Arches National Park – A Wonderful Place to Visit

Arches National Park Utah
Arches National Park Utah

Arches National Park is a desert wonderland full of desert vistas, short hiking trails, strange rock formations, and, of course, arches.

There are over 2,000 arches here, as well as hoodoos, fins of sandstone rocks, massive mesas, and balanced rocks.

The following are the top things to do in Arches National Park.

What is Arches National Park?

Arches National Park is located in Utah, North of Moab.

It is known as the site of over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east, and is bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast.

To the north, a long, thin Landscape Arch stands in Devils Garden.

Balanced Rock, which towers over the desert landscape in the park’s centre, is another geological formation.

Best Things To Do in Arches National Park

1. Arches Scenic Drive

Arches Scenic Drive is the only road that runs through Arches National Park.

It is 19 miles long from Highway 191 to the Devils Garden trailhead at the park’s back end.

The total distance is about a half-hour drive, but it will take much longer as you ooh and aah at the arches and detour to various viewpoints and hiking trails.

Before your visit, you can purchase and download a self-guided driving tour.

This audio tour provides information about the sights on Scenic Drive as you drive through Arches National Park.

2. Park Avenue

This easy, short hike takes you past massive rock formations like the Three Gossips and the Courthouse Towers. Even though there are no arches, this is a beautiful walk.

Distance: 1 mile (1.6 km) one-way

Length of Time: 30 to 45 minutes

This is best done as a point-to-point hike. If someone in your group is willing to skip the walk, they can drop hikers off at the trailhead and pick them up at the end. Otherwise, you’ll have to do a 2-mile round-trip hike.

3. La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

This is the first viewpoint you’ll see as you drive into Arches National Park.

Again, no arches are visible, but you do get a 360° panoramic view of the park as well as the distant La Sal Mountains.

We preferred this viewpoint over the nearby Courthouse Towers Viewpoint because it is higher and provides a better view of the park’s rocky landmarks.

The time of day you arrive has a significant impact on your photographs. Here are two photos taken at different times of the day one day apart.

The first photograph was taken in the late afternoon. The second photo was taken about two hours after sunrise the next morning.

4. Balanced Rock

This well-known rock formation should not be missed.

You drive right past it on the main road, but it’s worth stopping for a quick look.

There is a small parking lot here, and you can walk around Balanced Rock for a closer look.

Distance: 0.3 miles (0.5 km) round trip

Length of Time: 15 minutes

5. The Windows and Turret Arch

This short hike allows you to see three fascinating arches: North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch.

One hiking trail connects these arches.

Take the spur trail a short distance to reach Turret Arch.

The Primitive Trail will take you back to your car.

This trail is not as well marked as the main trail, so you’ll have to rely on cairns (rock piles used as trail markers) to find your way. The primitive trail extends the hike by about 0.5 mile.

Distance: 0.7 miles (1.1 km) round trip

Length of Time: 30 to 45 minutes

To get here, turn right off Arches Scenic Drive onto The Windows Road. This road leads to a loop that connects two car parks, one at the Windows trailhead and one at the Double Arch trailhead.

You’ll arrive at the parking lot first for the Windows. We parked here and went to the Windows and Double Arch without moving our car (during crowded times it can be very difficult to find parking here).

How to Photograph Turret Arch through North Window Arch

Photograph Turret Arch through the North Window Arch for a unique shot.

This is best done at sunrise or early in the morning. Sunset also works, but the time of year is important. The best time to photograph a sunset is during the summer months, when the sun is higher in the sky.

We arrived in the late afternoon of November, which is a terrible time to try to take this photo because both the Turret Arch and the Windows are completely backlit by the setting sun.

We’ll probably go back to Arches one more time so I can retake this photo.

6. Double Arch

These arches may appear small from a distance, but they are massive.

In fact, Double Arch is the park’s tallest arch. It’s a short walk here, and it’s one of the few places where you can climb on the rocks beneath the arch.

Distance: 0.5 miles (0.8 km) round trip
Length of Time: 30 minutes
How to Get Here: From the parking lot at the end of The Windows Road.

7. Garden of Eden

The quick stop to see these knobby hoodoos and sandstone rock formations is well worth it.

