Arches National Park Quick Guide


Sunrise, Arches National Park

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.  

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


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.  

Double O Arch, Devil’s Garden Trail, Arches National Park

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. 

Landscape Arch, Devil’s Garden Trail, Arches National Park

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.  

Hiking Views on Devil’s Trail, Arches National Park

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, Arches National Park

Delicate Arch is the most iconic arch in Arches National Park. Delicate Arch is the one 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. 

Sunrise looking East from Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

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 

Turret Arch (left) and Double Arch (right), Arches National Park

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.  


Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


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.  

Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb

“Star’s Landing” Airbnb


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! 

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Canyonlands National Park Quick Guide


Canyonlands National Park

The Island in the Sky District in Canyonlands National Park is well-known for it’s deep canyon views as well as its trails with arches, domes and river views.  This National Park reminded us of the Grand Canyon (see Grand Canyon National Park Quick Guide) but smaller and with less vibrant colored rock.  We recommend spending a day or two in the Island in the Sky District.  Here is our quick guide on Canyonlands National Park.

Canyonlands National Park

Note: Canyonlands National Park is split up into four districts–Island in the Sky, The Needles, The Maze and The Rivers. Our quick guide only covers the Island in the Sky District, which is the closest to Moab, Utah, as all four sections are actually quite far (hours driving) apart.  

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to Do in Canyonlands National Park


Hike Mesa Arch

0.8 miles round-trip, 85 feet of elevation gain, loop

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

This trail affords you iconic views of the canyons in the Island in the Sky District looking through the Mesa Arch.  You can get the best pictures of the Mesa Arch at Sunrise or Sunset.  Try to hike this trail early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the busiest times on this popular trail.  This trail is not only popular because of its iconic views but also because it is one of the shortest hikes in the park, very close to the park entrance and does not require much skill level.  


Hike Aztec Butte Trail

2.0 miles round-trip, 262 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Aztec Butte Trail, Canyonlands National Park

This trail gives you great canyon views.  The first ¾ of a mile of hiking is on a very flat and well marked path through sand, followed by approximately a ¼  mile of scrambling up the side of a slickrock.  Make sure to follow the rock cairns to stay on the path. You can also see several granaries (ancient puebloan structures) once on-top of the butte.  


Hike Upheaval Domes Trail

1.5 miles round-trip, 300 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Upheaval Domes Trail, Canyonlands National Park

This trail has two viewpoints and we definitely recommend going to the second one for the best views (and it is less than a ½ mile further).  Here you can see a salt dome in the canyon that looks different than anywhere else in the park.  It is unclear how these salt domes came to be (many theories exist) but this adds to the mystique of this unique feature.  


Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Visit Grand Viewpoint 

Grand Viewpoint, Canyonlands National Park

This viewpoint has a mile worth of paths around the area but we would not call it a hike.  Rather, it is a stroll around the viewpoint.  We encourage you to walk the whole path as you get much different views on different parts of the path.  


Visit Green River Viewpoint

Green River Viewpoint, Canyonlands National Park

The Green River Viewpoint gives you deep and vast, less colorful, canyon views.  When we visited, it was exceedingly windy and we felt like we might be blown over into the canyon.  

Tip: There are several other viewpoints you can stop at in the park (we did stop at them), but we are only recommending the Grand and Green River Viewpoints as they are, in our opinion, the best views. 


Where to Stay while visiting Canyonlands National Park


We recommend staying in Moab, the closest city to Canyonlands National Park.  If you set-up a home base here, you can also use it to explore Arches National Park (see Arches National Park Quick Guide) and Dead Horse Point State Park (please see Epic 10 Day Utah National Parks/Southwest Road Trip for more information).

“Star’s Landing” Casita Airbnb

We stayed at a cute casita, “Star’s Landing”, that we 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. 

Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb

“Star’s Landing” Airbnb


We hope this quick guide helps you plan your trip to Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky District.   Please see Epic 10 Day Utah National Parks/Southwest Road Trip for more details on our trip.  Please also refer to the Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky District website for more information on this park. 

Anything you would add to our guide? We would love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!