With over 2000 natural sand stone arches, beautiful colors, hoodoos, balancing rocks and more, Arches National Park is a must visit destination. In 2019 it was the 17th most visited National Park in the country. Arches has something for everyone and is definitely family friendly. Make sure to grab a park map at the entrance to see where each item on the map may be. Here are the Ten Best Things to do in Arches National Park
Top 10 Things To Do In Arches National Park
1. Arches Scenic Drive
My favorite thing to do in all national parks is take the scenic drive. I love going on all the pull offs and seeing the bigger picture from the car.
There is one road in arches that is 19 miles long that goes through the park. It only takes around 40 minutes to drive, if you go straight through with zero stops, but trust me, you want to stop. There are many pullouts and scenic overlooks on the road and they are all worth a quick stop. The National Park recommends 4 hours if you stop at every point for approximately 10 minutes.
2. Balanced Rock
You can see Balanced Rock from the road, but there is also a small area to park so you can get up close. The beginning of the path is paved and accessible and ends at a view point. Continue on the trail to get a closer look of this incredible site.
Distance: .3 miles round trip
Time: 20 minutes
3. The Windows and Turret Arch
This is a fairly easy climb (we saw a young girl with crutches that did it) where you get to see three arches! The first 100 yards of this trail are accessible as well. You can return to the parking lot the way you came, or take the more primitive trail (adds around .5 miles) around the windows. The start of this trail is marked, but it is not as well marked along the way.
Distance: 1 mile round trip
Time: 45 minutes
4. Double Arch
Just a short .5 mile walk round trip, Double Arch is actually the tallest arch in the park! To get here, you can stay parked in The Windows Parking Lot and you can see the giant arches from the road. The trail is clearly marked. This area of Arches is really incredible and packed full of things to see- The Parade of Elephants, Turret Arch, the Windows, Elephant Butte, Cove Arch, Ribbon Arch, and the Cove of Caves are all within half a mile of each other.
Distance: .5 miles round trip
Time: 20-30 minutes
5. Delicate Arch
Definitely the most popular Arch in the park, Delicate Arch is 100% a must see. People from all over the world to come here and see the site. The trail can get really congested and busy. You can either hike to see it up close, or there are two view points. The hike is considered a difficult trail.
The trail for the first little bit is clearly marked, but after that, you will need to follow the rock cairns with a few posts marking the trail in there. The trail climbs steadily and towards the end just before the arch, you will need to walk along a narrow rock ledge. We did see some kids on the hike, and we carried our baby in a carrier, but just keep a close eye on them.
Get here early: Arches recommends parking by 9 to get a spot before the lot fills. We visited in October though and showed up around 9:30 and got a spot easily. When we finished around 11:30 there was still a ton of parking.
Distance: 3 miles round trip
Time: 2.5 hours
Elevation Gain: 480 feet
If hiking that long is not your thing, you can still see Delicate Arch from two different view points. To get to the view points, go past the parking lot (Wolfe Ranch) for Delicate Arch and you will come to another parking lot. The trail is .6 miles and it is a bit of a climb to Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint.
Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint is a wheelchair accessible way to see the arch and it is fun to see it from a different vantage point.
6. Fiery Furnace
Fiery Furnace is named for the reddish glow it gets at sunset. You cannot hike down in this spot without a guide, but the view from the pullout is amazing. You can park your car and walk the short distance to the view point.
If you have time, it may be worth it to get a guide to explore- you can book a guide up to 6 months in advanced. The guide will take you through a two mile strenuous hike through the maze of canyons.
7. Devil’s Garden and Landscape Arch
Devil’s Garden is another area of arches to explore. This area has many arches, including Landscape Arch- the longest arch in the country. To hike Landscape Arch, park at Devil’s Garden trail head and follow the trail. You can also visit Tunnel and Pine Tree arches from the trail to Landscape Arch.
There is also camping in this area and you can stargaze, or backpack. You can hike the entire area or do shorter trails, whatever you choose, this area is special and often a favorite for visitors.
8. La Sal Mountain View Point
This is at the beginning of the park and offers a 360 degree view of the park. You can see the La Sal Mountains off in the distance as well as a view of Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, and the Organ in the Courthouse Towers area. You can also see Balanced Rock and The Windows on the horizon.
This area offers a higher viewpoint than Park Avenue and is definitely worth a stop.
9. Rock Art Panel
After you have hiked to Delicate Arch, before you start heading back to the parking lot, there is a trail to the right (if you are heading back facing the parking lot) where you can view Ute Indian Petroglyphs. This only add on additional 5 minutes and links right back to the trail before the Parking Lot.
10. Park Avenue Viewpoint and Trailhead
This is considered a more moderate hike at 2 miles round trip. The hike gives you spectacular views of Courthouse Towers If you have someone who doesn’t want to hike, they can drop you off at the trail head and pick you up at the end and save you some time and distance. Park Avenue is at the very beginning of Arches. The trail to the viewpoint is flat and paved, while the hike beyond is a steeper rocky trail.
Distance: 2 miles round trip- retrace your steps so you do not have to walk on the road
Length of Time: 40-60 minutes
Things To Know
Getting to Arches: Arches is in Southeastern Utah and a ten minute drive from Moab- the closest town.
Best Time To Go: We prefer going to national parks in the colder season because it usually means less people. Spring and Fall are ideal to avoid the crowds. If you must go during summer, be prepared for a lot of people, hot weather, and little parking. Bring lots of water with you into the park. You can view the official website for more information on when to visit
Entrance: $30 or you can use your America the Beautiful Pass ($80).
Please note: Cell service is limited, and there are no restaurants in the park.
Where To Stay
You can camp with a reservation in the park, or the town of Moab offers tons of accommodation. Airbnb, Hotel, camping etc… you name it, they probably have it. We opted for a hotel that we got really cheap on Priceline. There are lots of options in different budgets and you really can’t go wrong with what you pick. Moab has grocery stores and some really yummy restaurants.
Utah is full of some of the most beautiful nature on the planet. With 5 national parks, many state parks, and countless other things to do, it is definitely worth many many trips. Here our the ten best things to do in Arches National Park
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