Nestled amongst the rugged beauty of Utah’s red rock landscape, Arches National Park is one of the United States most iconic parks. Home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, delicate rock formations, and sweeping panoramic views, the park offers a captivating experience in the American Southwest.
Where is Arches National Park
Arches National Park is located near Moab in southeastern Utah, USA. The closest major airport to reach the National Park is Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) in Colorado, approximately 120 miles northeast. Visitors may also choose to fly into Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) or Denver International Airport (DEN). Salt Lake City is located about 230 miles northwest whereas Denver is located approximately 350 miles away.
The closest airport to Arches National Park is Canyonlands Field (CNY) located in Moab, however there are limited flights which come at a higher cost. Your best option is to fly into one of the larger hubs, rent a car or camper van and drive to Moab.
Best Hikes in Arches National Park
Discover the best hikes in Arches National Park in this detailed blog post! From iconic trails like Delicate Arch to hidden gems like Devil’s Garden, you’ll find all the information you need to embark on an unforgettable adventure. Don’t miss out on exploring these breathtaking landscapes, natural wonders and awe-inspiring arches!
Give yourself at least 2-3 days to explore the best hikes in Arches National Park and make sure to come prepared with plenty of water, snacks and sunscreen.
Delicate Arch Trail
- Distance: 3 miles round trip
- Time: 2-3 hours
- Elevation gain: 480 feet
Delicate Arch is the most iconic arch in the National Park and is also the symbol of Utah. Displayed on the state’s license plate, the Delicate Arch is an absolute must-see. Along the moderately difficult trail, hikers will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding red rock landscape and an up-close encounter with one of the most famous arches in the world.
The best time to visit the arch is sunrise, when the soft morning light creates a warm glow on the arch without the harsh shadows. The early hours also provide a quieter atmosphere with less crowds, allowing you to truly enjoy the peacefulness of this iconic rock formation. However, hiking this trail in the dark isn’t the easiest. You’ll want to use a headlamp and carefully follow the cairn trail markers.
Devil’s Garden Loop
- Distance: 7.2 miles round trip
- Time: 4-5 hours
- Elevation gain: 521 feet
The Devil’s Garden trail is one of the longest and most popular hikes in Arches National Park. This trail offers a premier hiking experience for all skill levels, leading to an array of natural wonders and multiple arches. Highlights include iconic formations like Tunnel Arch and Landscape Arch, which is the longest natural arch in North America. Seasoned hikers have the option to explore off-the-beaten path trails that lead to less visited arches and breathtaking vistas. The diverse scenery, from towering fins to delicate arches, makes it one of the best hikes in Arches National Park.
- Distance: 2 miles (guided tour required)
- Time: 3 hours
- Elevation gain: varies
The Fiery Furnace is an adventurous trek through a maze of narrow canyons and towering sandstone walls. While the trail is only 2 miles in distance, it is considered one of the hardest hikes in Arches National Park. This is because of the lack of trail markers amongst the labyrinth of sandstone arches, fins and canyons. Due to the delicate nature of the area, access is allowed only through a permit or ranger-led tours, providing a unique, safe and educational experience.
Double Arch Trail
- Distance: 0.5 miles
- Time: 30 minutes
- Elevation gain: 30 feet
The Double Arch Trail is a relatively short, yet rewarding trail that winds its way through a landscape of towering sandstone formations. The trail ultimately leads visitors to the magnificent Double Arch, one of the park’s most impressive natural wonders. Along the trail you’ll pass by the Parade of Elephants formation and a short distance later you’ll reach the main attraction. The mesmerizing pair of connected arches spans over 200 feet and is one of the largest formations making it one of the best hikes in Arches National Park.
Windows Loop & Turret Arch Trail
- Distance: 1 mile round trip
- Time: 1 hour
- Elevation gain: 174 feet
The Windows Loop trail is relatively easy hike with a trailhead nearby the entrance of Arches National Park. This 1.2 mile trail offers views of several impressive arches, including North and South Windows and Turret Arch. Dubbed the Windows section of Arches National Park, this area is full of unique arches and is one of the most beautiful areas in the park.
Balanced Rock Trail
- Distance: 0.3 miles
- Time: 15-20 minutes
- Elevation gain: 34 feet
The Balanced Rock Trail is a short loop covering approximately 0.3 miles, making it easily accessible for visitors of all ages and fitness levels. Along the path you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the red rock landscape. The real highlight of the trail is the Balanced Rock itself. This natural wonder stands as a testimate to the constantly changing geological processes that shape Arches National Park. Unlike many of the other highlights in the park, Balanced Rock can be seen from the main road.
Park Avenue Trail
- Distance: 2 miles round trip
- Time: 1-2 hours
- Elevation Gain: 320 feet
Located near the entrance of Arches National Park, the Park Avenue Trail is a breathtaking hike through a wide canyon. Along your hike you’ll be surrounded by towering red rock formations that looks like a city skyline. The majority of the trailhead is flat until you reach the viewpoint. From there, the trail descends deeper into the canyon. Continue one more mile to reach the monolithic sandstone structures of the Courthouse Towers.
