Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, holds the world’s greatest collection of natural stone arches (over 2,300!). Arches is an excellent destination to build a trip around. It is a small National Park (20 miles of road), but offers so many unique sights and nearby destinations as well. This Arches National Park Itinerary will cover everything from the Bucketlist hikes and sights, where to stay, and more. I’ll be breaking down the Arches National Park Hiking itinerary to fit 1-4 day trips here as well. Let’s get started!
Photos in Collaboration with Daniel Fowler
Land Acknowledgement: Ute Land. Find what Native Land you are visiting by using the app Native Land! I encourage you to read the history and culture of the Indigenous people who’s land you are visiting as well as donating and financially supporting if you are able.
- Photos in Collaboration with Daniel Fowler
- Travel between May-September
- Travel between September-April
- Closest Airports to Moab
- Leave No Trace
- What to Expect:
- 3.2 miles, 629 ft elevation gain
- Delicate Arch VS Delicate Arch Lower/Upper Trail Viewpoint:
- Drive up spot
- 0.6 miles, 95 ft elevation gain
- 1.2 miles, 154 ft elevation gain
- 0.3 miles, 108 ft elevation gain
- 4.1 miles, 672 ft elevation gain
- Devil's Garden Entire Loop: 7.9 miles, 1,085 ft elevation gain
- 0.3 miles, 55 ft elevation gain
- 2.4 miles, 600 ft elevation gain
- Drive up spot
- Fiery Furnace Trail
- Drive up spot
- Drive up spot
- Delicate Arch
- Sand Dune Arch
- Double Arch | Window Arch
- Arches Scenic Drive
- 1. Devils Garden Campground
- 2. Slickrock Campground | SUN OUTDOORS NORTH MOAB
- 3. MOAB KOA
- 4. BLM Camping | Bureau of Land Management
Why Visit Arches National Park?
Arches National Park is essentially the real life Jurassic Park. But really – lots of dinosaur remains have been found here and there are plenty of trails where you can find preserved dinosaur tracks. If you’ve never been to this part of the world, you’re in for a real treat.
Arches, fins, spires, hoodoos, domes and towers, oh my! There are endless things to do and see here. So, let’s break down what’s doable and worth your time on a short trip here.
Best Time to Visit for Arches National Park Itinerary
This is not always a direct answer, because it depends on what’s important to you!
If you want the best weather in Arches National Park:
Travel between May-September
If you want to go during off-season to avoid the crowds:
Travel between September-April
Getting to Arches NP
Closest Airports to Moab
- Canyonlands Field (CNY): 15 minute drive to Arches National Park Visitor Center (11 miles from the park entrance)
- Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT): 1.5 hours from Visitors Center (109 miles from the park entrance)
- Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC): 4 hours from Visitors Center(230 miles from the park entrance)
You will need a vehicle! There is no shuttle system available in Arches National Park. All roads are paved, except for one gravel “washboard” road that takes you to Tower Arch Trail. No special clearance or 4×4 is needed for this itinerary!
Map of Arches National Park Itinerary
IMPORTANT: Timed-Entry for Arches National Park Update
Arches National Park is implementing a temporary pilot timed entry system, like many other popular national parks.
Arches NP will be releasing tickets on Recreation.gov 3 months in advanced.
Limited tickets will be available for purchase the day prior at 6 PM MST. A $2 processing fee is required.
Arches National Park 3 Day Itinerary
There are a few important things to note before we dive into the itinerary.
In peak summer season, the high temperature can reach over 100 degrees F. If you are traveling during this season, I recommend avoiding hiking during the midday heat.
And my gosh, stay hydrated!! I usually bring along Nuun Tablets or Liquid IV to add to my water for extra electrolytes when traveling in warm, desert climates.
Crowds of people are inevitable at popular national parks such as this one, but here are some tips to avoid some of it.
- Become a morning person. Sunrise hikes are when I find the least amount of crowds! And when I can actually get a parking spot.
- Pack a lunch and eat at non traditional times. A lot of people will be going out to lunch or dinner at normal lunch and dinner times. Use these times to go to a viewpoint that is normally busy, and eat earlier or later.
- If your schedule is flexible, go during the week rather than on a weekend
Leave No Trace
Be sure to pack out what you bring in (including fruit peels, nut shells, etc)! Stay on the trail to prevent erosion, and damage to fragile ecosystems. Respect others and any wildlife you encounter. National Parks have seen a large increase in visitors, so it is very important everyone does their part.
