Arches National Park is a world-renowned destination for hiking enthusiasts and adventure travelers. Located in eastern Utah, the park is famous for its stunning geologic formations, natural features, and breathtaking views. With over 2,000 natural stone arches, towering pinnacles, and towering fins, Arches National Park is a haven for hikers, nature lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Whether you are looking for a strenuous hike or a leisurely walk, Arches National Park has something for everyone. From the iconic Delicate Arch to the scenic Park Avenue Trail, the park offers a wide range of hiking trails that cater to different skill levels and interests. With summer just around the corner, it's the perfect time to explore the best hikes in Arches National Park and discover the beauty and majesty of this protected area. However, due to the popularity of the park, it's important to make reservations and plan ahead to avoid crowds and ensure a memorable experience.
If you're planning a trip to Arches National Park for some hiking, there are a few things you should know to get started. This section covers when to go, how to get there, and some basic park information to help you prepare for your adventure.
When to Go
Arches National Park is open year-round, but the best time to visit for hiking is usually in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild. Summer can be very hot, with temperatures reaching over 100°F, and winter can be cold and snowy. If you do visit in the summer, be sure to bring plenty of water and plan to hike early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the heat.
Arches National Park is located in eastern Utah, about 5 miles north of Moab. The park is easily accessible by car via US Route 191. If you're flying in, the nearest major airport is Salt Lake City International Airport, about 230 miles away.
Before you hit the trails, it's important to know a few things about the park. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
- Entrance fees: It costs $30 per vehicle to enter Arches National Park, or $25 per motorcycle or $15 per person if entering on foot or bicycle.
- Ranger stations: There are two ranger stations in the park, one at the entrance and one at the Devils Garden campground. Rangers can provide information on park conditions, trail maps, and safety tips.
- Trails: There are over 2,000 natural stone arches in the park, along with other unique rock formations. The park has many trails to explore, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some popular trails include the Landscape Arch Trail, the Double Arch Trail, and the Primitive Trail.
- Crowds: Arches National Park is a popular destination, so be prepared for crowds, especially during peak season. Consider hiking early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
- Winter: Winter can be a beautiful time to visit the park, but be aware that some trails may be closed due to snow and ice. Bring appropriate gear and check trail conditions before heading out.
- Shade: There is very little shade in the park, so be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
- Safety: Hiking in Arches National Park can be dangerous, especially in extreme heat or cold. Be sure to stay on designated trails, bring plenty of water, and let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return.
- Scenic drive: If you're not up for hiking, the park also offers a scenic drive with many pullouts and overlooks to enjoy the stunning views.
- Reservations: If you plan to camp in the park, reservations are strongly recommended, especially during peak season.
- Dogs: Dogs are allowed in the park, but they must be kept on a leash at all times and are prohibited on some trails.
- Restrooms: There are restrooms located throughout the park, but be aware that they may be limited on some trails.
Arches National Park has a variety of hiking trails that range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. If you are looking for a leisurely hike with stunning views, then the easy hikes in the park are perfect for you. These hikes are ideal for families with children, older adults, or anyone who wants to experience the beauty of the park without too much physical exertion.
Double Arch is a short and easy hike that takes you to two massive arches that are joined at the base. The trailhead is located at the end of the Double Arch parking lot. The hike is only 0.5 miles round trip, and it takes about 30 minutes to complete. The trail is mostly flat, and the path is well-marked. The arches are breathtaking, and you can walk right up to them and even stand underneath them. The Double Arch trail is a must-see for anyone visiting Arches National Park.
Landscape Arch is the longest arch in the park, and it is also one of the easiest to reach. The trailhead is located at the Devils Garden parking area, and the hike is only 1.6 miles round trip. The trail is mostly flat, and the path is well-maintained. The arch is stunning, and it spans over 290 feet. You can walk right up to the arch and take in the views of the sandstone fins that surround it.
Broken Arch Loop
The Broken Arch Loop is a moderate hike that is perfect for those who want a little more of a challenge but still want an easy hike. The trailhead is located at the Devils Garden parking area, and the hike is 2.9 miles round trip. The trail is mostly flat, but there are a few sections where you will need to climb over rocks. The trail takes you to Broken Arch, which is a beautiful arch that is surrounded by sandstone fins. The trail also offers stunning views of the park, and there are plenty of shaded areas to rest along the way.
In conclusion, Arches National Park has plenty of easy hikes that are perfect for anyone who wants to experience the beauty of the park without too much physical exertion. The Double Arch, Landscape Arch, and Broken Arch Loop hikes are all excellent options for those who want to see some of the park's most stunning views. Whether you are walking with children or just want to take a leisurely stroll, these hikes are a must-see when visiting Arches National Park.
Arches National Park offers a variety of hiking trails, many of which are considered easy to moderate. These trails provide access to outstanding viewpoints and arches not visible from the road. Here are three moderate hikes that offer stunning views of the park's unique sandstone formations.
