No one forgets their first look at Delicate Arch. There are about 2,000 more arches at the park, so keep looking.see more »
Arches National Park
The Arches Experience:
Adventure in Arches National Park picks up where 300 million years of patient erosion has resulted in unbelievably dramatic landscapes that look more sculpted by giant mythological beings than the processes of time. More than 2,000 arches give the park its name, but Arches also contains fields of spires, pinnacles, domes and ridiculously balanced formations that seem to defy the laws of physics, igniting the imagination. Even if you've seen pictures of Delicate Arch, you have not seen it. Every trail rewards your effort, every arch a window into time and space through which you can see into the infinite, and that reflects the infinite back into you.
Road biking, climbing, hiking and camping abound within the boundaries of Arches National Park. In fact, you could make your own top ten hikes list just from Arches trails. While climbing on named arches and natural bridges in the park is prohibited, there are plenty of incredible features and routes for sandstone climbers.
A visit to the Arches area also includes access to some of the world's best mountain biking terrain on Utah's famous slickrock.
There are also excellent off-road vehicle trails, river rafting and extensive hiking opportunities all around Moab, and even more outdoor recreation down the road in the Manti-La Sal National Forest.
8 Must-Experience Activities at Arches National Park
1. See The World's Longest Natural Arch
Three large pieces have fallen from Landscape Arch in the last three decades. It's either stronger or weaker, depending on the theory. Don't test the fates and see it now.... see more »
2. Force Perspective and Hold Up Balanced Rock
Camera tricks aside, balanced rock is a quick trail that is easy for the whole family and a must-see part of your Arches visit.... see more »
3. Experience Arches Upon Arches
You may never see the more than 2,000 arches of Arches National Park. But the Windows Section showcases the dramatic proximity of incredible red rock features....
4. Report for Jury Duty
Not far from the park entrance, Courthouse Towers define a wilderness jurisprudence in the sublime landscape of Arches National Park....
5. Touch the Horizon
Skyline Arch is whimsically perched atop a salmon-colored outcrop of sandstone. The natural bridge beckons; a short scramble brings you there....
6. Meet a Celebrity
There may be no arch more celebrated that Utah's Delicate Arch. When you first round the corner, you'll know why.... see more »
7. Garden With the Devil
Plan 3 to 5 hours to reach Devil's Garden and carry lots of drinking water but be rewarded with some great scrambles and several awe-inspiring arches.... see more »
8a. Make a Legendary Panorama
It starts here....
8b. Make a Legendary Panorama
... and goes on and on ......
8c. Make a Legendary Panorama
Many have found it worthwhile to bring a picnic along on a hike to replenish the energy with a really, really great view....
Southeastern Utah can exceed 100 F (28 C) in the summer and the high country desert plateaus will rapidly parch your thirst. As in neighboring Canyonlands National Park, you can beat the heat by planning ahead, carrying sunscreen and extra water. During the summer, it is often best to play in the morning and evening. Of course, many believe that the iconic Arches and otherworldly landscapes of this park are best seen at sunset and sunrise, especially for photographers and romantics. You'll also experience very clement weather throughout the spring and fall deep into November, though temperatures begin to dip to freezing during the night by late November. As with all of Southern Utah's Mighty 5® national parks, incredible "Monsoon" season thunderstorms in the late afternoon can result in dangerous flash floods.
Camping and Lodging:
Developed campsites in Arches are frequently reserved early during the busy season. Permits can be obtained for backcountry camping within the park or on BLM land in the Canyonlands environs. Moab is truly a world-class destination town, offering the full range of accommodations tuned to your experience, including extensive camping options and RV parks as well as cabins and lodges on up to name-brand motels, upscale hotels or multiperson condominiums. In comparison to the rest of Utah's national parks, Arches has less backcountry camping access. Still, with free permits and a little topographical know-how, visitors can safely escape from the beaten path. Area camping: Inside the park, Outside the park, BLM Lands, Commercial/RV, State Parks
Logistics and Drive Time:
Arches National Park is only 3.5 hours from Salt Lake City (or just over 1.5 hours from Grand Junction, Colorado). A Mighty 5 itinerary can begin in Arches the same day as a morning flight into Salt Lake International Airport.
No one ever forgets that first look at Utah's icon, Delicate Arch, but every look invites you to explore more closely; to dig a little deeper into the dynamics and almost impossible physical history that made it possible. Two trails, and a viewpoint accessible by car, offer different views of Delicate Arch, Arches National Park's most famous geologic feature. Highlights among the thousands of arches, towering spires, harrowing hoodoos and precarious pinnacles include Balanced Rock, Landscape Arch, Skyline Arch and Courthouse Towers. There's a paved 40-mile scenic drive from the park entrance to the campground at Devil's Garden with numerous parking areas for trail access and scenic overlooks. Road guides and hiking brochures are available at the visitor center and the park entrance, located 5 miles north of Moab via U.S. Route 191. Arches is open year-round, as is the campground. Be sure to carry plenty of water when exploring this vast park, no matter the season.
Arches National Park covers 76,359 acres (119 square miles or 308 square kilometers) with good paved and unpaved road access to much of the park.
Arches was expanded from its national monument status (1929) and established as a national park in 1971, just a month prior to Capitol Reef National Park, another of Utah's Mighty 5® national parks. The park now welcomes about a million visitors a year, with peak visitation occurring in the late spring and fall. Over the last thousand years, several indigenous people occupied areas near or within the boundaries of what is now Arches National Park, including Ute people when settlers of European descent first explored the park in the mid-19th century.