Guide To Visiting Arches National Park In Utah

Visiting Arches National Park

Rugged Mars-like landscapes. Unique sandstone formations. Towering red rocks. These are just a few of the things that you can expect to see when visiting Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.

If you’re planning your first trip to Arches, you’re in for a treat! This region has some of the most otherworldly landscapes in the United States that will make your jaw drop the first time you see them!

In this guide, we share all you need to know for visiting Arches National Park so you can be well-prepared for your trip!

This travel itinerary covers the top things to do, natural wonders, and unique attractions that you should not miss. Plus, we share how to make park reservations, where to stay, and many other tips to make the best of your visit.

The stunning Delicate Arch at Arches National Park

Arches National Park Reservations & Entrance Fees

In recent years Arches National Park has received over 1.5 million visitors annually. To battle overcrowding and road congestion, Arches National Park has started to implement timed entrances.

From April 3rd to October 3rd Arches National Park visitors will need to reserve a timed entry ticket.

These tickets cost $2 and can be booked online for entry times between 6 am to 5 pm. Some of the tickets go on sale 3 months in advance and the remainder of tickets are released at 6 pm the night before.

If you can, try to reserve the tickets well ahead of time to ensure the best entry time. We planned our latest trip to Utah last minute so we got entrance tickets the night before for whatever times we could get. Keep in mind that if you plan to return the following day, you will need to get another timed pass for the next day as well.

Book Arches National Park Timed Entry Tickets here!

Along with a timed entry ticket, you will need to pay a fee to enter Arches National Park. A one-time Arches National Park vehicle fee is $30 and is good for 7 consecutive days. 

If you plan to visit several National Parks or return at a later date, I suggest getting America the Beautiful Pass which grants you unlimited entries into any US National Park for a year. This is the pass that I get every year and it pays itself off within a few trips.

Devil’s Garden Picnic Area

How Many Days Do You Need?

Arches National Park is home to 2000 documented arches and natural rock formations. With overlooks, hiking trails, and scenic picnic areas there is plenty to see & do at this incredible park!

Arches National Park spans over 76,000 acres of land (119 square miles). This is a lot of ground to cover so Arches is not a park that you want to breeze through.

I recommend setting aside 2-3 days to explore Arches National Park and everything it has to offer!

Unique rock formations along the Devil’s Garden Trail

If you’re short on vacation time and can only designate one day, some of the top things to do in Arches National Park include hiking to the free-standing Delicate Arch, marveling at the Double Arch, and taking a walk through the Devil’s Garden Trail.

Read More: 10 Of The Best Arches To Visit In Arches National Park, Utah

Most attractions at Arches National Park require a short hike to see them so you’ll want to set aside plenty of time for driving, parking, hiking, and taking photos (along with rest time in between).

If you plan to fly into Salt Lake City (SLC), be sure to add extra 4-5 hours of driving time to and from Arches National Park. SLC is the biggest airport in the region so most people fly in and out of here.

Salt Lake City is also where you can easily rent a car for a Utah road trip. For car rental pricing and reservations browse here!

Hiking through Mars-like landscapes

Best Time To Go

The best times to visit Utah are in Spring and Fall when the weather is at its best.

March through May is the perfect hiking weather in Moab when temperatures average around 60-80°F during the day.

September and October are also great months to visit Arches National Park as the weather starts cooling down after the summer and the crowds start thinning out.

April through October is the travel peak season for visiting Arches National Park. But in the summer temperatures also start picking up and often reach the high 90s or even 100°F which can be dangerous for hiking.

We visited Arches National Park in early May and the weather was just perfect!

If you do plan to visit Arches National Park between June to August, try to go hiking early in the morning or later in the afternoon. In the summer go prepared with plenty of water, sunscreen, hiking hat, and have an exit plan in mind if you start feeling sick from the heat.

In the winter months, the temperatures in Moab start dropping to 45-55 °F during the day which is quite chilly. While you might experience the park without the crowds, be sure to pack proper winter hiking gear to keep you warm and cozy.