Delicate Arch Trail
The Delicate Arch Trail is a 3-mile round trip hike that takes about 2-3 hours to complete. This trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park and leads to Utah's most recognizable natural arch. The trail starts at Wolfe Ranch and climbs steadily up a series of switchbacks before reaching a large slickrock bowl. From there, the trail follows a narrow ledge along a steep drop-off before arriving at Delicate Arch. The arch is a stunning sight, especially at sunset, when it glows a fiery orange.
Park Avenue Trail
The Park Avenue Trail is a 2-mile round trip hike that takes about 1-2 hours to complete. This trail is named after the famous New York City street because it is flanked by towering sandstone fins that resemble skyscrapers. The trail starts at the Park Avenue parking area and descends steeply into a narrow canyon. Along the way, hikers can admire the towering sandstone walls and the unique formations that have been carved by wind and water over millions of years.
Tower Arch Trail
The Tower Arch Trail is a 3.4-mile round trip hike that takes about 2-3 hours to complete. This trail is less crowded than some of the other hikes in the park and offers stunning views of sandstone towers and arches. The trail starts at the Klondike Bluffs parking area and follows a sandy wash before climbing up a steep hill. Along the way, hikers can admire the towering sandstone formations and the unique arches that have been carved by wind and water over millions of years. The highlight of the hike is Tower Arch, a massive sandstone arch that stands 92 feet tall.
All of these moderate hikes offer stunning views of the park's unique sandstone fins, towers, and arches. While these hikes are not as strenuous as some of the other hikes in the park, they still require a moderate level of fitness and stamina. Hikers should be prepared for some steep climbs and uneven terrain, and should bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as well as a hat and sunglasses for shade.
Arches National Park offers several strenuous hikes that require a higher level of physical fitness and endurance. These hikes are perfect for adventure seekers who enjoy a challenge and want to experience the park's rugged terrain and stunning views.
Devils Garden Trail
The Devils Garden Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park and is a must-do for those looking for a challenging adventure. The trail is a 7.8-mile loop that takes you through a maze of sandstone fins, arches, and spires. It is a physically demanding hike that involves scrambling over rocks and climbing steep inclines.
The trail starts at the Devils Garden Trailhead and takes you past several famous arches such as Landscape Arch, Navajo Arch, and Double O Arch. Beyond Double O Arch, the trail becomes more challenging, with several short, steep climbs and some rock scrambling. Along the way, you will also encounter cairns, which are stacks of rocks used as markers to help you navigate the trail.
It is essential to come prepared for this hike with plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate footwear. Also, remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out all your trash.
The Fiery Furnace is a unique and challenging hike that takes you through a maze of sandstone fins and narrow canyons. The hike is only possible with a permit and a ranger-led tour, which ensures that visitors stay on the designated route and do not harm the delicate ecosystem.
The tour takes you through a series of narrow passages and steep inclines, where you will have to climb over rocks and squeeze through tight spaces. The highlight of the hike is the stunning views of the Fiery Furnace, a maze of towering sandstone fins that glow with fiery hues during sunset.
The Fiery Furnace hike is physically demanding and requires a high level of fitness and agility. It is not recommended for those with a fear of heights or claustrophobia.
In conclusion, the Devils Garden Trail and Fiery Furnace are two of the most challenging hikes in Arches National Park. These hikes offer a unique and rewarding experience for those looking for a physically demanding adventure. Remember to come prepared, follow the designated route, and practice Leave No Trace principles to ensure that the park's fragile ecosystem remains protected for future generations.
Off the Beaten Path
If you're looking for a more secluded and adventurous hike in Arches National Park, the off the beaten path trails may be just what you're looking for. These trails offer stunning views and unique sandstone rock formations that are often overlooked by visitors. However, it's important to note that some of these trails may be unsightly or even illegal, so proceed with caution and respect for the park.
One of the hidden gems of Arches National Park is Partition Arch. This arch is located in the Devil's Garden area of the park and can be accessed via a spur trail off the main trail. The trail to Partition Arch is a bit more challenging than some of the other trails in the park, but the stunning views of the arch and surrounding landscape make it well worth the effort. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes as the trail can be rocky and uneven.
Another off the beaten path hike worth exploring is Tapestry Arch. This arch is located near the park's entrance and is accessible via a short and easy trail. While Tapestry Arch may not be as grand as some of the other arches in the park, it's unique sandstone formations and stunning views of the surrounding landscape make it a must-see. Be sure to keep an eye out for the trail marker as the trail can be a bit tricky to navigate.
Overall, the off the beaten path hikes in Arches National Park offer a unique and rewarding experience for those willing to venture off the main trails. Just be sure to respect the park and its rules, and leave no trace behind.
In addition to the many hiking trails available in Arches National Park, there are several other attractions worth visiting. Here are some of the highlights:
Balanced Rock is one of the most iconic landmarks in Arches National Park. It is a massive stone column that appears to be precariously balanced on a small pedestal. Visitors can view the rock from a nearby parking area or take a short, easy hike around the base of the formation. The trail is less than half a mile long and offers stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape.
