Arches National Park is one of the most naturally beautiful and unique places in the world. The park contains over 2,000 natural stone arches and iconic red rock. Every way you turn, you will be in awe at the landscape in this park. The hiking and majestic sunrises and sunsets are unbeatable here. We recommend spending at least 2-3 days at Arches National Park and combining this destination with visiting Canyonlands National Park (see Canyonlands National Park Quick Guide). Here is our quick guide on Arches National Park.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: From April 3rd-October 3rd 2022, the NPS is implementing a timed entry system. You must reserve a ticket to enter the park in advance (this would be in addition to your America the Beautiful Pass or Park Admission Ticket). Read more about the timed entry pilot here and book entrance tickets on recreation.gov.
FYI: This post is written based on a visit to Arches National Park in late September
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What to Do in Arches National Park
Hike Devil’s Garden
Variable lengths depending on how many arches you go to (7 possible). If you complete the trail as out & back or loop, 5.0 miles-7.8 Miles, approximately 500-1200 feet of elevation gain, out & back or loop.
We hiked the trail as an out & back and went to 6 of 7 arches. Doing this route, we ended up hiking 6.5 miles and about 1100 feet of elevation.
This trail was our favorite hike in Arches National Park because we saw a lot of variety in not only arches but also other rock formations. Of the arches we saw, our favorites were Double O Arch (the furthest out), followed closely by Landscape Arch (third). At times, we felt like we had landed on another planet. If you can only do one hike in Arches, do this one. As we typically recommend, start this hike early to avoid crowds.
Tip: The best views of Double O Arch are seen by going through the arch and up a small incline. By going through the arch you get a beautiful view with natural framing, as seen in our picture. Few people know to continue to this spot so we had it completely to ourselves during our visit.
Hike Delicate Arch (at Sunrise)
3.1 miles, 567 feet of elevation gain, out & back
Delicate Arch is the most iconic arch in Arches National Park. This is the Arch you see on most of the paraphernalia for Arches National Park. Despite previously seeing pictures of it, Delicate Arch is very impressive to see in-person.
We started our hike around 6:15 am before sunrise and wore headlamps on our hike up to see the sunrise at 7:10 am. The trail was a bit difficult to keep track of in the dark but just keep going up and look for the rock cairns to lead you. The sunrise at the arch was truly magical. Even with being there very early, there were still a decent amount of people at the arch. It only got busier as the day went on. This hike was a close second favorite.
Hike Double Arch, Windows Section Arches and Turret Arch
Double Arch: 0.5 miles, 32 feet of elevation gain, out & back
Windows Section and Turret Arch: 1 mile, 162 feet of elevation, loop
These two areas are probably the most well-known and accessible landmarks in Arches National Park. All three sections can be accessed from the same parking lot and are less than 2 miles of total hiking. With being the most accessible, these areas are also the most busy. Go here early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. If you want to get away from the crowds a little bit here, go on the primitive trail on the opposite (non-main) side of the windows as most people do not go this way. Of these arches, the Double Arch was our favorite.
Tip: If looking for a less busy/crowded hike in Moab, hike the Fisher Towers Trail
This trail is 4.7 miles out & back with 1,820 elevation gain. Ladders are located along this trail and aid you in your journey to the end of the trail. You may have this trail all to yourself on a weekday as it is much less well-known than trails in the National Parks. We would have not known about this trail if another couple we met hiking had not told us about it. Unfortunately, we did not have time to do this hike but if you have another day in Moab, consider checking it out.
Where to Stay while visiting Arches National Park
We recommend staying in Moab, the closest city to Arches National Park. If you set-up a home base here, you can also use it to explore Canyonlands National Park: The Island in the Sky District (see Canyonlands National Park Quick Guide) and Dead Horse Point State Park (see Epic 10 Day Utah National Parks/Southwest Road Trip) as well.
“Star’s Landing” Casita Airbnb in Moab
We stayed at a cute casita, “Star’s Landing”, that we would highly recommend. This place is off the main tourist drag, tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, making it the perfect place to unwind. It is still close enough to the city for any quick trips needed into town. Further, this casita has very nice finishes and a full kitchen/laundry. We were very happy with our decision to book this place.
Utah Road Trip Resources
We hope this quick guide helps you plan your trip to Arches National Park. Anything you would add to our guide? Please see Epic 10 Day Utah National Parks/Southwest Road Trip for more details on our trip. Please also visit the Arches National Park Website for more information on the park.
Anything you’d add to our guide? We would love to hear your feedback and questions. Please leave us a comment!
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