of these great adventures together.

Double Arch, Arches National Park

TRAIL: Double Arch

DIFFICULTY: Easy

DESCRIPTION: This .5 mile, heavily trafficked out and back is great for the whole family. You may 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.

Arches National Park

TRAIL: The Windows (North and South Window) & Turret Arch 

DIFFICULTY: Easy

DESCRIPTION: A 1-mile round trip 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 slightly longer primitive trail around the Windows by starting at South Window viewpoint. As a fairly easy trail, it is often a very busy viewpoint!

Balanced Rock, Arched National Park

TRAIL: Balanced Rock

DIFFICULTY: Very Easy

DESCRIPTION: You can’t miss this iconic landform 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. Part of the trail is paved and accessible to wheelchairs!
(Disclaimer: this photo is from a picnic table down the road)

TRAIL: Delicate Arch viewpoints

DIFFICULTY: Easy-Moderate

DESCRIPTION: Although I would not recommend either, if this is your ONLY opportunity to view Delicate Arch then please don’t miss out. There is one very easy viewpoint with a wheelchair-accessible 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.

TRAIL: Delicate Arch

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

DESCRIPTION: This free-standing arch has become widely accepted as the symbol of Utah. Begin this Hike at Wolfe Ranch which can be found off of the main park road on Wolfe Ranch Road.

TRAIL: Devil’s Garden (and Landscape Arch)

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.  You can hike this as an out and back or with a bit of a primitive loop thrown in there; either way, this trail will take you past 6-7 arches that you can only see along the trail.

The hike to Landscape Arch is fairly easy, however, the terrain becomes much more difficult beyond this point. If you choose the direct path from the parking lot out to Double O arch, you will come across two small spur trails that I highly suggest. If you choose to take the primitive trail you will still come across these spur trails, but know that you will be walking through soft sand, need basic trail navigation and rock scrambling skills with steep inclines and drop-offs. Round-trip, including all spur trails, this route will run you 7.2 miles; I suggest an early start in the heat of summer!

Landscape Arch, Arches National Park 

TRAIL: 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.

If you begin your day early enough, you can fit in pretty much all of the above-mentioned sights in one day; this would mean starting your day at sunrise and ending it close to or after sunset (don’t forget your headlamp!). Hiking Devil’s garden in the cool of the early morning hours is definitely a good plan; I’ve also heard that Delicate Arch at sunset is the real deal. Show up prepared and you should have a great day!  


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 expeditioneducation

Hi there, I'm Kati! I'm an outdoor recreation loving public school teacher who plans epic adventures on her school breaks. If you like to explore and experience beautiful new places on a budget, then let me help you plan your next trip!

23 thoughts on “Arches National Park

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Now this looks like such an incredible national park to visit those areas are absolutely stunning and the rock formations wow.

  4. Jasmine Wyrick – San Jose, CA – Jasmine is the founder and author of The Post-It Note, a blog that promotes self-love to reduce the impacts of depression, anxiety, and trauma while building confidence for women. She is a lover of all things fashion, food, and makeup. She is also extremely passionate about helping people and believes that you can improve the lives of others through daily small acts of kindness. When she is not writing, she is playing with her fur babies Rose and Harvey or cooking something bomb in the kitchen.
    Jasmine Wyrick says:

    My boyfriend and I want to go to Utah, I’m happy that I can suggest a good place to hike!

  5. TheSuperMomLife – Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and going on new adventures and making new memories with her family.
    TheSuperMomLife says:

    What a gorgeous park! I would love to go there one day just to take pictures.

  6. I would love to visit this place, looks so beautiful. And you took gorgeous pictures as well.

  7. 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.

  8. Nandyz Soulshine – I help people looking for a more fulfilling life uncover untapped inner strength and reconnect with their true self. Life satisfaction comes from doing things that speak to your heart. So I am passionate about inspiring people to lead a no-regrets life challenging the beliefs that hold us back from reaching for what truly ignites us.
    Nandita says:

    Partition and Landscape arches look simply wonderful. I love hiking and this surely is going to my bucket list.
    – Nandita

  9. Mr. Straight and Narrow – If anyone was to tell me what my life would look like at this age, I would have run away screaming. Well maybe laughing. OK, possibly in stunned silence. Has anyone run away in stunned silence before? I wonder what that would look like. But I digress. So who am I? I am a middle aged white guy who isn't balding. Wait . . . that describes half the white guy population? Hmmm. . . . In truth I am just a guy trying to make his way on the planet just like everyone else. And ultimately share some of life’s adventures with people. Because somehow an adventure doesn’t feel like it happened unless someone else knows. Be honest, we’ve all asked the question if a tree falls in the forest and doesn’t make a sound, does it really fall. Because it’s at that moment of impact that the tree falling has meaning. And so does life. As we impact those around use is when our life takes shape. I won’t always do it perfectly. But to be perfectly imperfect and be vulnerable is the key. And so here I am, sharing life’s adventures and those rules along with you. There is a path out there for all of us. We just have to find out. And hopefully my sharing my path helps you with yours.
    toastycritic says:

    That looks so very amazing. I am always amazed by the places with arches like that. It’s so incredible. I’ll have to plan a trip there.

    1. expeditioneducation – Hello! My name is Kati. I am currently a Middle School Teacher and three season sports coach in upstate New York. If you take a look at my blog you will learn that I love being outside, exploring places near and far, and aspire to create this website into something that inspires others to connect with what's around them. My hope is that you read something here that inspires you to learn more and challenge yourself every day. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone for that is where true growth​ begins! Thank you so much for reading!
      expeditioneducation says:

      well I suggest a field trip then! hahah it’s amazing

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