Looking for the best hikes in Arches National Park? This ultimate guide gives you details on ALL the hikes in Arches!
Arches National Park has some of the most otherworldly landscapes of any park in the US National Park System. The park is home to a whole host of interesting geological formations, including over 2000 arches, plus pinnacles, fins, balanced rocks, intriguing formations, and more. The rocks are all a stunning red-orange color, which only adds to the gorgeous landscapes.
While there are a lot of landscapes and rock features you can admire from viewpoints or even from the road, the best way to really enjoy Arches National Park is to explore some of the many best trails through her gorgeous landscapes.
This guide gives a detailed look at all the best hikes in Arches National Park, breaking it down into 3 categories: the best easy, medium, and difficult hikes.
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Best Easy Hikes in Arches National Park
All of the trails in Arches in this section are 0.5 miles round trip or less. Most of them are also very flat, and some of them are even paved. Despite being classified as “easy” and short, these are still some of the best hikes in Arches National Park, so if you’re a serious hiker, don’t write them off!
1. Balanced Rock
- Distance: 0.25 mile loop
- Elevation gain: Negligable. Part of the path is paved
This is one of the many, really cool features you can see in the national park that is not an arch, and is actually one of the most well-known features in Arches (after Delicate Arch, of course).
You can see this rock as you are driving along the main road, but it’s definitely worth stopping by and walking around it. The path is very smooth and flat and does a loop around the rock, although as you approach the base there are some steps and rocks to walk on to get even closer.
We really enjoyed this walk around Balanced Rock – the apparent shape of the rock changes depending on the angle you are looking at it from, and it was really interesting to see it morph so much as we walked around. Plus, there’s a great photo-op from the rocks at the base (although you’re not supposed to climb higher up the base or onto Balanced Rock).
2. Lower Delicate Viewpoint
While hiking to Delicate Arch is undoubtedly one of the best hikes in Arches National Park, if for whatever reason you’re unable to do the hike, or just want to see the arch from a completely different vantage point, the Lower Delicate Viewpoint is a great option.
The trailhead for the upper and lower viewpoints is just past the parking lot trailhead to Delicate Arch. The lower viewpoint is flat, completely paved, and an extremely short walk where you can see Delicate Arch from “behind.” (i.e. the other side of the arch from where hikers are looking at it)
You get a clear, albeit very small, view of the arch. The size of the arch in the photo above is accurate to the size it was at the viewing platform.
From here, you can also do the hike to the Upper Viewpoint (this hike is in the “moderate hikes” section, which is next).
3. Double Arch
- Distance: 0.5 miles round trip on a graded trail
- Elevation Change: Negligible on trail, maybe 75 feet if you scramble to the top.
- Note: You can access this arch from the same parking lot as the Windows and Turret Arches.
Despite this being one of the shorter and easier hikes in Arches National Park, I really, really loved this arch!
This is the tallest arch, with the 3rd largest opening, in Arches National Park. And it feels BIG! We were really impressed with how much the arch just towers over you. Additionally, I really loved the formations that made the double arch.
This is a really good arch to visit during the middle of the day, if you’re traveling during the hot summer, because it’s a short, flat walk and basically the entire arch is shaded. Once you get to the base of the arch, you can climb and scramble on the big rocks to get higher up and have a different vantage point, which was really fun for our family.
This is definitely a must-see arch for any visitor to Arches National Park – it really was one of my favorites.
4. Sand Dune Arch
- Distance: 0.4 miles round trip
- Elevation Change: Negligable
This sandy trail starts on an open prairie before cutting into a little canyon between two large rock fins.
There are some good scrambling rocks along the way, with some ridges you can climb up if you want to play a bit.
The Arch is set in a wall leading to small cove, and while smaller, is an enjoyable and pretty one. You can also continue exploring beyond the arch, as you can continue walking between the rock walls.
5. Skyline Arch
Skyline arch offers a intriguing profile, with a dramatic slant and stark views of the blue sky through the arch. There are two ways to experience this fun arch, and both offer that nice, framed-in-sky view.
The way that 90% of people do it is by taking a short, 1/3 mile hike from the main road as it heads toward Devil’s Garden. (So this is an arch that is further back in the park.) This quick trail leads up the base, but you’ll also get decent views just from the road.
The lesser known way to visit it is to go into the Devil’s Garden Campground and park by the ampitheater. From the ampitheater you get a great view the arch (pictured above), and if you want to get closer, it is a short walk and scramble up. You likely won’t even have to share the arch from this direction.
Best Medium Hikes in Arches National Park
All of the hikes in this section are medium in difficulty and distance. All of these hikes are between 0.5 and 1.5 miles round trip.