What to Expect:
This itinerary will have a mix of everything! Scenic drives, walk ups, easy hikes, and challenging hikes! I encourage you to make this your own and take what you want from this guide. I tend to plan my itineraries pretty full, and leave room for opting out of certain hikes, or plans depending on my energy levels. Even just driving through this park is incredible, so whatever you end up doing in addition to that is the icing on top.
If you have any additional concerns/questions about Arches National Park Hiking, the Visitor’s Center is a great place to get answers.
Arches National Park Itinerary – Day 1
1. Delicate Arch or Delicate Arch Viewpoint Lower and Upper Trail
3.2 miles, 629 ft elevation gain
I recommend doing this hike first thing for a few reasons. One, it’s the most iconic Arches National Park view. I’m only recommending it first thing though if you can make it out there early in the morning. Most people are traveling on the weekends, so if that’s the case for you, doing this on Friday morning, if possible, is way more ideal than Saturday when the weekend crowd is in full swing.
Delicate Arch VS Delicate Arch Lower/Upper Trail Viewpoint:
Delicate Arch Trail is the iconic 3.2 mile, 629 ft elevation gain trail that leads you right to the arch! If you are physically able – I 100% recommend doing this trail. Budget around 45-60 minutes to hike there.
Delicate Arch Lower Trail Viewpoint: This hike offers a big picture viewpoint. It is not as intimate and up close to the arch, but it is a HECK of a lot easier. At .7 miles and 100 feet elevation gain, this hike is labeled as wheelchair accessible! And as you might have guessed, way less busy.
Note: To get to Delicate Arch Lower Trail viewpoint, drive just past the delicate arch trailhead to the end of Delicate Arch Road
2. Garden of Eden
Drive up spot
This quick stop is a great way to get up close to some of the rock formations and usually has less traffic than the neighboring Double Arches parking area. Garden of Eden is off of The Windows Road, which is where the remaining hikes for Day 1 of this Arches National Park Itinerary will be located.
Tip: If you have extra time, check out Owl Rock in that same parking area.
3. Double Arch
0.6 miles, 95 ft elevation gain
Double Arch Trail leads you to a massive…well, double arch haha. I was truly shocked at the scale of these arches. It is an easy hike at just 0.6 miles and 95 ft elevation gain. It is wheelchair friendly according to AllTrails.
This parking lot gets CRAZY busy since it is also the parking area for Window Arch and Turret Arch. I recommend doing Double Arch around lunch time when every one is out eating. I went just before sunset and was surrounded by not only a massive arch, but a massive crowd.
Tip: keep your parking spot here for sunset at the neighboring trail below.
4. Windows Arch Trail and Turret Arch
1.2 miles, 154 ft elevation gain
I had the pleasure of doing this short loop at sunset. You can see both of these arches a bit from the parking lot. Don’t feel like you need to do the full mile loop trail to see incredible views here. It definitely attracts a crowd, but not nearly as packed as the neighboring Double Arch. This was definitely a favorite of mine out of all the Arches National Park Hiking I’ve done.
Add on: on your hike back to the parking lot you can see Parade of Elephants rocks just behind the parking lot!
Arches National Park Itinerary – Day 2
1. Sand Dune Arch
0.3 miles, 108 ft elevation gain
Start your day with this easy, but scenic hike! This is a smaller parking lot, so it’s ideal to see this spot early.
2. Double O Arch and Devil’s Garden
4.1 miles, 672 ft elevation gain
Double O Arch is an incredible window into the desert on Devil’s Garden Trail. This trail offers lots of side options as part of the trail, and it is definitely recommended that you download the map (I use AllTrails).
Short off shoot hiking options on Devil’s Garden trail: Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Landscape Arch, Wall Arch and Black Arch
I’d recommend getting an early start to beat the heat and the crowds.
Devil’s Garden Entire Loop: 7.9 miles, 1,085 ft elevation gain
If you don’t have time for the entire loop – I recommend going to Double O Arch before turning around.
3. Scenic Drive
Since you are at the farthest point in the park at Devil’s Garden, it’s. a perfect starting point to make the drive back towards the entrance with time to stop along the way. The entrance to Arches National Park is quite dramatic with its switchbacks up steep sandstone cliffs.
4. Balanced Rock
0.3 miles, 55 ft elevation gain
For sunset, catch this easy loop trail and see the giant 3600-ton boulder perched atop a spire support rock. I’d recommend getting here early to secure parking.