There is a pull-out just before the Garden of Eden with a panoramic view of the Windows and Turret Arches against the backdrop of the La Sal Mountains.

How to Get There: From The Windows Road, take Garden of Eden Viewpoint Road.

This can be done before or after visiting the Double Arch, Windows, and Turret arches.

8. Hike to Delicate Arch

This is the main reason people visit Arches National Park.

People travel from all over the world to see this arch, so expect large crowds and a busy trail.

You’ll have to do some hiking to get a good look at Delicate Arch.

The hike is a 3-mile round trip over slickrock and sandy trails.

To get to the arch, walk uphill for the majority of the way from the parking lot.

One short section of trail has a drop-off on one side.

This is just before you reach Delicate Arch.

Kids can do this hike, but you must keep an eye on them, especially during this short section.

Distance: 3 miles (4.8 km) round trip

Elevation Gain: The hike from the parking lot to Delicate Arch gains 480 feet

Length of Time: 1.5 to 3 hours

How to Get Here: Parking is available in the Wolfe Ranch parking lot on Delicate Arch Road.

Best Time to Visit Delicate Arch: Sunrise, late afternoon, and sunset are the best times for photography.

The sun will be behind the arch for the majority of the morning and midday, making it backlit and difficult to photograph.

Later in the day, the sun illuminates the front of the arch, making photography easier.

We struck gold.

We arrived early in the morning, but the cloudy skies softened the harshness of the sunlight.

The best time to avoid the crowds is early in the morning. This is also one of the most difficult times for photographers. So you must decide whether you want fewer crowds (go early in the morning) or better lighting conditions (late afternoon and sunset).

Other things to do in Arches Nation Park Include:

9. Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint

10. Fiery Furnace

11. Devils Garden and Landscape Arch

12. Skyline Arch

14. Broken Arch

15. Tapestry Arch

16. Tower Arch

Top 10 Things to do in Arches National Park

We just gave you a long list of things to do in Arches National Park.

You won’t be able to do everything on our list in a single day unless you move quickly.

To help you decide, here are our top ten things to do in Arches National Park:

1. Drive Scenic Drive Road

2. Hike to Delicate Arch (sunset is ideal)

3. Hike the Devils Garden Trail

4. See Balanced Rock

5. Visit Windows and Turret Arches

6. Visit Double Arch

7. Panoramic View from the Garden of Eden

8. Hike Park Avenue

9. Take a ranger guided tour of the Fiery Furnace

10. Visit Sand Dune Arch

How Many Days Do You Need in Arches National Park?

Plan on spending one day in Arches National Park to see the highlights. Start early (no later than 8 a.m.) and bring a picnic lunch so you can spend the entire day in the park.

We recommend starting in the “back” of the park, at Devils Garden, and making your way back towards the park entrance along Scenic Drive. More information can be found in our Arches One Day Itinerary.

With two days in Arches National Park, you can visit the above-mentioned attractions at a slower pace that doesn’t feel rushed.

It is possible to visit both Arches and Canyonlands (Island in the Sky) in one day if you have very limited time, but I do not recommend it.

Both of these parks have a lot to see and do, so plan on spending at least one day in each. Having said that, there is an awesome tour that takes you on Shafer Canyon Road and part of the White Rim Road in Canyonlands National Park, and ends with a 44-mile tour of Arches National Park.

We’ve driven the White Rim Road, and it’s spectacular. If you only have one day to visit Canyonlands and Arches, this 44-mile tour is a very unique and memorable way to see these two parks.

Things to Know Before You Go

Timed Entry Permit: A timed entry permit is required to enter Arches National Park between April 3 and October 2, 2022.

These tickets are made available three months in advance (for example, permits for all of July are released on April 1).

Getting to Arches National Park: Arches National Park is in the state of Utah’s southeastern corner.

Moab, the nearest city, is only a 10-minute drive from the park.

Best Time to Go to Arches: The best times to visit are in the spring and fall.

The weather is pleasant, and you can avoid the large crowds that swarm the park during the summer.

Expect high temperatures, large crowds, and difficulty finding parking at many viewpoints during the summer months.