6. Park Avenue
- Distance: Depends on how you choose to do it. 1 mile if you turn around halfway OR go from point to point. Otherwise, if you do the complete out and back trail, its 2 miles.
- Elevation gain: 200 feet
This is one of the first hikes you’ll come to when you enter the park. There are actually no arches on this hike, but I think it’s still a really great and easy walk through a beautiful section of red stone. Starting from the south end, there is a viewpoint right away, and you can just stop there if you want, but I recommend walking down a set of steps to start the walk/hike through the canyon. As you descend you, the fins rise around you with varied and interesting formations on either side. It kinda feels like you are walking between two rows of stone buildings – hence the name Park Avenue.
The trail starts at the Park Avenue viewpoint and ends at the Courthouse viewpoint. If you have more than one vehicle in your group and someone can pick you up, you can just walk the one-mile canyon from start to finish. If you do that, I would recommend going from Park Avenue to Courthouse. While the canyon is fairly flat, there is a gentle slope and going from Courthouse to Park Avenue is the uphill direction.
With one vehicle, I would park at the Park Avenue viewpoint. The most scenic areas are in the half of the canyon by that end and you may just want to do that first 0.5 mile and turn around.
7. Broken Arch
- Distance: 1.2 miles round trip
- Elevation change: Minimal
The trail to Broken Arch can be done as an out and back to the arch from the parking lot by Sand Dune Arch, a point to point trail, where you start at Sand Dune Arch and end at the Devil’s Garden campground, or as an out and back from the Devil’s Garden Campground.
We did this hike in the middle of the day in the summer, and our little kids were tuckered out, so my oldest daughter and I started from Sand Dune Arch and hiked to Devil’s Garden Campground, where Matthew met me in the car with the rest of the kids.
Now, Broken Arch isn’t actually broken, but the top ridge of the arch has a divet in it, resembling brokenesss. Honestly, I think “Heart Arch” is actually a better name for this one!
From the parking lot by Sand Dune Arch, you’ll hike 0.6 miles through this sandy trail in the middle of a “prairie.” The field is an interesting contrast to the mainly stark, red rocks in Arches National Park. You can actually see Broken Arch in the rock wall up ahead – it’s on the right side, almost at the end of the line of rocks.
This arch is really fun because the trail actually continues underneath and through the arch. On the far side of Broken Arch, and continuing on to the campground, you’ll see dramatically different scenery, with tall red rock walls and scrubby brush.
As you near the end of the trail, there is a little offshoot trail to go see Tapestry Arch.
The combination of Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch is one of the best hikes in Arches National Park for getting off the beaten path and avoiding crowds – we saw only one other person while we were hiking here!
8. Tapestry Arch
- Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
- Elevation Change: 40 feet
You can do the hike to Tapestry Arch in Arches National Park as part of your hike to Broken Arch if you start at Devil’s Garden Campground, or if you do the point to point from Sand Dune Arch to Devil’s Garden Campground. The distance noted above is only if you go from Devil’s Garden Campground to Tapestry Arch, and then back.
If you are continuing to Broken Arch, Tapestry Arch is a short spur trail off the main trail.
Tapestry Arch was really cool! There were three large openings in the rock wall next to each other, and I can certainly see how it reminds you of tapestries hanging on the wall of an old medieval castle. There’s a flat sheet of rock that makes for a great viewing spot (where the above picture was taken), but you can also continue on and go right up underneath the arches.
9. The Windows + Turret Arch
- Distance: 0.7 miles (or 1 mile, if you take the longer, primitive loop back)
This trail gives you the opportunity to see 3 arches: North Window Arch, South Window Arch, and Turret Arch. North and South Windows are formed from the same slab (as seen in the photo above – North is on the left), while Turret is in its own formation to the east of them. A short, 0.7 mile, paved loop will take you in a tight circle in front of all 3 of these arches. You can also go up farther up and onto the base of each arch as well.
The longer loop is the primitive trail and will take you to the backside of the Windows arches. Here the trail is packed dirt and rocks.
The back loop does take longer, but there are fewer people on this trail and it gives a unique perspective to the arches, even bringing you to a sort of cove.
You can walk right up to the North Window arch and climb around on the base of the arch, even passing through it. It also offers this great view of Turret Arch through it! This view is best at sunrise. I loved the way the arches were framed in each other – it was such a cool view and shot.
Best Difficult Hikes in Arches National Park
The hikes in this section are the most difficult hikes in Arches National Park. If you’re a very serious hiker, you’ll notice that none of these hikes really are that long. Most of them are between 2-4 miles, with a notable exception for Devil’s Garden.
