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Best Hikes in Arches National Park (+ Itinerary & Guide)

Arches National Park is one of Utah’s Mighty 5 – one of five national parks in the state. And its landscape is a unique one, with so many natural rock arches set against a backdrop of the snow capped La Sal Mountains. The park’s proximity to Moab makes it a convenient park to visit, and there are a lot of hiking trails to choose from – from short easy hikes to longer, primitive trails. This guide will tell you about the best hikes in Arches National Park, and give you some tips for visiting – from directions, to info about park fees and timed entry reservations, and more!

Head’s up: some of these links are affiliate links, so I get a commission if you make a purchase (at no cost to you). But that’s great, because I was going to share anyway, and this helps me keep making free guides for you!

Planning Your Arches National Park Itinerary

When you’re planning your Aches National Park itinerary, whether it’s a pit stop on a road trip through Utah’s national parks, or just a little getaway to go hiking in the high desert, my favorite tool for trip planning is The Dyrt. With the free app, you can find campsites and places to stay – and with The Dyrt Pro, you can also create a road trip route and find must see spots in Bryce Canyon National Park!

Where is Arches National Park?

Flying to Arches National Park

If you’re flying in for your trip, the park is pretty remote, and a little far from major airports. The closest major airport is in Salt Lake City (230 miles from the park entrance), and there is the small Canyonlands Field Airpoirt (CFY) that’s just outside the park, and a regional airport in Grand Junction (GJT) that’s 109 miles from the park entrance.

Expedia is a good way to find flights and rental cars, and I super recommend signing up for Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – they send you amazing deals, so you can find cheap flights. The free account is great and totally worth the few minutes it takes to sign up, and I do recommend the premium account too!

Driving to Bryce Canyon National Park

You do need a car to get to the park. If you fly, you can rent a car through Discover Cars or Rental Cars. But, a great alternative to a rental car is a tiny home on wheels! With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option for vans is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb for campers – you can rent a van, RV, or trailer from a person in the area.

To get to Arches National Park from Salt Lake City, you’ll take I-15 S > US-6 E at Spanish Fork > US-191 S to the entrance.

From Grand Junction, you take I-70 W > US-191 S to the entrance.

From Moab, the park is a quick drive north on US-191.

Tours of Arches National Park

Taking a tour is a great alternative if you don’t want to rent a car or drive yourself. There are several tours of Arches that leave from Moab, including this 4×4 tour and this guided astro photography hike. You can even see the park from above with a scenic airplane flight!

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Getting Around Arches National Park

You will need a car to get around Arches National Park, as there is no shuttle service available. If you fly, you can rent a car through Discover Cars or Rental Cars. But, a great alternative to a rental car is a tiny home on wheels! With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option for vans is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb for campers – you can rent a van, RV, or trailer from a person in the area.

What is The Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?

Arches National Park is in the desert, just outside of Moab, so summers get very hot. But, winters get pretty chilly – so the best time to visit Arches National Park is usually late spring, or early fall. April – May and September – October tend to be the best, but here’s some information on Arches National Park’s seasons.

Arches National Park in Winter

You can definitely visit Arches National Park in the winter, but it gets cold! Daytime temperatures are usually in the 40s, but night time drops to well below freezing. It does snow occasionally, but seeing the arches with a dusting of snow over them can be a really unique experience. This is also the least popular time to visit the park, so you won’t need to worry about timed entry reservations, and there will be fewer people around.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re considering visiting Arches in the winter is that roads and trails can close due to snow and ice.

Arches National Park in spring

Spring is a really great time to visit Arches National Park, especially April and May. The weather is in the 70s and low 80s, and it’s a great time to hike before the heat of the summer gets to be too scorching. Because of the weather, this is a really popular time to visit the park, so be prepared for crowds and for lines to get into the park.

Arches National Park in the summer

Summer weather in Arches gets hot – it can be in the 100s some days. But, this is still a popular time to visit the park, so if you want to hike or explore the park, make sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. Getting to the park early, or later in the day can also help you beat the heat! Late summer is when rain storms are most common, and they can cause flash flooding – so always check the weather before you go.

Arches National Park in the fall

Fall is another great time to visit Arches National Park. The weather is more mild, and comfortable for hikes and outdoor adventures. It’s a popular time to visit because of the weather, so be prepared to wait to get into the park.