It is much less crowded during the winter months, but temperatures drop below freezing and snow is likely.

The National Park Service website has a great graph that shows the busiest times to visit Arches National Park, as well as tips on how to avoid crowds.

Entrance Fees: The park entrance fee is $30 per vehicle and is valid for seven days.

A Southeast Utah parks pass, which includes admission to Canyonlands National Park, costs $55.

An annual National Parks pass (known as the America the Beautiful Pass) costs $80.

You can visit over 2,000 federal recreation sites with this pass.

This is worthwhile if you intend to visit any of Utah’s Mighty 5, including Capitol Reef, Zion, and Bryce Canyon, within the next year.

Never Leave a Trace. Plan ahead, stay on the trails, pack out what you bring to the hiking trails, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimise campfire impacts, be considerate of other visitors, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

The park does not have any restaurants.

If you intend to stay the entire day, bring a picnic lunch.

However, restrooms are available at many of the park’s main viewpoints and trailheads.

Service for mobile phones. We had intermittent cellular service throughout the park, even as far back as Devils Garden.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t rely on your phone to text, check emails, or send photos.

Arches National Park Camping: Where to Stay

Arches National Park has no accommodations.

The Devils Garden Campground is the only campground, but sites are usually reserved months in advance.

Moab is the best place to stay.

There are numerous hotels and restaurants in this small town, as well as gas stations and grocery stores.

UPSCALE: Hoodoo Moab. This is one of Moab’s newest hotels, and it’s where we stayed on our most recent visit. This hotel has received mixed reviews from me.

The location is fantastic, right in the heart of Moab, with most restaurants within walking distance or a short drive. The hotel is stunning.

The décor and layout are flawless, and our room was extremely comfortable. The walls, on the other hand, are paper thin.

We could clearly hear our neighbours’ conversations, which were not too loud. If you have trouble sleeping, you should consider staying somewhere else.

If a little noise doesn’t bother you and you want to stay in Moab’s nicest hotel, stay at the Hoodoo.

MID-RANGE: The Red Cliffs Lodge This property has received rave reviews. Every room has a patio with river views. There is a restaurant, bar, pool, tennis courts, winery, museum, and horse corral on the premises.

Red Cliffs Lodge is located on Highway 128 just outside of Moab, in a beautiful setting along the Colorado River. It’s a quick drive to town and Arches National Park.

MID-RANGE: Homewood Suites. This is yet another property that has received rave reviews. All suites have kitchenettes, and some can sleep up to six people.

On-site, there is a small indoor pool and a gym. MID-RANGE: Hyatt Place Moab.

This is a newer and highly rated hotel in Moab. It is located on the outskirts of town, so it is only a short drive to Arches National Park.

BUDGET: MainStay Suites Moab. The rooms include a kitchenette. Some suites can accommodate up to six people, making this an excellent budget option for families.

Arches National Park Hikes

Easy Trails

  • Arches Visitor Center Nature Trail. …
  • Balanced Rock Viewpoint and Trail. …
  • Broken Arch Trail. …
  • Courthouse Wash Panel Trail. …
  • Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trails. …
  • Double Arch Viewpoint and Trail. …
  • Landscape Arch Trail. …
  • Sand Dune Arch Trail.
  • Skyline Arch Trail
  • The Windows Viewpoint and Trail

Moderate Trails

  • Courthouse Towers Viewpoint and Trailhead
  • Park Avenue Viewpoint and Trail

Strenuous Hikes

  • Delicate Arch Trail
  • Devils Garden Trail
  • Fiery Furnace Viewpoint and Permit Area
  • Tower Arch Trail
Best Hikes in Arches National Park

The 5 Best Hikes in Arches

  • Delicate Arch Trail.
  • Fiery Furnace.
  • Landscape Arch.
  • Park Avenue.
  • Windows Primitive Loop.
Arches National Park Hotels

Stay in Arches National Park’s best hotels!