However, some of them have some steep climbs, require scrambling on rocks, or are otherwise difficult, and they are the longest hikes that Arches National Park has to offer. Add in summer heat and little to no shade and even a few miles can become strenuous.
Don’t let that dissuade you, though. You’ll experience some of the most stunning landscapes in Arches National Park on these hikes!
10. Delicate Arch
- Distance: 3.2 miles round trip
- Elevation Gain: About 600 feet
- Time to hike: Plan for 1.5 to 2 hours for hiking, plus more time at the top
- Difficulty: Moderate
As the most famous arch in the entire world, you absolutely must visit Delicate Arch. Yes, there are a lot of people on the trail and a ton of people at the top, but don’t let that deter you! It is an absolute stunner and is one of the absolute best hikes in Arches National Park.
Here’s a full breakdown of what you need to know about hiking to Delicate Arch.
There are vault toilets at the parking lot. The parking lot is very big – we were there at a peak time (right before sunset) and it was still only about ¾ full. Note: This trailhead is separate from the trailhead to the upper and lower viewpoints for Delicate Arch.
The trail starts off on a dirt/gravel path. You will very quickly walk past Wolfe Ranch, a little old homestead that belonged to some early settlers in the Moab region.
The path then ascends a solid rock section. The rock is grippy so its easy to walk on, and we found this section to be a very manageable steepness. While many trails in Arches are just marked by cairns, this one does have some trail post signs.
At the top of the solid rock section, the trail does level off quite a bit, and you’ll mostly be on flat rock from here until the summit.
The very last part of the trail is along a relatively narrow ledge, with one side being up against the mountain wall, and the other edge having a steep dropoff down below. It’s wide enough that you aren’t in danger of just falling off, but certainly watch small children in this section.
Pro Tip: As you start the narrow ledge section, look up – there’s a hidden arch that gives you a great view of Delicate Arch. This arch, Twisted Donut Arch, is almost like a little peephole in the rock with a clear sideview of Delicate Arch. It’s generally not very crowded up here, so keep your eyes up as you approach the final ledge section up to the main viewpoint!
When Is the Best Time to Visit Delicate Arch?
Sunset is the best time to view Delciate Arch, as the sun lights up the rocks and makes them glow. However, sunset also tends to be pretty crowded. Early morning is much less busy, but the arch is backlit, making the lighting less nice and photos harder.
Middle of the day is an okay time to visit, but during the hot summer months it can be a very difficult hike up with no protection from the sun. I would advise against hiking mid-day during the summer, but if you do, make sure you bring plenty of water.
How to Get Good Pictures of Delicate Arch Without Tons of People
We visited the arch right at sunset, and sure enough, there were a lot of people up there. Thankfully, Delicate Arch sits at the end of a curved, bowl-like rock structure, and there is a lot of room along the ridge to spread out. Most people hang out right at the where the trail ends, but If you continue along the ridge, there are more places to have your own spot.
For pictures, you can stand in line at the base of the arch to get a photo op inside the arch, and then you’ll be the only ones in the picture!
Or, you can angle the camera and use the body of the persons in the picture to frame out other people around the arch. There’s usually a few seconds when the arch is completely empty, as the people underneath getting a picture leave and a new person is coming in. If you wait for that moment, you can grab a few pictures without anyone else in your shot.
Coming Down at Sunset
Since we went up at sunset, we ended up staying until it was getting dusky, and it was for sure dark by the time we made it down the 1.6 mile trail.
The moonlight actually illuminated the trail pretty well for most of the way, but if you are going to stay past sunset, consider bringing a headlamp (or know that you may need to use your phone flashlight for at least part of the trail).
11. Fiery Furnace
Fiery Furnace is a very “exclusive” hike open everyday to only a small number of people (about 70) that get a self-guided hiking permit, or for two groups of people that are on ranger-guided tours.
We got lucky and nabbed spots for the self-guided tour, and y’all. Y’AALLLL.
THIS IS THE BEST HIKE IN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK.
We absolutely adored this hike. First off, because permits are so limited, you hardly see anyone else when you’re hiking.
Second, there’s not really a set trail, so you explore and make your way through the tall fins and rocky areas, feeling like you’re the first people to explore the area. (There are regularly little arrows set against the stone to show you the “official” pathway through, but they are fairly unobtrusive and you are encouraged to get off the beaten path).
Finally, the landscape is just insane.
Fiery Furnace is made up of tightly packed, long rows of alternating fins and canyons. This creates a maze-like area, with narrow passageways, sheer walls, interesting rock formations, a few arches, and a ton of opportunities to scramble over the rocks.