Arches National Park Timed Entry Reservation

Many popular national parks across the country have implemented timed entry reservation systems to limit crowds and ensure that you can get into the park. Arches National Park has a timed entry reservation system from April 1st to October 31st, every day between 7 am and 4 pm. This means that to enter the park in this time frame, you will need to make a reservation. You can always get to the park early in the morning or later in the day without a reservation.

Reservations become available three months in advance, in monthly blocks – so April reservations will become available on January 2nd, May reservations become available on February 1st, June reservations are available on March 1st, and so on. There are also a few tickets that will be available the day before, but these sell out quickly!

You can make your reservation on Recreation.gov – you’ll select a day and a time, and this gives you a one hour time frame in which you can enter the park. There’s no limit for how long you can stay, and the reservation is per car, not per person. It costs $2 for the timed entry reservation, but you’ll also need to pay the Arches National Park entrance fee.

Arches National Park Entrance Fee

To visit Arches National Park, you will need to pay the entrance fee – and you’ll need to display your pass in your car anytime you park.

It costs $30 per car, but if you visit national parks often (or at least more than twice a year), I recommend getting an America the Beautiful Pass! It’s an annual pass that will get you into every national park in the country for an entire year, for just $80.

You can purchase either pass on your way into the park, or get an America the Beautiful pass online ahead of time!

Things to Bring to Hike in Arches National Park

To help you pack for your Arches National Park trip, here are some essentials to bring with you! To see all of my favorite gear picks, you can check out my Rockporch.

What to Wear to Hike in Arches National Park

What to Bring to Hike in Arches National Park

  • Backpack – you’ll need a backpack for water and snacks. I use an Osprey Hikelite 26L.
  • Water – water is a must, always – and bring extra for desert hikes. I usually bring my 2L hydration pack on hikes, along with a Nalgene water bottle that I put electrolytes in.
  • Sunscreen – no matter the time of year, make sure to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Headlamp – if you want to get an early start, or stay to watch the sunset, make sure to bring a headlamp. It’s also a good idea to always bring one just in case!
  • Trekking Poles – hiking with poles can help with stability, and can be especially helpful if you have knee pain going downhill.


Bonus Tip: A lot of these links are for my favorite place to buy outdoor gear – Backcountry. If you install the free Lolli extension on your browser, you can earn free Bitcoin when you shop online at certain retailers, including Backcountry. You can transfer it to a crypto wallet, or just cash out to your bank account.

The Best Hikes in Arches National Park

If you want to hit the trail, here are a few of the best hikes in Arches National Park!

Devil’s Garden

This is, in my opinion, the absolute best hike in Arches National Park. It’s also the longest and most difficult maintained trail in the park, but so worth it! The Devil’s Garden trail is kind of a choose-your-own-adventure, because the loop has several offshoots where you can take detours to see the different arches, like the famous Landscape Arch. There are so many arches to see (many of which are remote and private), and you’ll be scrambling on rocks, walking along rocky fins with steep drop offs on both sides, and on the primitive trail, you’ll often be hiking with no one else around.

  • Distance: 7.9 miles (12.6 kilometers) loop – but you can make it shorter by skipping some spur trails
  • Elevation Gain: 1085 feet (331 meters)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hike Time: I consider myself to be an average hiker, and this trail took me 3 hours and 50 minutes. I took all of the spur trails except for the one to the Dark Angel (which saved a little under a mile). You can check out my hike on Strava!

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch is one of the most popular arches in the park, and for good reason! It’s the largest free standing arch in the park, and with the La Sal Mountains behind it, the view really is beautiful. There are a few ways to see the arch – one is to look at Utah’s license plates, but to see it in person, you can hike the Delicate Arch Trail to see it up close, or head to a viewpoint for an easier, but less scenic, view. The Delicate Arch Trail definitely gives you the best view of the arch, allowing you to stand under it!

  • Distance: 3.0 miles (4.8 kilometers) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 480 feet (146 meters)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hike Time: I consider myself to be an average hiker, and this trail took me 1 hour and 50 minutes, including a break at the arch. You can check out my hike on Strava!

Skyline Arch

The hike to Skyline Arch is an easy, pretty flat walk that’s just off the main road in Arches National Park. The path leads to a gorgeous view of the arch that’s perched high up on the sandstone wall.

