Arches National Park Hikes & Travel Guide

Arches National Park is 4 miles outside the small town of Moab, Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches and offers a variety of things to see, do and photograph! In this post we’ll share when is the best time to visit, where to stay, and points of interest including the best arches national park hikes to get you out and exploring the park. And with walks, hikes and drives ranging from 30 mins to a few hours, they’ll be something to suit everybody!

Arches National Park Hikes & Travel Guide

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Arches National Park Hikes & Points of Interest

A Guest Post by Jamie Joyner of Photo Jeepers

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Arches Scenic Drive

Arches National Park HikesThe main scenic drive is a total of 43 miles and includes all spurs. Plan 2 to 3 hours to complete the drive. Add more time if you want to do any long hikes or serious photography. Most arches and landmarks can be seen from the parking lots and pullouts or a short walk.

The most ideal times for Arches National Park photography and hiking are early or late in the day. The rock formations are more vibrant, there are fewer people, and you avoid the hottest part of the day.

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Balanced Rock

Arches National Park HikesA short, easy loop hike of 0.3 mile round trip takes you up to, and around, Balanced Rock.

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Delicate Arch

Arches NP HikesDelicate Arch is always a must-see for most visitors since it is one of the most famous features in the world. This is one of the few landmarks you cannot see from the main road. There are a few ways to see this arch. The Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint is a 100-yard level path to where you can see the arch one mile away. The Upper Viewpoint requires walking one half mile and climbing some rock stairs.

The trail to see the arch up close is 3 miles roundtrip and climbs 480 feet in elevation. Before hiking this trail, consider the difficulty, the weather and your own fitness level.

Since Delicate Arch is a popular destination for tourists and photographers, be prepared for hundreds of people and photographers lined up for photos under the arch, or along the bowl waiting to capture photos at sunset.

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Fiery Furnace

Arches National Park WalkExplore the narrow canyons and maze-like fins in the Fiery Furnace with a 3-hour, ranger-led hike. Advance reservations are necessary. The tour requires climbing over boulders, walking through sand, and navigating trails between rocks and along narrow ledges. If that sounds too adventurous, take the short walk to the viewpoint to see the fins and spires.

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Landscape Arch

Arches National Park HikesA short 2 mile round trip walk along the Devil’s Garden Trail takes you to Landscape Arch. It is longer than a football field. The thinnest part of the arch is 8 feet thick. Pieces of rock have been falling from the underside which means it may just be a matter of time before this enormous arch collapses.

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Devil’s Garden Trail

Arches National Park HikesThe Devil’s Garden Trail is 7.2 miles round trip and travels through the largest concentration of significant arches in the world. Most tourists will walk the first 1 mile and take the short spur trails to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch before coming to Landscape Arch. After this point the trail includes climbing up narrow slickrock fins with steep drop-offs to see Navajo Arch, Partition Arch and Double O Arch.

Arches National Park Ranger Led Hike

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The Windows Area

Arches National Park HikeThe Windows area is easily accessible and very popular due to the easy trails around each landmark: The North and South Window, Turret Arch and Double Arch. Arrive early if you want photos of the arches without people.

Arches NP Walk

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Sand Dune Arch

Arches National Park HikesThe easy hike between large fins takes you to Sand Dune Arch. At certain times of the day, this is one place in the park that provides shade and cool sand. There are many areas to explore, play and hide, but remember climbing on top of arches is against park policy.

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Stargazing

Arches National Park HikesArches National Park is considered a Dark Sky Park. Be sure to stay in the park after dark and see a sky brimming with stars!

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When To Visit Arches National Park

Winter is the best season to go since visitors flood the park from spring through fall. If you must visit Arches during the summer, please practice patience and courtesy as lines into the park will be long and parking lots and trails will be crowded with people.

Arches is an arid high desert landscape where the nights are cool and the days are warm to hot. The area features extreme elevation and temperature changes, sometimes over 40 degrees in a single day. The summer temperatures can average 105 degrees!

Be prepared for the desert and elevation by staying hydrated, wearing layers and protecting yourself from the sun with hats or sunscreen.