The rangers recommend you “get lost” in the canyon, meaning to just explore it a lot and not worry too much about always just staying right on the trail. We did find it helpful to have the Alltrails map downloaded to help us navigate when necessary, but we also just went and explored all the nooks and crannies around us. The map also helped us locate where some of the arches were.
If you go straight through the trail, you’ll go about 2 miles. We ended up doing about 4 miles, which took us a solid 4 hours, since there were some spots that were a little more technical, a lot of spots for scrambling, plus we took a lot of picture breaks and snack breaks.
This was one of the best hikes we have ever done, bar none. Everyone had so much fun exploring and climbing on and admiring all the interesting rocks. Our little kids (5, 7, 9, 11) all did great on this hike (they love climbing on rocks, if you have littles who don’t like to scramble, this might not be a good option).
We have a lot to say about this hike, including the whole process of getting making a reservation, picking up your permit, when to hike, what it’s like, how long it really takes, and more! Read the full post on how to do Fiery Furnace here!
12. Garden of Eden – an alternate to Fiery Furnace
Since Garden of Eden is marked on the map as a viewpoint, very few people know this, but you can actually hike in the Garden of Eden!
We actually talked with a couple of rangers to confirm this, and they said that people are encouraged to walk around the area and go through the “garden” complex.
As you explore the Garden of Eden area, you will walk through dramatic rock rifts you can scramble on, pillars to go between, a dramatic window to get close to, and outcroppings to climb. There’s not really a clear trail to follow, it’s more of a wander around and explore situation.
In a lot of ways, it’s very similar to the Fiery Furnace, although smaller and less scrambly. However, it offers many of the same features and is a bit more accessible. You also don’t need a permit for Garden of Eden!
This is a great hike in Arches National Park – that almost no one knows is actually a viable trail!
One note: Like in the Fiery Furnace, they do strongly request that people stay as much as possible on the rocks or clear sandy washes. Don’t cut across desert/sandy areas whenever possible so as to not disturb and kill the desert biological soil crust.
13. Tower Arch
- Distance: About 2.5 miles
- Elevation Change: 680 feet
- Facilities: Vault Toilet, Cell Coverage*
- Time: 1.5 – 2.5 hours
This is a hidden gem of Arches National Park! Tower Arch is located far back in the park on a side, gravel road that you access from the main road near Skyline Arch. The main parking lot is on this gravel road, but there is an alternate lot that will provide a shorter hike, but it can only be accessed if you have an off-road capable vehicle.
The trail begins with a steep, scrambling incline that offers nice views back toward the park – and cell service! You then descend into a valley with some cool rock formations, such as the Marching Men. There are cairns marking the trail, but they can be hard to spot, so having a map can be helpful to make sure you stay on track.
You ascend a sandy hill, and finally walk through a shaded canyon to the Tower Arch itself. The arch is quite large and impressive and the towering rock formation behind it adds a really cool element. It also offers great views into the surrounding countryside.
This arch and trail were super secluded and quiet. Just sitting and enjoying the silence in this beautiful spot was a great experience. Highly recommend this arch, but the trail is moderately difficult and you need some decent shape to do. This is for sure one of the off the beaten path, hidden gem hikes of Arches National Park!
Because this is a lesser known trail, with some really cool things to explore, but also pretty remote, stay tuned for a full post with all the details!
14. Upper Delicate Viewpoint
- Distance: 0.5 miles round trip
- Elevation: Quite steep and rocky
Upper Delicate Viewpoint starts from the same parking lot and trailhead as Lower Delicate Viewpoint. You start walking on the paved pathway that leads to Lower Viewpoint, but then turn off to a trail that becomes unpaved and actually quite steep, which takes you to the Upper Viewpoint. You will experience Delicate Arch from the same angle as the Lower Delicate Viewpoint, but it’s just a little bit bigger and closer.
I’ve gone back and forth on whether I would say it’s worth it to do the Lower and Upper Delicate Viewpoints. First, I will say that it is DEFINITELY nothing like the view from the 3 mile hike to Delicate Arch. The “regular” viewpoint is vastly superior and absolutely worth the effort to hike up.
However, I will also say it’s kind of fun to see Delicate Arch from the different perspective of these two upper and lower viewpoints.
I think it’s for sure worth doing these viewpoints if you have plenty of time, or if you have mobility issues and can’t do the hike to Delicate Arch. I will also note that the view from Upper Viewpoint is better than the view from Lower Viewpoint, but the arch is still fairly small and far away. The size that it is in the picture above is about what is looks like in real life.
If you don’t have time for everything in Arches National Park, Upper and Lower Delicate Viewpoints would be the first hikes I would cut. And Upper has quite the incline for not that much better view.
