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Guide to Visiting Arches National Park

Arches National Park in Utah is a stunning park with sweeping views of the surrounding rocks and many arches carved from the orange rocks. There are a staggering 2,000 natural stone arches, towering pinnacles, and giant balanced rocks, spanning over 76,000 acres.

Some of the highlights include iconic landmarks such as Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, and the Windows Section, each offering unique and awe-inspiring vistas. Whether exploring the well-trodden trails or venturing into the more secluded areas, Arches National Park promises an unforgettable experience filled with natural beauty and wonder.

There is one entrance to Arches National Park and you can drive the main roads around the park in just over an hour. The roads are well paved and easy to navigate.

Exploring Arches National Park
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Highlights of Arches National Park

Most of the highlights of Arches National Park are just that – arches. Below you can see a list of the things to explore in the park.

  • Delicate Arch: The most iconic arch in the park, offering stunning views, especially at sunset.
  • Windows Section (North Window, South Window, Turret Arch): A family-friendly area with easy hikes and great spots for sunrise and sunset photography.
  • Double Arch: A massive twin arch formation, perfect for photography and a short, easy hike.
  • Balanced Rock: A large, precariously balanced rock formation that is easily accessible and photogenic, especially at sunset.
  • Park Avenue: A dramatic canyon with towering rock formations, featuring a short, scenic trail that is beautiful at sunset.
  • Devil’s Garden Trail (Landscape Arch, Double O Arch): A trail featuring the longest arch in North America and a variety of other arches and rock formations.
  • Fiery Furnace: A maze-like area of narrow canyons and tall fins, offering ranger-guided tours or self-guided exploration with a permit.
  • Sand Dune Arch: A hidden arch among tall sandstone fins, with a short, easy hike suitable for families.
  • Broken Arch: Accessible via a relatively easy hike and can be combined with Sand Dune Arch for a loop hike.
  • Skyline Arch: Easily visible from the road with a short hike to get closer, striking at sunrise and sunset.
  • Courthouse Towers: Impressive rock formations popular for photography, with short hikes and viewpoints.
  • Petrified Dunes: Rolling, wave-like rock formations that offer a unique perspective on the park’s geology, great for exploring and photography.

Travel Guides to Arches National Park

Things to Know About Visiting Arches National Park

Best Time of Year to Visit Arches

The best time to visit Arches National Park is during the spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) seasons. During these months, the weather is typically mild and comfortable, with daytime temperatures ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (15-30°C). Spring and fall also bring fewer crowds compared to the peak summer season, allowing for a more peaceful and enjoyable experience.

We visited Arches most recently in April and

How to Get to Arches

Reaching Arches National Park is relatively straightforward, with the nearest major town being Moab, Utah, just five miles south of the park entrance. For those flying in, the closest major airport is Salt Lake City International Airport, approximately 230 miles away, or a four-hour drive. We’ve also flown to Denver and driven the 5 hours from there.

Alternatively, the smaller Canyonlands Field Airport, about 18 miles north of Moab, offers limited regional flights. From Moab, visitors can take U.S. Highway 191 directly to the park entrance. The scenic drive through the park is well-marked, with paved roads leading to major trailheads and viewpoints, making it accessible for both cars and RVs.

How Much Time do you Need in Arches

In general 1-2 days is enough time to explore Arches National Park. With one day you can hike to Delicate Arch and explore the Windows Area. With 2 days you can add a longer hike to Landscape Arch and Devil’s Garden and take your time at some of the scenic overlooks.

Sinec Arches and Canyonlands are almost adjacent, it’s worth planning to visit both parks on your visit to Moab. You could eaily explore the closest part of Canyonlands in 1/2 to 1 full day.

The Windows area of Arches National Park

Need to Know about Arches

We’ve been to Arches several times and have found the park easy to explore and relatively compact compared to other parks. It is also a very popular park to visit and there are few important things to know before you go.

Timed-Entry System: there is a timed entry system for Arches National Park. In order to enter the park between 7 am and 4 pm you will need to reserve a time slot in advance. You can check up to date information on the National Parks page. That said – the best time to enter the park is usually early in the morning before the heat and the crowds. Due to the timed entry system, many people enter early and parking lots tend to fill up quickly.

It can Get Hot: This is the desert and it can certainly get hot! Make sure you pack plenty of water, check the forecast and hike in the early morning if it will be hot.

Permits and Fees: There is an entrance fee for the park. Some areas, like the Fiery Furnace, require additional permits or guided tours. America the Beautiful passes are accepted.

Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles to protect the park’s fragile ecosystem. Stay on designated trails, pack out all trash, and avoid disturbing wildlife.

Lodging near Arches National Park

Moab is just a few minutes away from the entrance to Arches and there are many hotels right in town. I’ve heard great things about the Moab Resort or you can search for hotels through booking.com.

There are also several campground inside and near the park. Both campgrounds and hotels should be booked well in advance. The Devil’s Garden Campground in the park can be booking through recreation.gov.

Looking for more guides on Visiting US National Parks? Make sure to check out:

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