Arches National Park Itinerary – Day 3
1. Tower Arch Trail
2.4 miles, 600 ft elevation gain
Tower Arch Trail is the farthest to get to in the park (50 minute drive from the visitor center), but therefore the least crowded. Enjoy having time on the trail without crowds by getting there in the morning. Also, morning is a great time to visit this trail because 90% of the trail is exposed to the sun. Bring extra water with you and download the trail map.
The arch itself is a 92 foot span! I’ve yet to do this hike, but it is high on my list for a return visit.
Getting There: Take the main road all the way past Sand Dune Arch, take a left onto Salt Valley Road, Arches Salt Wash. Drive for 7.2 miles before taking a left onto Klondike Bluffs Rd. Your Destination will be on the left in 1 mile.
Note: A vehicle with some clearance (a standard SUV) is advised.
2. Fiery Furnace Overlook and Fiery Furnace Trail
Drive up spot
This viewpoint is one of the most scenic viewpoints in Arches National Park that doesn’t involve hiking. With views of the La Sal Mountains in the distance, and sandstone fins, it’s a lovely spot to have lunch or stretch your legs.
Fiery Furnace Trail
2.1 miles, 505 ft elevation gain
To hike Fiery Furnace Trail – you must obtain a permit! Typically, you must reserve a ranger-led tour to see this trail, as it has many challenges and the potential to get lost. Check HERE for ranger led tour information and dates (currently none scheduled for 2022)
Arches National Park is currently only offering self-guided permits. So if you are an experienced hiker find out more on obtaining a permit HERE.
3. La Sal Mountains Viewpoint
Drive up spot
Near the entrance, and on your way back out, this viewpoint is worth a stop to take in the La Sal Mountains from a different perspective. See sweeping red rock views of the Courthouse Towers area and its formations like Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, and The Organ. You can also see Balanced Rock and the Windows Section in the far distance.
Tip: Great at Sunset and Sunrise
4. Park Ave Viewpoint
Drive up spot
If you’re feeling keen on one last viewpoint, Park Ave is on your way out! with views of massive monoliths and towering walls, it’s the perfect spot to say goodbye to a wonderful 3 days at Arches National Park.
OVERVIEW OF THE ARCHES NATIONAL PARK HIKING ITINERARY
Arches National Park Hiking – Day 1:
- Delicate Arch | Delicate Arch Viewpoint Lower and Upper Trail
- Garden of Eden
- Double Arch
- Windows Arch Trail and Turret Arch
Arches NP – Day 2:
- Sand Dune Arch
- Double O Arch | Devil’s Garden
- Scenic Drive
- Balanced Rock
Arches NP – Day 3
- Tower Arch Trail
- Fiery Furnace Viewpoint/ Trail (Permits required for trail)
- La Sal Mountains Viewpoint
- Park Ave Viewpoint
What are the best hiking spots in Arches National Park if you only have 1 Day?
Sand Dune Arch
Double Arch | Window Arch
Arches Scenic Drive
Where to Stay when visiting Arches National Park?
There are a lot of options near Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. I highly recommend making reservations in advance, especially if you are visiting during the peak tourism season.
$25 per night
This campground is in Arches National Park, making it easier to get to all the places you want to see! However, spots book up FAST here and can only be reserved online during peak season.
TIP: on February 26th at 7:00 AM PST availability is released through August 26th. November 1-February 28th is first come first serve
$40-$50 per night
This camping area is quite scenic and walking distance to the Colorado River and biking distance to downtown Moab.
$50-$70 per night
This Campground is a convenient 15 minutes away from Arches National Park entrance. Each Tent sites allows up to 6 people.
4. BLM Camping | Bureau of Land Management
My first visit to Arches National Park was rather spontaneous and there was NO reservable camping left! Luckily I knew about BLM camping, which is essentially primitive camping with no amenities.
If you’re new to BLM camping and finding free campsites, check out my article: How to find the Best Free Camping
The campgrounds listed above also offer cabin options if you are looking for something rustic, but not into camping!
DISCOVER MOAB has a list of all Hotels and Motels organized by price.
Rent luxury glamping sites at Under Canvas Moab
For an adventurous stay check out Basecamp Adventure Lodge
And lastly, Talking Mountain Yurts, with bike and ski trails right outside your doorstep
Other Southwest Adventures
If you’re looking for more trip inspiration, check out my other guides:
- Canyonlands National Park
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Capitol Reef State Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Zion National Park
Arches National Park has a LOT to offer, and is best experienced when planned ahead of time. You don’t want to miss these stunning red rock views and experiencing the world’s greatest collection of stone arches!
Let me know in the comments if this will be your first time visiting Arches or a return visit!
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