15. Devil’s Garden
Devil’s Garden is one of the best hikes in Arches National Park for seeing a whole host of unique arches. On this trail, with several spurs and offshoots, you can see up to 7 different, named arches.
A lot of people choose to just do some of the arches on this loop – in this case, you can just turn around whenever you’ve had your fill or skip certain side trails.
Since there are some different routes and distances you can go, I’m going to break down a lot of these arches into their own subsections here.
Facilities: The trail head here has vault toilets. Notably, this is the only other spot in the park (besides the vistor’s center and the Devil’s Garden Campground) that has water refill stations.
- Distance: 1.9 miles round trip
- Elevation Change: 150 feet
Landscape Arch is the most popular arch on in the Devil Garden’s loop, and is the longest arch in the entire world! The arch is also shockingly thin, especially consideirng how long it is!
Unlike most arches in the park, you cannot go right up and underneateh Landscape Arch. This is because the arch is, understandably, very delicate. A chunk of the arch actually fell off in 1991, so I imagine they don’t want anyone to get hurt if and when another piece of the arch falls off.
On the trail up to Landscape, we did see deer, grazing just off the trail. They seemed very used to humans and were very unbothered by people’s presence on the trail.
Navajo and Partition Arches
- Distance: Approximately 1 mile round trip for both from Landscape
As you hike past Landscape Arch, you start to gain more elevation and are climbing in and through the fins (the skinny rock formations prevalent throughout the park). About 1/3 mile past Landscape, you’ll reach a turnoff to your left. This short trail will fork; one trail to Navajo Arch, and the other trail to Partition Arch.
Navajo Arch was a favorite arch on this trail – the shape is just really fun as it almost feels like a cave or tunnel.
You will climb some elevation to get up to Partition Arch, but you’re rewarded with some really pretty views over the valley!
Double O Arch
- Distance: Approximately 5 miles round trip, including the Navajo and Partition Arches, or 4 miles round trip from parking lot if you skip those.
Once you leave Navajo and Partition Arch and continue on the trail to Double O Arch, the trail becomes really cool. You are surrounded by tall fins and boulders, and the trail becomes pretty exciting, as you start walking on top of and across the fins, and then in between the fins, and then crossing over them, and then walking parallel to them. Basically, you get a really cool hiking experience.
However, due to the nature of the landscape, it’s not as clear where the trail goes and where the turnoff points are, as the cairns and markers are a little bit more hidden in the brush and the fins. It’s also not super obvious where your destination is, so it’s not quite as easy as “just hike in that direction.”
For that reason, I would highly recommend having a trail map downloaded to your phone – as mentioned, we really like the AllTrails maps. You will see the cairns if you’re following a map, but it’s just not as obvious where to go just from the cairns if you aren’t also looking at a map.
Double O Arch is very cool, as you can go right up to it and actually walk underneath and through the bottom arch.
After Double O Arch
After Double O Arch, you have a few options:
1. Turn around and go back the way you came in
Turning around and heading back out is the most straightforward thing to do.
2. Continue forward and take the primitive trail back
Continuing forward to take the primitive trail back will add a little bit of extra time and distance to your hike. (It’s 2 miles from Double O Arch to the trailhead via the primitive trail, with the option to add a 0.5 spur to see Private Arch).
This trail is quite difficult and can be hard to navigate. It also includes steep slopes and dropoffs, and requires some scrambling. There is also a little “pool” on the trail that may contain water.
If you choose to do the primitive trail, FOR SURE make sure you have good maps on your phone and feel confident navigating in the wilderness.
3. Go past Double O arch on a spur trail to see Dark Angel
For this option, after seeing Dark Angel you can go back via either the main trail trail you came in on, or via the primitive trail.
I wouldn’t recommend going to see Dark Angel. I mean, the name sounds cool, but it was a bit of a let-down. It’s just a basic stone pillar, with nothing particularly interesting about it. Since it’s another approximately 1 mile round trip to go see it, I don’t feel that it’s worth the trip.
4. Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches
Whichever route you’ve taken, as you near the parking lot, look to your left. About 1/3 mile before you would be done there is a turnoff for two more arches. The turnoff forks with each branch leading to another arch. To see both you are looking at another 1/2 mile total.
Devils Garden Wrap Up
There are a lot of options for how to experience Devil’s Garden! It’s really one of the best hikes in Arches National Park for a “build your own adventure” type of experience.
If you end up doing the entire loop with all the spurs, it’s a 7.9 mile hike. Alternatively, if you just want to experience the longest arch in the world (Landscape Arch) it’s just 2 miles. You can add in what you want according to your interests and abilities!