  • Distance: 0.4 miles (0.6 kilometers) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 36 feet (11 meters)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Hike Time: This is a short trail, and takes about 10 minutes

Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch

On this trail, you can see two arches! Sand Dune Arch is a short detour off of the trail – you’ll go through a slot canyon, and then find yourself in front of Sand Dune Arch. This is a popular spot, but as you continue on the trail to broken arch it gets a bit quieter! You’ll walk through an open landscape, and soon you’ll get to Broken Arch.

  • Distance: 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 164 feet (50 meters)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Hike Time: This trail took me 35 minutes

Fiery Furnace

The Fiery Furnace trail is one of the best hikes in Arches National Park, but it’s a challenge. You’ll need to walk along narrow ledges and drop offs, jump across gaps, squeeze through narrow slots, and pull yourself up and through gaps. This hike is like a maze, and it’s definitely a difficult trail. You’re required to either book a ranger-led hike, or get a permit to hike it by yourself – the ranger led tour is recommended, because it’s easy to get lost on the trail and GPS doesn’t work well because of the tall sandstone walls. If you want to hike it yourself, you’ll have to attend an orientation talk beforehand.

  • Distance: 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 492 feet (150 meters)
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Hike Time: This trail takes about 2.5 hours

Windows Loop

The Windows Loop is a short trail that takes you to three arches – Turret Arch, South Window, and North Window. The short offshoot to the South Window Lookout was my favorite view on this trail, and this is definitely one of the best short hikes in Arches National Park.

  • Distance: 0.7 miles (1.1 kilometers) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 98 feet (30 meters)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Hike Time: This trail took me about 20 minutes

Double Arch

The Double Arch Trail is right across the parking lot from the Windows Loop, and it’s a short hike where you’ll see, well, a double arch! At the end of the trail, you can do a quick scramble to get to the base of the arch.

  • Distance: 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 95 feet (29 meters)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Hike Time: This trail took me about 20 minutes

Balanced Rock Loop

You can see Balanced Rock right from the parking lot – the huge border is perched on a rock spire, and there’s no telling how much longer it’ll be there. The short loop takes you around the rock, and this is one of the best hikes in Arches National Park to do at sunset, because of the gorgeous view of the La Sal Mountains.

  • Distance: 0.3 miles (.5 kilometer) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 55 feet (17 meters)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Hike Time: This trail takes about 10 minutes

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch is along the Devil’s Garden trail, but if you decide not to do that longer hike, definitely take the short trail to see it! This is among the longest natural arches in the entire world, and the 290 foot (88 m) long arch towers above you.

  • Distance: 1.9 miles (3 kilometers) out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 252 feet (77 meters)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Hike Time: This trail takes about 45 minutes

Best Hikes in Arches National Park Map

This map of the best hikes in Arches National Park will show you all the trails I mentioned here! The green icons are easy trails, and yellow ones are moderate.

Arches National Park Itinerary

Here are some sample itineraries for a trip to Arches National Park!

How Many Days Do You Need in Arches National Park?

The first thing to decide is how many days you need in Arches National Park. Because a lot of the trails are short, you can definitely do a few of them in one day and see a lot of the park. But, I recommend 2-3 days in Arches National Park, as this allows you to do some of the longer hikes, and to enjoy the park without feeling rushed!

When I visited Arches National Park, I spent three days hiking all the trails – but I entered the park after 4 PM each day to avoid having to make a timed entry reservation. If you get reservations and spend the entire day in the park, two days is plenty!

One day Arches National Park Itinerary

Here’s a one day Arches National Park itinerary:

  • Hike the Delicate Arch Trail (3 miles / 4.8 km)
  • Hike to Landscape Arch (1.9 miles / 3 kilometers)
  • Stop at the Fiery Furnace Overlook and take in the view!
  • Take a walk around the Windows Loop (0.7 miles / 1.1 kilometers)
  • Catch the sunset at Balanced Rock

If you’re up for it, I would recommend doing the entire Devil’s Garden Trail. That one is (7.9 miles / 12.6 kilometers), so definitely consider if you’ll be able to do that and see the rest of the park in one day!