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Where To Stay for Arches National Park

Although Arches National Park has no restaurants or lodges within the grounds, there is a 50 Site Campground at Devil’s Garden which is available on a first come first served basis between November and February, and sites can be booked March through October. There are also two group camp sites that can accommodate between 11-55 people.

*NOTE: Devils Campground is closed through to 30 November 2017*

If you’re looking for campgrounds in the surrounding area – DiscoverMoab have a great list, however they note that all campsites DO NOT accept reservations. If you want to guarantee yourself a site – get there early!

If you’re not much of camper, there are also lots of hotels and cabins in the Moab area – here are our top picks for each of our standard price brackets:

Red Cliffs Lodge (Luxury Stay +$200 per night)

4* Accommodation in Moab - each cabin is air conditioned and offers a mini fridge and tea and coffee making facilities.
Want to know more? Click to Read Trip Advisor Reviews

Homewood Suites by Hilton (Mid-Range Stay $100-$200 per night)

Located in the center of town and within walking distance of restaurants and shops, the rooms here are practically new at just over a year old.
Like More Info? Click to Read The latest reviews

Inca Inn (Budget Stay <$100 per night)

Inca Inn Motel Moab has 24 modern rooms that are accompanied by a variety of essential facilities - including a refrigerator - to ensure guests have a comfortable stay.
Like to know more? Click to Read the latest reviews

That’s a wrap folks! I hope you enjoyed our Arches National Park Hikes & Travel Guide article and you’re all set for your next Arches National Park adventure. 


Oh, and if you liked this post, please pin and share – I’d really appreciate it! Click the P in the share bar for full size images!

Arches National Park Hikes & Travel Guide   Arches National Park Hikes & Travel Guide

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David and Jamie are Photo Jeepers:
David enjoys photography and exploring areas off the beaten path in the jeep. Jamie plans and organizes the travel itineraries and details. They share their photos and stories to Inform and Inspire you to explore new places and capture your adventure with photographs. Contact us if you have questions about Arches, or any other National Park in the Western United States.

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29 thoughts on “Arches National Park Hikes & Travel Guide

  1. Aryane @ Valises & Gourmandises says:

    Wow this almost looks like it was taken on another planet. I’m always impressed at how many “climates” the United States have!
    I would definitely stay after dark to see that beautiful starry sky. I saw it once, when we slept under the stars in the Sahara desert during our trip to Morocco, and it’s one of my best travel memories 🙂

    • Jamie says:

      I am so lucky to live so close to dark sky areas – seeing a sky filled with stars is something you should experience at least once. I’m glad you experienced it in Morocco – it’s something you don’t really forget!

  2. Only By Land says:

    That is an impressive stat, over 2000 stone arches! The tip you give about going early or late in the day to get more vibrant pictures with less people around is very useful. You obviousy benefited from this as your photos are brilliant.

  3. Ha Truong says:

    This place is incredible! I was amazed by how beautiful it is. I really love the landscape, especially The Windows area. Thank you for a very detailed post!

  4. Chrysoula says:

    The place is incredible and your photos are stunning. You are right probably winter is a good time to visit in order to avoid the heat and crowds.

  5. Chelsea says:

    I never really thought about visiting Utah for a landscape like this, but the backdrop of mountains against the arches is absolutely gorgeous. Since I hadn’t heard of this place before, it was surprising to learn how many people visited during the summer and how congested it can be. I love your photos of the windows!

  6. Rhonda Albom says:

    This is a stunning collection of photos. I used to live in the states, and have been back so many times. I can’t believe we still have not done any of Utah’s big 5. You recommended winter. Isn’t it really cold and snowy? I do agree with all the reasons to avoid summer. As a photographer, I just don’t want all those people around. My dad lives in Phoenix, so I really have very few excuses for not visiting Utah. Thanks for this reminder.

    • Vicki says:

      Jamie & David’s photography is just beautiful, isn’t it?! And yeah, winter is a little chilly, but it’s preferable to the searing heat of summer – especially for the crowds!