16. Corona Arch (A Bonus!)
- Distance: 2.4 miles round trip, with the option to add 1.2 miles as a spur to see Pinto Arch
- Elevation: 450 feet
- Facilities: Vault toilets at trailhead
We’re calling this a bonus arch because Corona Arch actually isn’t a hike in Arches National Park, it’s a trail about 15 minutes outside of Moab. However, it is a beautiful and exciting hike to a really impressively large arch, so I think it’s still a must do hike when visiting Arches!
This hike is super fun. At the beginning you’ll cross railroad tracks that cut through a canyon, and then hike up and through a rocky flatland. As you hike, you’ll notice several arches and caves in the canyon walls. Generally the path is pretty obvious, but there are a few spots where you should keep an eye on the cairns, brown signs, and green dashes painted on the ground to stay headed in the right direction.
About 1/2 mile in you’ll reach a fork that will lead to Pinto arch if you want to add that to your hike. You can see it in the distance from the main trail, but obviously it can be fun to get up close if you are interested.
A highlight of the hike is about a mile in where you reach a spot where you have to hike up a very steep section to the next ridge, hanging onto a chain attached to the cliff. Just after that, there’s a spot with a little ladder to help you climb a steep section.
After the ladder section, you just follow a curved ridge with a steep dropoff until you reach the main attraction. You’ll pass Bowtie Arch during this final approach. It’s a nice example of what’s known as a “pothole arch” which is almost like a ring in a rock ledge.
I will say, I was *impressed* with Corona Arch! It definitely could compete with the other arches and hikes in Arches National Parks. The surrounding environment was absolutely gorgeous, rugged, and very interesting.
17. Bonus #2 Dinosaur Fossils
Not far from the Corona Arch trailhead, you’ll find the Dinosaur Fossil area and Petroglyphs. A short hike (less than 0.5 miles RT) will take you to see samples of both. It was absolutely wild seeing the dinosaur footprints in the rock face! There is a milelong trail that starts at this parking lot to another arch as well. While the hike is short, just know that to reach the dinosaurs and petroglyphs it is a scrambling trail, so be ready to stretch those legs.
Practical Information for Visiting Arches National Park
Hours: Arches National Park is open 24/7/365. You can come into the park day or night to enjoy this beautiful space.
Cost: $30 per private vehicle, valid for 7 days. Or you can purchase an America the Beuatiful Pass, commonly known as the National Parks Pass, for $80 for the whole year and gets you into all parks and monuments in the National Parks system. If you’re going to visit even 3 national parks, monuments or forests in a year, it’s definitely worth buying the annual pass!
Bathrooms and Water Refill Stations: There are many trailheads that have vault toilets throughout the park. We found these toilets to be generally fairly clean. There are very few water refill stations throughout the park – you can only find water at the Visitor’s Center, at the Devil’s Garden trailhead, and at the trailhead to Tapestry Arch in the Devil’s Garden Campground.
A few other things to note:
- Do not walk or climb on the arches or on Balanced Rock
- No drones are allowed anywhere in Arches National Park
- While pets are allowed on park roads, in parking lots, and in campsites, no pets are allowed on any of the trails in Arches National Park.
- There is practically zero cell service in Arches. We had service by the Visitor’s Center by the front gate, and then randomly in the parking lot for the Windows Arches and on the trail to Tower Arch. Otherwise, zilch!
Reservations at Arches National Park
From April to October 3, 2022, Arches is piloting a timed entry reservation program to get into the park. Between the hours of 6am-5pm. You will need a timed entry reservation in addition to your payment or America the Beautiful Pass; the pass itself is not sufficient to get in. (The only exception to this is if you get a permit for Fiery Furnace, that counts as your timed entry ticket).
Timed entry reservations are released in blocks 3 months in advance. There are also a limited number of tickets released the day before.
Tickets are issued in 1 hour time blocks. So, if you get a 1-2pm time slot, you will only be allowed to enter into the park during that time window.
Are all the timed entry tickets sold out and you didn’t get one? You can always enter the park before 6am or after 5pm without a timed entry reservation.
Honestly, I liked the timed entry system. I felt like it kept Arches from being overly crowded, and if we didn’t get a timed entry reservation, we just came into the park before 6am (which we wanted to do anyway to be able to hike before it gets too hot).
This is a pilot program, so it is unclear whether this program will continue after October 3, 2022.
Can I Drive Through Arches National Park?
While many other popular National Parks require using a shuttle service to get around (e.g. Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon South Rim), there is actually no shuttle service available in Arches. So, not only can you drive through, you must drive yourself through.
👉If you need a rental car for Arches, I can highly recommend RentalCars.com – we’ve found the best rates and availability through them! If you need a rental car, book ASAP. Rental cars are in high demand right now throughout the world.