Two Day Arches National Park Itinerary

If you have two days in Arches National Park, here’s a sample itinerary!

Day 1:

  • Hike the Delicate Arch Trail (3 miles / 4.8 km)
  • Hike to Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch (1.5 miles / 2.4 kilometers)
  • Stop at the Fiery Furnace Overlook and take in the view!
  • Take a walk to Double Arch (0.6 miles / 1 kilometer)
  • Catch the sunset at Balanced Rock

Day 2:

  • Hike the Devil’s Garden Trail (7.9 miles / 12.6 kilometers)
  • Take a walk on the Windows Loop for sunset (0.7 miles / 1.1 kilometers)

Three Day Arches National Park Itinerary

This is the itinerary I followed when I visited Arches National Park. I arrived after 4 PM each day to avoid having to make a reservation, so this itinerary is for those who want to spend half days in the park rather than an entire day.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

  • Take a walk to Skyline Arch (0.4 miles / 0.6 kilometers)
  • Hike to Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch (1.5 miles / 2.4 kilometers)
  • Stop at the Fiery Furnace Overlook and take in the view!
  • Take a walk on the Windows Loop for sunset (0.7 miles / 1.1 kilometers), then to Double Arch (0.6 miles / 1 kilometer)

Tips for Visiting Arches National Park

Here are a few things you need to know about hiking in Arches National Park.

Bring Food!

Arches National Park has no restaurants, and nowhere to buy food. So, make sure to bring your own if you’re staying all day, and of course, don’t forget water too. If you need to get groceries or snacks, Moab is the best place to do that.

Cell Phone Service in Arches National Park

Of course, this will depend on your carrier, but you should be prepared to lose service once you get into the park. Download any trail maps you need! I have Mint Mobile, and I had service at the visitor’s center, but lost it pretty quickly after that.

Bathrooms in Arches National Park

There’s a “real” bathroom in the visitor’s center of Arches National Park, and pit toilets at a lot of the trailheads – the Devil’s Garden, Delicate Arch, and Sand Dune Arch trailheads have them.

Where to Stay Near Arches National Park

When you visit Arches National Park, you’ll need a place to stay! As far as staying inside the park, there’s only one campground. But, you have lots of options for hotels and lodges in in Moab, and public land near the park for camping.

camping in Arches National Park

For camping near Arches National Park, I recommend using The Dyrt – it’s the best way to find campsites. You can use the free version to find campsites, but with The Dyrt Pro you’ll also be able to see the boundaries of BLM Land around the national park. There’s one campground in the park – the Devil’s Garden Campground – but there are also options just outside the park. On BLM land, you can camp just about anywhere for free! You can try The Dyrt before you commit, so click here for a free trial.

There are plenty of options for free camping near Arches National Park – so check out this guide to learn how to find free campsites!

Try the Dirt Pro

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hotels near Arches National Park

Hotels are always an easy, convenient option, and there are plenty of hotels, motels, and inns near Arches National Park! The town of Moab is just outside the park, and has plenty of lodging options.

Some options for places to stay:

  • Red Cliffs Lodge – a rustic but luxurious lodge gorgeous views of the Colorado River.
  • Hotel Moab Downtown – a hotel located right downtown, surrounded by red rock cliffs and views of the La Sal Mountains.
  • Big Horn Lodgea lodge style motel just 4 miles from Arches National Park.

For more options, check out this map of places to stay. Make sure to change the dates, and zoom out to see all of your options!

 

Cabins, Glamping, & Yurts

For a unique place to stay during your trip, check out Hipcamp! It’s like Airbnb for campsites – and you can find yurts, cabins (like this cabin near the Redwoods), glamping sites, and more. 

You can even get $10 off your first booking here!

A Camper van

With a camper van, you get a vehicle and a place to sleep, all in one! This is my favorite way to travel, and you can rent a fully decked out van with Escape Campervans. Another option is to use Outdoorsy, which is more like Airbnb – you can rent vans, RVs, and trailers from people who live nearby!

More Adventures Near Arches National Park

Have you done any of these hikes in Arches National Park, or have questions or recommendations? Let me know in a comment below!

Once you’ve explored Arches National Park, I recommend checking out some of Utah’s other incredible parks, like Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

Pin any of these photos to reference this Arches National Park Itinerary & Guide later!

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