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How to Spend 2 Days in Arches National Park

Arches National Park is not only awe-inspiring but is a relatively easy park to visit. Known for it’s dramatic landscape of orange rock and classic arches, the park is one of the more popular 63 US National Parks. Just outside the gates, the town of Moab offers great places to stay and eat and the entire park is somewhat compact making it easy to visit in two days.

We’ve been to Arches several times and itinerary for 2 days in Arches National Park will help you explore the top sites and highlights of the park.

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Quick Overview of this Itinerary for 2 days in Arches National Park

Below I will get right into the suggested itinerary for 2 days in Arches National Park, but make sure to scroll down for some important ‘need to know’ things for the park including the timed-entry system. You can also see more by exploring our Guide to Arches National Park.

This itinerary can easily be switched around and you can do the second day first. The exact timing will also depend on the time of year (you will want to get an early start in the hot summer months). Each of the days in this itinerary have a medium to long hike followed by some site-seeing. If you are not interested in hiking these distances, you can also do a portion of the hike.

This itinerary also assumes you will pack a lunch for the day, but since the park is close to town, you can go out and come back in although it will add time to the middle of the day. This is a good choice if you are trying to see the Arches at sunset.

2 days in Arches National Park
2 days in Arches National Park

Day 1: Delicate Arch and Windows

Start your day early to avoid the crowds especially on the Delicate Arch hike one of the most popular in the park. Skip the visitor center for the morning to save time and drive right to the Wolfe Ranch Parking area. You will pass some of the parks popular sites, but we recommend visiting those on the way out. We arrive to this lot around 7:30 and the lot was just over half full in April. The trail starts right from here.

The hike to Delicate Arch is about 3 mile with 500 feet of elevation gain. The first stretch of the hike is gradual on a wide and easy trail followed by a steeper section up the slickrock. After reaching the top of the slickrock there is a little shade and a gentle path before you reach the last section of the hike. The final section is easy but involves some steep drop offs that might make you nervous if you don’t like heights. You will go around a corner and have instant and incredible views of Delicate Arch with the mountains in the background.

Read more about visiting Delicate Arch.

2 days in Arches National Park
The hike to Delicate Arch
2 days in Arches National Park
Delicate Arch

Stop for Lunch. We drove right to the Windows area, and ate lunch here, but you can also stop at any scenic spot along the way.

In the afternoon explore the Windows area. From the parking lot you will be able to see most of the arches and you can choose which ones to walk to and which ones to admire from a distance.

The Windows Loop Trail, located in the heart of Arches National Park, Utah, offers hikers an opportunity to experience some of the most iconic and breathtaking natural arches in the world. This relatively short and easy trail is perfect for visitors of all ages and skill levels, providing stunning views and incredible photo opportunities.

2 days in Arches National Park

Key Arches to See

  1. North Window: One of the most recognizable arches in the park, the North Window is also known as the “Spectacles” when viewed together with the South Window. This massive arch frames the desert landscape beautifully, offering a window into the vastness of the surrounding terrain.
  2. South Window: Adjacent to the North Window, the South Window is slightly smaller but equally impressive. Together, these arches form a pair that creates a dramatic and picturesque scene, especially at sunrise or sunset when the light illuminates the sandstone.
  3. Turret Arch: Located near the Windows, Turret Arch is named for its distinctive tower-like formation. This arch is unique due to its shape and the additional smaller arch that can be seen through the main opening. Climbing up to Turret Arch provides a different perspective and a fantastic view of the surrounding area.

Double Arch: A Must-See Spot

In addition to the main Windows Loop Trail, a short spur trail leads to the Double Arch, one of the park’s most spectacular formations. This impressive site features two large arches that share a common end, creating a stunning and rare geological formation.

After explore this part of the park, we headed back into town to get some ice cream and a swim before finding dinner in town. You can also stop by the vistor center on your way out to learn more about the park.

2 days in Arches National Park
Arches National Park

Day 2: Landscape Arch

Get another early morning start and drive right into the parking lot for Landscape Arch and Devil’s Garden. This is a longer hike – almost 8 miles with an elevation grain of 1,350 feet but there are many ways to shorten it.

The hike starts with a flat and easy walk and you have the option for two arches on short side trails to the right. After about 0.8 miles on the main trail you will reach Landscape Arch. This is a very large and fragile looking arch. From here the trail continues in a loop and you can do the entire loop or a section as an out and back. There are MANY arches and several incredible viewpoints. The trail also has several steep drop off sections so if you are afraid of heights you may not want to do the entire loop.

Learn more about hiking to Landscape Arch and Devil’s Garden.

2 days in Arches National Park: The Landscape Arch Hike
2 days in Arches National Park: Landscape Arch

After a picnic lunch you can make the most of your last day by stopping at some of the most popular short walks and overlooks. Here are the stops I recommend:

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock is one of the most iconic and easily recognizable features in Arches National Park, showcasing a massive boulder precariously perched atop a narrow pedestal. This stunning formation, which stands at about 128 feet (39 meters) tall, offers a striking visual contrast against the desert sky, making it a favorite photo spot for visitors.

Balanced Rock

Garden of Eden

The Garden of Eden is a fun area within Arches National Park known for its collection of uniquely shaped sandstone formations and vibrant desert flora. This scenic spot provides visitors with an opportunity to explore and marvel at the intricate rock shapes that give the area its enchanting name.

Panorama Point for Scenic Views

Panorama Point offers breathtaking, panoramic views of the expansive landscapes of Arches National Park, including distant mountain ranges and vast desert vistas. This viewpoint is a perfect location for photography and sunset watching, providing a stunning overview of the park’s diverse and dramatic terrain.

Exploring Courthouse Towers

The Courthouse Towers area of Arches National Park is home to a collection of towering rock formations, including the imposing Courthouse Tower, Three Gossips, and Sheep Rock. This area is best explored via the scenic Park Avenue Trail, which offers a dramatic walk through a canyon flanked by these towering monoliths, providing an awe-inspiring experience reminiscent of a city skyline.

Courthouse Towers

Petrified Dunes

The Petrified Dunes in Arches National Park offer a surreal landscape of ancient, solidified sand dunes that have been turned to stone over millions of years. This unique area provides a fascinating glimpse into the park’s geological history, with undulating rock formations that create a mesmerizing pattern and a striking contrast to the surrounding desert terrain.

Things to Know about Visiting Arches National Park

Reservations and Fees

There is a fee to enter Arches National Park and most of the year you will need to reserve a time slot to enter the park. You can usually enter the park without a reservation before 7 am. Learn more about the fees and reservation on the official National Parks website.

Best Times of Year to Visit

The best times of year to visit Arches National Park are during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the temperatures are mild, and the crowds are smaller. These seasons offer comfortable weather for hiking and exploring, with daytime temperatures typically ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 27 degrees Celsius).

Weather Considerations and How to Prepare

Weather in Arches National Park can vary greatly, with hot summers exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) and cold winters often dropping below freezing. It’s important to check the weather forecast before your visit, dress in layers, and bring plenty of water, sun protection, and warm clothing for cooler evenings.

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