Places To Stay Near Arches National Park

Booking a hotel in Moab is one of the best ways to explore the area and have a comfortable place to relax after visiting Arches National Park. From luxury experiences to contemporary and modern lodging, there is an incredible place to stay in Moab for everyone!

Here are some of the top-rated hotels near Arches National Park:

Springhill Suites By Marriot Moab

Pool area at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott hotel in Moab
Photo by Springhill Suites

Located just 5 minutes from Arches National Park entrance, Springhill Suites by Marriot offers an amazing vacation experience for those visiting Central Utah.

When the temperatures start picking up in the summer, enjoy a refreshing swim at the lovely outdoor pool. In their comfy and spotlessly clean rooms, you’ll find a flat-screen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a coffee maker. A breakfast buffet is an added bonus!

Make Springhill Suites by Marriot reservations here!

Radcliffe Moab

Photo by Radcliffe Moab

When you’re not off exploring the striking Arches National Park, there’s plenty to enjoy about staying at the Radcliffe Moab Hotel. Noteworthy features include a bar, lounge, and a restaurant, offering a la carte breakfast and plenty of to-go food options.

This unique boutique hotel was created with sustainability and functionality in mind. Each room features chic décor and some rooms also have a balcony or garden views.

Make Radcliffe Moab reservations here!

Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton

Photo by Hoodoo Moab

The sleek & sophisticated décor wows at the Hoodoo Moab, a 4-star hotel nestled in between towering red rock formations in Utah. The room offerings at the Hoodoo Moab are equally impressive with balconies overlooking the central area and a swimming pool.

The on-site rustic-style restaurant and a full-service spa make this a preferred choice for those who are looking for a luxurious and comfortable experience. The stunning mountain views are a plus!

Make Hoodoo Moab Reservations here!

Hyatt Place Moab

This modern hotel is filled with stylish décor and makes for a comfortable place to call a ‘home away from home’ while exploring Eastern Utah. The Hyatt Place Moab property is located right off Highway 191 with easy access to the main roads and Arches National Park.

The Hyatt Place Moab Hotel features standard rooms along with standalone suites called Casitas that are perfect for those who appreciate privacy and ample space. After exploring the parks all day, be sure to jump in for a refreshing swim at the beautiful outdoor pool.

Make Hyatt Place Moab Reservations here!

Read More: 12 Top Rated Places To Stay Near Arches National Park In Utah

Scenic picnic area at Arches National Park

Arches National Park Camping

If you plan on camping, there is one campground within Arches National Park called Devils Garden Campground. This campground has 51 sites including two larger group sites.

Devils Garden Campground is located at the end of the park, about 18 miles from the entrance gates. It takes about an hour to get there from Moab along windy mountain roads.

If you plan to stay at Devils Garden Campground, I recommend stocking up on everything you may need in Moab before you enter Arches National Park.

Devils Garden Campground at Arches National Park

During the peak travel season between March to October, this campground is typically booked up. If you wish to stay here, it’s best to try and make reservations well in advance. In the winter months between November to February, the campsites work on a first-come-first-serve basis so you don’t need reservations.

Here are a couple of things to note about the Devils Garden Campground:

  • The standard and RV sites cost $25/night while the group sites can cost up to $250/night.
  • Most sites come with a picnic table, a flat spot to park your car, and a fire pit.
  • The campground does allow dogs but pets have to stay within established campgrounds, roads, and picnic areas.
  • There are toilets but no showers at this campground.
  • There are no dump stations, electric, water, or sewer hook-ups.

Read more here for useful tips for camping in National Parks!

If all the campsites are booked up, you can try to book a private campground in Moab near the park. Private campgrounds often have more availability than the National Park ones.

For something a bit fancier, Under Canvas Moab offers an excellent place to stay for an upscale desert glamping experience. Under Canvas Moab offers spacious safari-style tents that come with a private bathroom, patio, and wood-burning stove.