Courthouse Towers is a collection of towering stone columns that rise up from the desert floor. The formations are named after their resemblance to a group of courthouses. Visitors can view the towers from a nearby parking area or take a short hike to get closer to the formations. The hike is less than a mile long and offers great views of the towers and the surrounding desert.
Lost is a unique formation that is often overlooked by visitors to Arches National Park. It is a large, rectangular stone block that appears to be suspended in mid-air. The formation is located near the park entrance and can be viewed from a nearby parking area or by taking a short hike. The hike is less than a mile long and offers great views of the surrounding desert.
Arches National Park is home to several ancient petroglyphs, which are rock carvings made by Native Americans thousands of years ago. The petroglyphs can be found along several hiking trails in the park, including the Park Avenue Trail and the Courthouse Wash Trail. Visitors should be respectful of these ancient artifacts and avoid touching or damaging them.
Skyline Arch Trail
The Skyline Arch Trail is a short, easy hike that offers great views of the surrounding desert and several impressive stone formations. The trail is less than a mile long and passes by several smaller arches before reaching the impressive Skyline Arch. Visitors can also access the trailhead for the popular Devil's Garden Trail from the same parking area.
Overall, Arches National Park offers a wide variety of attractions beyond just hiking. From iconic stone columns like Balanced Rock to ancient petroglyphs, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this stunning desert landscape.
Tips and Tricks
What to Bring
When hiking in Arches National Park, it's important to bring the right gear and supplies to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential items to pack for your hike:
- Plenty of water: It's crucial to stay hydrated, especially in the desert heat. Bring at least one liter of water per hour of hiking.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the strong UV rays by applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
- GPS or map: The park can be confusing to navigate, so bring a GPS or map to help you stay on track.
- Snacks: Bring high-energy snacks to keep you fueled throughout the hike.
- Appropriate footwear: Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with good traction to prevent slips and falls.
- Layers: Temperatures can vary throughout the day, so bring layers that you can easily add or remove.
Hiking in Arches National Park can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Here are some tips to keep you safe on the trail:
- Start early: Avoid hiking during the hottest parts of the day by starting your hike early in the morning.
- Protect yourself from the sun: Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes from the sun.
- Hike with a group: Hiking with a group is safer than hiking alone, especially on longer or more difficult hikes.
- Rest when needed: Take breaks and rest when needed to prevent exhaustion and dehydration.
- Use caution around arches: Arches can be unstable and dangerous to climb on. Keep a safe distance and never climb on or under them.
Leave No Trace
As with any outdoor activity, it's important to practice Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the natural beauty of the park. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Pack out all trash: Bring a bag to collect all trash and dispose of it properly.
- Stay on designated trails: Avoid damaging the fragile desert ecosystem by staying on designated trails.
- Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a safe distance and never feed or approach them.
- Use designated restrooms: Avoid contaminating the soil and water by using designated restrooms.
Camping is a popular way to experience Arches National Park and there are several campgrounds within the park. One of the most popular campgrounds is the Devil’s Garden Campground, which is located 18 miles from the park entrance.
Devil’s Garden Campground
The Devil’s Garden Campground is the only campground within Arches National Park that accepts reservations. It is a large campground with 51 sites, including 25 RV sites and 26 tent-only sites. The campground is open year-round, but reservations are strongly recommended during peak season (March to October).
Each campsite at Devil’s Garden Campground has a picnic table and a fire pit with a grill grate. There are also restrooms with flushing toilets and drinking water available. RV sites have electric hookups, but there are no dump stations in the park.
It is important to note that there are no showers or laundry facilities at Devil’s Garden Campground, so plan accordingly. Additionally, there are no camp stores or restaurants within the park, so be sure to bring all necessary supplies and food with you.
Overall, camping at Devil’s Garden Campground is a great way to experience Arches National Park and its natural beauty. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance and are strongly recommended during peak season.
Arches National Park is a hiker's paradise, offering a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels. From easy, family-friendly walks to challenging backcountry hikes, the park has something for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, you're sure to find a trail that suits your needs.
During your visit to Arches National Park, it is important to remember to stay hydrated, wear appropriate footwear, and carry plenty of snacks and water. The weather can be unpredictable, so it is always a good idea to check the forecast before heading out on a hike.
Some of the most popular hikes in the park include the Devil's Garden Trail, which offers stunning views of the park's iconic arches, and the Landscape Arch Trail, which is a great option for families with young children. The Double Arch Trail is another family-friendly hike that offers amazing views of two massive arches.
For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Fiery Furnace Trail offers a unique and exciting experience. This backcountry hike requires a permit and a guide, but it is well worth the effort. The trail takes you through a maze of narrow canyons and towering rock formations, providing breathtaking views at every turn.
Overall, Arches National Park is a must-visit destination for hikers and nature lovers alike. With its stunning natural beauty and diverse range of trails, it is easy to see why the park is one of Utah's most popular attractions. So grab your hiking boots and hit the trails – you won't be disappointed!