  • Radcliffe Moab
  • Element Moab
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Green River, an IHG Hotel
  • Moab Springs Ranch
  • Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection By Hilton
  • Modern Mesa #5
  • Red Cliff 3C
  • Solano Vallejo 3349
  • Scenic View Inn & Suites Moab
  • River Terrace Inn
Camping Near Arches National Park

1. Arches National Park: Devils Garden Campground

2. Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District: Willow Flats Campground

3. Dead Horse Point State Park: Kayenta Campground

4. Canyonlands National Park, The Needles District: Needles Campground

5. Sand Flats Recreation Area

6. Campgrounds along the Colorado River

7. Campgrounds on the Road to Canyonlands, Island in the Sky District: Horsethief, Cowboy, and Lone Mesa Campgrounds

8. Campgrounds and RV Parks in the Town of Moab

9. Needles Overlook Area Camping

10. Dispersed Camping near Moab

Arches National Park Hours
ThursdayOpen 24 hours
FridayOpen 24 hours
SaturdayOpen 24 hours
SundayOpen 24 hours
MondayOpen 24 hours
TuesdayOpen 24 hours
WednesdayOpen 24 hours
FAQs

What is the best month to visit Arches National Park?

Arches National Park is best visited between April and May, and September and October, when daytime temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees.

Summer temperatures can reach 100 degrees, making hiking the park’s trails extremely uncomfortable.

Arches National Park facts – How long does it take to go through Arches National Park?

The 36 mile (round trip) road through Arches National Park can be done in a couple of hours or the better part of a day.

With numerous photo opportunities and panoramic views for miles, you can enjoy the brilliant artistry and majesty of Arches without ever leaving your vehicle.

How long does it take to go through Arches National Park?

The 36 mile (round trip) road through Arches National Park can be done in a couple of hours or the better part of a day.

With numerous photo opportunities and panoramic views for miles, you can enjoy the brilliant artistry and majesty of Arches without ever leaving your vehicle.

What time can you enter Arches National Park?

Arches National Park is normally open 24 hours a day, all year. There are fees involved. Between March and October, the park is extremely popular.

We recommend entering the park before 8 a.m. or after 3 p.m. to avoid traffic.

Do you need arches national park reservations get into Park?

To enter the park, you must make a timed entry reservation in advance.

What are the best hotels near Arches National Park in Moab?

Some of the best hotels in Moab near Arches National Park include:

Red Cliffs Lodge Traveler rating: 4.5/5

Fairfield Inn & Suites Moab Traveler rating: 4.5/5

Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa Traveler rating: 4.0/5

How far is it from Salt Lake City to Arches National Park?

Salt Lake City and Arches National Park are 188 miles apart. The total driving distance is 245 miles.

Which airport is the closest to Arches National Park?

Moab (CNY) Airport, which is 9 miles away, is the closest airport to Arches National Park. Grand Junction (GJT) (63.5 miles) and Montrose (MTJ) are two other nearby airports (93 miles).

What time does Arches National Park open their gate?

The timed entry system will be operational from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Visitors who make reservations will be able to enter the park during a one-hour period.

A 7 a.m. ticket, for example, allows entry between 7:00 and 7:59 a.m.

What is the best time to visit arches national park?

Arches National Park is best visited between April and May, and September and October, when daytime temperatures range from 60 to 80 degrees.

Summer temperatures can reach 100 degrees, making hiking the park’s trails extremely uncomfortable.

Are dogs allowed in arches national park?

Arches has very few pet-friendly activities.

Pets are not permitted on any hiking trails.

Pets are welcome in the campground and at pullouts along the paved scenic drives.

Pets may be walked on roads or in parking lots, but they must always be leashed when outside a vehicle.

Is Arches National Park visitor center available?

Arches National Park has one visitor centre, located five miles north of Moab, Utah, just inside the park’s entrance.

Except for December 25, the visitor centre is open every day.

Seasonal hours vary. Exhibits and a bookstore provide information about the park.

Conclusion

Arches National Park has the world’s highest concentration of natural stone arches.

The park contains over 2,000 documented arches, as well as pinnacles, balanced rocks, fins, and other geologic formations.

Some stand out more than others. They are magnificent and stunning. It is recommended that you arrive early or stay late to avoid crowds.

And because your pass is valid for 7 days, you can always return if you have time and it’s too late in the day to see everything.

TecPlusMore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.