Photo by Under Canvas Moab

You will be provided with luxurious bedding and fresh towels for the duration of your stay. This is a superb site that appeals to couples looking for a romantic vacation, or smaller families with kids.

Check out Under Canvas Moab here!

Things To Do When Visiting Arches National Park

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics, here are some of the top things to see & do at Arches National Park in Utah!

1. Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch is the most popular attraction within Arches National Park and a great stop to kick off your Arches visit!

Delicate Arch consists of a towering, freestanding arch that has been sculpted by rain and wind for millions of years. This iconic arch can be reached via a moderate 3 miles long out-and-back trail.

Climbing up exposed rock surfaces along the Delicate Arch Trail

To get there you can park at the Delicate Arch Trailhead, hike past the historic Wolfe Ranch, and climb 550 feet up slickrock until you reach the arch.

To give you a fair warning, this trail does pass narrow sections with steep drop-offs below. I was pretty nervous the first time I hiked this trail, but coming back the second time I had no issues with the heights.

Once you reach the Delicate Arch, you can walk on the edge of the sloped bowl-like surface to stand under it and take a few photos.  

This is a very popular trail so you can expect to encounter some crowds. There is some space around the arch to wait for your turn and enjoy the views.

Trail Summary:

2. Double Arch

The Double Arch is one of the best arches to visit at the park. This recognizable landmark consists of two giant arches that connect at the top. At any given time Double Arch is guaranteed to have crowds so it’s best to see it early in the morning before it gets too packed.

The Double Arch formed from water seeping through the cliff face. Eventually, the rock at the top broke off to look like the Double Arch that we can see today.

The largest of the two openings is 144 feet long and 112 feet high making it the highest (and third-largest) arch within Arches National Park.

Trail Summary:

3. Windows Trail

View of North Window and South Window

The North Window, South Window, and Turret Arch are some of the park’s largest arches that are located close to each other. These are massive arches that have giant openings at the center of them.

The short and popular Windows Trail takes you up close to these three arches. Visitors can also scramble around the arch base for different vantage points.

North Window Arch

The Windows Trail is a great family-friendly hike where you can visit many of Arches National Park’s major features! As an alternative, you can take the more challenging Primitive Trail back to the parking lot.

Trail Summary:

  • Length: 1-mile-long loop
  • Elevation: 100 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Location: Windows Trailhead

4. Sand Dune Arch

The Sand Dune Arch is a must-see attraction within Arches National Park. This arch is tucked away behind towering red rock formations called ‘sandstone fins‘ and can be reached via a short, sandy trail.

This is a scenic area that is especially fun for kids to explore. The surrounding rock walls offer plenty of shade so the Sand Dune Trail can be done any time of the day.

Trail Summary:

5. Broken Arch

The Broken Arch is located close to the Sand Dune Arch so you can combine them both on the same visit. If you’re staying at the Devils Garden Campground, you can also hike to the Broken Arch from the Campground Road coming from the north.

The trail to Broken Arch provides visitors with a unique hiking experience that leads through red and orange Mars-like landscapes. Broken Arch is also one of the least visited arches within the park so it’s a great arch to see if you want to escape the crowds.

Unlike what the name suggests, Broken Arch is still intact but it does have a crack at the center of it.

Trail Summary:

  • Length: 1.4 miles out and back
  • Elevation: 60 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Location: Broken Arch Trailhead

6. Devil’s Garden Trail

Devil’s Garden Trail is a scenic hiking area in the Northern part of Arches National Park. Here you can visit some of the top park arches including the Pine Tree Arch, Tunnel Arch, Landscape Arch, and Double O Arch.

My favorite was the Pine Tree Arch which earns its name from the pine trees that grow around its base. The Pine Tree Arch has an interesting shape, especially when looking at it from the side. This arch is narrow at its base and gets wider towards the top.