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Arches is easy to navigate and drive, and parking lots do tend to be big, though they can fill up. If a parking lot is full, you will need to go to another spot, and come back at a later time.
How Much Time Do I Need in Arches National Park?
With one full day, you can see the highlights of the park. With two full days, you can experience *almost* everything that Arches has to offer, but they will be full days with a lot of hiking miles each day. Three days (or even two full days and part of a third day) gives you plenty of time to see and do everything without doing so much hiking in one day.
What Hikes to Do with One Day in Arches National Park
- Windows Hike for Sunrise
- Double Arch
- Fiery Furnace (if you don’t get tickets, I would do Garden of Eden here)
- Park Avenue + Courthouse Towers Viewpoint
- Balanced Rock
- Delicate Arch – sunset
What Hikes to Do With Two Days in Arches National Park
This is a very ambitious hiking plan for day 2. Unless you’re in very good shape and can hike at a solid pace throughout the whole day, you may need to choose between a few of these hikes (e.g. Tower Arch and Corona Arch)
- Devils Garden
- Broken/Tapestry Arches
- Skyline Arch
- Sand Dune Arch
- Upper/Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoints (if desired)
- Tower Arch
- Corona Arch
Can You Do Arches and Canyonlands in One Day?
Canyonlands National Park is only 30 minutes away from Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, so if you’re short on time, it may be tempting to try to fit both National Parks into one day. I wouldn’t recommend it though!
There is so much to see and do in Arches National Park that you can easily spend a full day or more here. I would plan to spend a minimum of one full day in Arches, and then a half to a full day in Canyonlands. One day is enough to see most of what Canyonlands has to offer – and fit in Dead Horse Point State Park, too.
The Best Hidden Gems Hikes and Arches
Looking for hikes where you won’t encounter a lot of people? We saw hardly anyone else while doing these trails:
- Garden of Eden
- Tower Arch
- Broken Arch/Tapestry Arch
- Backside of Skyline Arch
- Fiery Furnace (because of permits)
Other ways to avoid crowds are to visit during the off-season (winter, early spring or late fall, and not during school breaks), or start hiking early in the morning. There are few people in the park first thing, so if you want to avoid crowds, you can start hiking starting about 1/2 hour before the sun rises. An added benefit is you’ll enjoy several hours before it gets really hot!
Where to Stay When Visiting Arches
There are no hotels inside the national park – Moab is the closest city and where most people stay in a visit to Arches. I should note that despite being in a very rural area, the hotels in Moab are all fairly expensive.
There are many options for places to stay in Moab, but these are a few standouts:
Bowen Motel: This is the most budget-friendly hotel in Moab and despite being a motel, it has great reviews. Beds are comfortable, rooms and clean, and staff is helpful. 👉Check availability for the Bowen Motel here!
Aarchway Inn: This hotel is a great option if you are traveling with family, as the hotel offers several types of rooms with extra beds and a private kitchenette, perfect for traveling with kids, or even a larger group. There’s also a pool, hot tub, playground, and picnic tables on-site. 👉Check availability for the Aarchway Inn here!
Hoodoo Moab: This is one of the most upscale hotels in Moab. The design is chic and the rooms are very comfortable and well-decorated. Plus, the views over the mountains are fantastic! 👉Check availability for the Hoodoo Moab here!
There is one campground inside Arches National Park – the Devil’s Garden Campground. There are also numerous camping sites available in and around Moab.
Devil’s Garden Campground:
This is a very pretty, 51 site campground. One cool perk is that you are camping right next to small rock formations, where you can climb and explore the rocks. There are several restrooms with flush toilets and convenient water fill stations.
The campground also has an amphitheater with ranger programs in the afternoon, and is within walking distance to Skyline Arch and very close to Devil’s Garden trail.
Reservations are required March 1 – October 31, and open 6 months in advance. Campsites are very popular and regularly sell out fast.
My Favorite Hiking Clothes + Gear
These are a few of my favorite hiking outfits or gear that I wear or bring with us on hikes all the time!
Good sunscreen: The sun is intense in southern Utah, and so lathering up with sunscreen is important for any hiking day.
This sunscreen is THE BEST. A tube lasts forever, and its not super thick and gloopy, and rubs in extremely easily, and lasts for a long time. I used to only like the aerosal sunscreens because I thought they were so much more convenient, but this sunscreen has me converted.
Sunscreen stick: For faces, we always use this sunscreen stick. It spreads on smoothly and is super handy for getting around all the little contours of the face.
Portable Power Bank: This is an essential piece of gear for any travel day. You’ll certainly take plenty of pictures and videos as you explore the stunning scenery in Arches, and you don’t want your phone to die! This power bank charges 4 times and tells you the exact percentage of power left in the bank.