Broken Arch Trail
- Distance: 1.7 mile loop
- Time: 1 hour
- Elevation Gain: 206 feet
The scenic Broken Arch Trail is an easy-moderate level hike that leads you through a picturesque desert landscape, showcasing red rock formations and unique geological features. The trail leads to Broken Arch, a mesmerizing natural arch with a distinctive crack, giving it its name. There are two ways to reach Broken Arch: from the Broken Arch Trailhead or the Sand Dune Arch Trailhead. If you are planning to hike the Sand Dune Arch Trail then I’d combine the two and do the complete loop from there!
Sand Dune Arch Trail
- Distance: 0.3 miles
- Time: 15-30 min
- Elevation Gain: 40 feet
The Sand Dune Arch Trail is short and easy making it a relatively quick but worthwhile stop. This easy stroll takes you through a landscape of towering red rock fins where you’ll eventually reach the secluded Sand Dune Arch. The trail is a sandy path and the arch itself is nestled among these unique rock formations. With minimal elevation gain, this hike is accessible to visitors of varying fitness levels and is an excellent choice if you’re seeking a quick and rewarding nature walk. The Sand Dune Arch Trail is one of the easiest hikes in Arches National Park.
Map of the best hikes in Arches National Park
Below is a clickable map with all the best hikes in Arches National Park! Save these hikes and locations to reference during your trip.
Do you need a reservation to visit Arches?
Visiting Arches National Park is very popular, and it’s advisable to plan ahead. While reservations aren’t currently required to enter the park or access its trails, it’s highly recommended. Even more so during peak season when the best hikes in Arches National Park are guaranteed to be more crowded. Some specific attractions within the park, like Fiery Furnace, does require guided tour reservations and they do sell out quickly.
Also, a National Parks Pass is required for entry. You can purchase either a day pass or the annual $80 America the Beautiful parks pass. I highly recommend the National Parks annual pass which grants entry to all other national parks across the United States. So if you plan to visit multiple national parks it’ll prove to be a valuable investment.
Best time to visit Arches National Park
The best time to visit Moab and explore Arches National Park is during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, from March until May, and fall, from September through early November, the weather is generally mild and pleasant. This climate makes it ideal for hiking and outdoor activities. During these months the daytime temperature typically hovers around 60°F – 80°F, providing comfortable conditions for exploring the park.
During spring the wildflowers are in bloom, adding vibrant colors to the landscape. Whereas in the fall the temperatures are still warm but the foliage begins to change, creating a unique and picturesque setting.
I explored Moab and Arches National Park in the summer with hot daytime temperatures and cooler weather in the evenings. In the summer, from June to August, temperatures can often exceed 100°F in the peak of the day which is not ideal for outdoor activities. If you visit during summer, stay hydrated and be prepared to spend the middle of the day indoors.
Winter, from November to February, can bring colder temperatures and occasional snowfall, which might limit access to certain trails. Therefore, to make the most of your visit and outdoor activities, I recommend planning your trip to Moab and Arches National Park during the mild and temperate seasons of spring and fall.
Where to stay near Arches National Park
When considering where to stay near Arches National Park, you’ll have plenty of comfortable and affordable options to choose from. For those seeking close proximity to the park’s entrance, Moab, Utah, is the perfect hub with a range of accommodations. Whether you opt for cozy bed and breakfasts, boutique inns, or well-equipped hotels, Moab provides convenient access to the best hikes in Arches National Park while offering a lively atmosphere with dining and shopping options.
Additionally, if you crave a more one-with-nature experience, there are campgrounds both within the park and in its vicinity, allowing you to wake up amidst the red rock landscape. From rustic charm to modern comforts, the varied lodgings near Arches National Park cater to all preferences, ensuring an ideal stay within the awe-inspiring beauty of Utah’s iconic red rock landscapes.
Arches National Park camping
Arches National Park offers one developed campground within the park called the Devils Garden Campground. This campground is situated amidst stunning red rock formations and offers both tent and RV sites. Reservations for camping at Devils Garden Campground can be made online through the National Park Service website.
Additionally, there are several campgrounds located outside of the park that offer camping options for visitors. These include:
- Moab Valley RV Resort & Campground
- Slickrock Campground
- Archview RV Resort & Campground
- Canyonlands RV Resort & Campground
These campgrounds are located in Moab, Utah, which is the nearest town to Arches National Park, and they provide various amenities and accommodation options for visitors exploring the park and the surrounding area.
Are dogs allowed in Arches National Park
Yes and no. While pets are welcome at Arches National Park, they are restricted from certain areas. The reason for this is to ensure the safety of both wildlife and visitors. Dogs are allowed in parking areas, along paved park roads, and in the campgrounds. However, they are not permitted on any hiking trails, off-road areas, or in the backcountry.
This limitation is set in place to protect the fragile desert ecosystem and minimize disturbances to wildlife. Please make sure that you adhere to the rules when visiting Arches National Park and keep your dog on a leash in the permitted areas. Also, due to the desert climate and sometimes extreme heat, make sure you are prepared with sufficient water for your pet.