Tunnel Arch at Arches National Park
Tunnel Arch

Tunnel Arch is located high up on a rock wall and can only be observed from afar. This arch looks like a round, perfectly shaped opening at the center of the sandstone slab.

The Landscape Arch is one of the longest natural stone arches in the world spanning 306 feet from base to base. From the Landscape Arch, you can also keep going on a more difficult trail to see the Double O Arch as well.

Trail Summary:

  • Length: At 7.9 miles Devil’s Garden Trail is the longest hike within Arches National Park. You can also opt to do shorter sections at a time.
  • Elevation: 1000 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Hard 
  • Location: Devil’s Garden Trailhead

7. Drive The Arches National Park Road

If you’re short on time (or just not up for hiking) you can still enjoy the stunning Arches National Park scenery out of your car’s window.

Arches National Park Road is a paved highway that travels through the windy mountains for 18 miles before it ends at the Devil’s Garden Trailhead. This highway passes many attractions within the park including several popular viewpoints:

  • La Sal Mountains
  • Courthouse Towers
  • Petrified Dunes
  • Balanced Rock

Before heading out to Arches National Park, we recommend getting this self-guided auto tour to learn more about the main park attractions as you drive!

8. Skyline Arch

The Skyline Arch is another arch that is perched high up on a sandstone wall. Visitors can view this arch from afar or go on a short walk up to its base for a closer look.

While most arches form slowly over millions of years, the Skyline Arch took shape after a large boulder fell out of the cliff face in 1940. The arch is now around 71 feet wide and 33 feet tall.

Trail Summary:

9. Arches National Park 4×4 Adventure Tour

Photo by Navtec Expeditions

For a more exciting way to explore Arches National Park consider signing up for a 4×4 tour that will take you to isolated areas within the park.  

With this tour, you’ll get to experience parts of Arches National Park backcountry that are typically not accessible to visitors. With knowledgeable guides, you’ll have an unforgettable experience driving to remote places within the park. You will even get to see fossilized dinosaur footprints!

Book the Arches National Park 4×4 Adventure Tour here!

10. Star Gazing

Photo by Pixabay

Arches National Park has one of the darkest night skies in the world earning it recognition as an International Dark Sky Park. With very little light pollution, Arches NP makes a great place for star gazing and night photography.

During a cloudless night, you can see clear views of the Milky Way. If you’re interested in night photography, this tour will guide you to the best photography spots within Arches National Park to bring home stunning photos from your visit.   

Book the Sunset and Night Photography tour in Arches National Park!

Essential Arches National Park Visitor Tips

Here are a few tips for a safe trip to Arches National Park:

  • There is very little to no cell service once you enter the park. Be sure to look up the main attractions and download an offline hiking map like AllTrails or Maps.Me ahead of time.
  • There is no water or food at Arches National Park. Come prepared with plenty of water, food & snacks for the day.
  • There are no gas stations within the park boundaries. I recommend filling up on gas before leaving Moab.
  • Avoid hiking during the hottest parts of the day, especially in the summer. If you feel faint, dizzy, and tired from hiking in the heat, please exit the trail and head to a cooler location.

Here are a few rules and advisories to keep in mind for your visit:

  • Dogs are not allowed on any of the trails and are limited to staying on paved roads and campgrounds.
  • Droning is not allowed in National Parks. Flying a drone in National Parks can lead to a hefty fine. It’s best to leave it at home.
  • It is illegal to climb on top of the arches or any prominent rock features at this park.
  • Vandalizing, graffiti, or removing anything from National Parks is prohibited.  
  • Please follow the Leave No Trace principles’ when visiting the outdoors and leave places better than you found them.

We hope this guide has helped you prepare for a wonderful visit to Arches National Park! Looking for more Utah travel inspiration? Be sure to check out some of our other popular Utah travel posts below:

Some of the links used in this blog may be affiliate links. At no extra cost to you, I earn a small commission when you book through these links for which I am very thankful!

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