    • Jamie says:

      Yes, winter can be a bit colder, but if you have the right clothing, it’s not bad at all! Also, since Arches is in southern Utah, it doesn’t get as much snow as the northern part around Salt Lake City. If it does snow, it’s only a few inches, and usually melts in a day. The white snow against the red rock landscape creates amazing photos.

  7. Jenn and Ed Coleman says:

    This is a really great article on Arches. I love how you included the pictures of each arch and a description of the hike. You really helped bring me into the area and visualize the trip. Now I absolutely want to make the road trip to arches and check it out again. Fantastic piece.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks guys – David and Jamie @ Photo Jeepers are National Park Experts (in Utah and Arizona at least!) and I’m so pleased to be able to share their in-depth knowledge and tips on this site 🙂

  8. Rhiannon says:

    I’ve seen pictures of the Delicate Arch in so many places but had no idea it was named as such! The pictures remind me a lot of a place I visited in Bolivia, where a lot of the formations look very similar to these. The one main difference being the temperature – it was FREEZING in Bolivia.
    Do people walk along the Landscape Arch?? Or is it just around and you get a viewpoint?

    • Vicki says:

      I didn’t realise there was somewhere similar in Bolivia – that would be great to see (although probably not when it is freezing!)
      NP Rules are that no-one is allowed to walk on any of the Arches – they are just too fragile, and it would be both a risk to the people and Arches to allow such behavior. But you can get beautiful photographs just walking and hiking around the park.

  9. Melbtravel says:

    Oh, my this place looks so beautiful that it looks a little surreal. I love hiking and this is the type of place I would love to explore by foot, especially Delicate Arch. I go to America a lot to visit friends, so I am definitely pinning this for my return.

  10. Drew says:

    I loved Arches National Park. I would recommend staying at Moab Under Canvas. We had a great stay there, “glamping” on the edge of the park. It was amazing to unzip our “tent” and be surrounded by the red rocks with Arches in the distance. It was certainly a nice way to wake up in the morning!

  11. Laura Lynch says:

    Seeing this makes me pretty bummed that we didn’t visit there while we were living in the U.S. If there are even more incredible arches than the ones you’ve featured, it’s no doubt an incredible place. Nature is so awesome, isn’t it!

  12. Raksha nagaraj says:

    Oh my God! The national park looks spectacular and Utah has been there in my list for a very long time. I loved all your shots especially the Milky Way one, it’s so amazingly beautiful.

  13. Megan Jerrard says:

    I need to travel back to Arches to spend more time! We visited very briefly one afternoon on the way past and only had enough time to do the hike to Delicate Arch – sadly our trip accidentally coincided with school holidays lol so it was PACKED! But I fell in love with the area enough to know I need to head back 🙂

  14. Rosemary says:

    The place is incredibly beautiful and great place for hiking. Utah is one place I’ve never been to in the US and judging from your pics, it’s time to make a visit. Love it and your pics too 🙂

  15. Rebecca says:

    Looks absolutely beautiful. This park, along with all the others in the southwest, are high on my bucket list. I’d love to go on a photography tour of the area, which makes waking up well before sunrise, napping in the middle of the day and staying up pretty late to catch sunset and the stars.

  16. Bhushavali says:

    Wow! That’s just a breathtaking landscape! I’d love to see the place myself! Those arches are just mindblowing!!! Esp those windows and that landscape arch is so awesome!!! Are we allowed to walk on top of those arches?

    • Vicki says:

      It’s a pretty special place alright! But, no, we are not allowed to walk on the arches – they are structurally weak and it would be dangerous for people to walk on them – not to mention the damage they could cause if/when they collapse!

  17. Elisa says:

    Oh wow, this is a fantastic place! I love hiking plus Utah is on the top of my wish list since a couple of years. Pinned this post for a (hopefully) future use!

  18. Veronika Tomanova says:

    I have heard to much about Utah before – all these amazing natural landscapes really look out of this planet. One of your pictures reminds me of Azzure Window in Malta! I love your post.

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