Athletic Tees: These tees are great for exercising or hiking days. They are slightly boxy, breathable and wickable, making them really comfortable even in hot days. They’re also perfect for days when you want to protect your shoulders from the sun.
Athletic Tanks: These tanks are BOMB! Like the tees, they’re breathable and wickable and don’t cling to my body. They’re not cropped, but not too long either. I always feel great wearing these when we’re hiking. Bonus – they’re also extremely affordable!
Athletic Shorts: I’ve tried out a lot of athletic shorts, and these are my favorite for exercising and hiking! They have a 5 inch inseam (not too short, not too long), zipper pockets, a mesh liner, and are just so dang comfortable. These are the shorts I’m always reaching for first!
Sports Bras: This 3 pack of sports bras is so comfortable and supportive, which is perfect for days full of hitting the trails. After trying a whole bunch of sports bras, these are my favorites!
What Time Should I Get to Arches National Park?
If you can, I would get to Arches National Park by sunrise! You can enjoy the light hitting the peaks throughout the park and the amazing highlights and shadows that creates, enjoy the scenery and hikes without many other people around, and, especially if you’re visiting in the summer, get some hikes in before it gets really hot.
There is no wrong time to see and experience Arches – as different lighting and different angles can give an entirely different view of the rocks and arches. That being said, sunrise and sunset are particularly great to be in the park. Any spot that you are, including just driving the main road, will come alive and be bathed in a warm light with tremendous shadows.
What is The Best Month to Visit Arches National Park?
The summer months are by far the busiest in Arches National Park. Spring and fall are somewhat less busier (though breaks are extremely busy), and the winter is by far the lowest season in Arches.
Always Practice Leave No Trace
Leave no trace involves packing out waste, not littering, respect wildlife, not carving into the rocks, etc. Just be mindful of what you are doing and respect nature!
Be Careful of the Biological Soil Crust
“Biological soil crust is a living groundcover that forms the foundation of high desert plant life in Arches National Park.” The soil crust helps keep together particles in the dirt, and traps and contains water and nutrients for the plants growing.
While it doesn’t look like much, this crust takes years to develop and is crucial for maintaining the fragile ecosystem in the arid desert of Arches.
Stay on the trails, rocks, or sandy washes, and try to stay off the sandy “sidebar” areas to help maintain this important lifeform!
Need a Break from Hiking? Here are a few best non-hiking activities in and near Arches National Park:
Stop at Some Viewpoints
Requiring zero walking or hiking, these viewpoints showcase stunning scenery in Arches. Our favorites were:
- La Sal Viewpoint
- Courthouse Viewpoint
- Fiery Furnace Viewpoint
- Petrified Sand Dunes
- Park Avenue Viewpoint
Participate in a Ranger Program
We’ve been very impressed with all the ranger programs we’ve attended in the national parks. They really have interesting presentations and information to share! Often, these programs are pretty hands-on and allow kids to participate in the presentation.
There are ranger led presentations at the Visitor’s Center at the front of the park, and at the Devil’s Garden Campground amphitheather in the back of the park.
Pick Up a Junior Rangers Packet for the Kids
Our kids LOVED the Junior Rangers programs, available at all national parks (and often at national monuments as well). At the visitor’s center, ask for a Junior Rangers packet, which is full of little activities for kids to do as you’re going throughout the park (or even as you’re taking a break in the shade somewhere).
When you’ve finished a certain amount of pages, depending on your age, you can show your completed packet back at the Visitor’s Center to receive a Jr Ranger’s badge. Collecting these badges was a highlight for our girls as we traveled through the national parks!
Head Outside the National Park to Go Rafting on the Colorado River
A gorgeous and scenic way to experience more of the backcountry of southern Utah is to raft down the Colorado River, with tall red canyon walls, mesas, and pillars rising up around you in the landscape. This was one of my favorite activities we did in Moab!
Note that the section of the Colorado River by Moab is a pretty gentle section of river – you will rarely encounter large rapids. This was perfect for us, as we had pretty little kids with us, and we were wanting a calmer rafting experience. It was essentially just a calm float down the river, with occasional little rapids, but we all (older kids and adults included) still had a great time.
Final Thoughts on the Best Hikes in Arches National Park
Arches National Park is an absolutely spectacular park in the United States, with some epic, must do trails and bucket list worthy hikes throughout the park. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!
Traveling Around Utah? Check Out These Other Posts:
- How to Do the Fiery Furnace Hike in Arches National Park
- 7 of the Best Hikes in Zion National Park, Ranked
- How to Hike the Narrows in Winter