Hiking & Backpacking
If you plan to visit Arches National Park, hiking should be at the top of your to-do list. Many of the park’s trails conclude with a rewarding viewpoint looking over (or up at) one of the many famous red rock landmarks Southern Utah is famous for. The Delicate Arch Trail and Fiery Furnace are two of the most common, but there are plenty of trails to discover. Plus, the Arches Region just outside the park is peppered with exciting trails, many of which are often less crowded.
Remember, it’s always good to consult with a park ranger at the Visitor Center before heading for the trails. Packing water, sun protection and food are vital for hiking in Arches. To get started, discover which trails to cover on your next vacation by exploring Arches National Park’s best hiking trails.
The park has one developed campground, Devils Garden Campground. You’ll find it 18 miles north of the visitor center on Arches Scenic Drive, the park’s main road. This campground offers visitors an intimate connection with the amazing geography of Arches National Park and close proximity to excellent hiking, photography, sightseeing and rock climbing.
Facilities at Devils Garden include potable water, picnic tables, toilets and grills (bring your own wood or charcoal for the grills as it is not available for sale). There are no showers or RV dump stations at the campground. Devils Garden has 50 individual campsites and two group campsites. Some sites will accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length. Campsite rentals cost $20 per night (up to 10 people) and can be reserved online (reservations recommended; from November 28 through February 1), some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Arches region is a wonderland; the sort of place that brings out the amateur geologist or landscape photographer in each of us. This park promises more bang for your sightseeing buck from a vehicle than just about anywhere else, as many sites are close to the road. You can find more than 1,500 recognized natural arches, ranging in size from just a few feet to the 306-foot span of mammoth Landscape Arch. As always, stop first at the visitor center, just inside the entrance, for an orientation and for resources and information on drives and hikes within the park. It’s highly recommended to arrive early in the morning (before 9 a.m.) or late in the afternoon (after 2 p.m.) to avoid heavy traffic and full parking lots.
If you only have a couple hours, drive to the Windows Section where you can check out some of the park’s largest arches, or drive to the Delicate Arch viewpoint and see Utah’s most famous arch at a distance. If you have four or five hours, you have time to drive all the park’s paved roads and spend about ten minutes at each viewpoint.
The Most Popular Arches & Viewpoints
Delicate Arch Viewpoint
The Windows Section
La Sal Mountain Viewpoint
If this is your first time visiting Arches, there is no better way to experience the park than with a tour guide. Scheduling a tour not only ensures you’ll find incredible viewpoints and hiking trails, it’s the best way to have a more meaningful connection with the land. As passionate advocates for the park and its at-risk ecosystem, Moab’s local guides can help you and your family have a more rewarding day in the park.
The town of Moab is home to a variety of local guide services, all of whom offer a unique trip into the park. Guided hikes, sunset tours, educational driving tours and backcountry outings are all available. To learn more, start researching the commercial tours in Arches National Parks.
Stargazing & Photography
As the sun falls behind a horizon of sandstone spires, hoodoos and arches, the park comes to life under a pitch-black starry sky. The night sky over Arches National Park is one of the darkest in the United States, meaning you may have the chance to see more stars than you ever have before if the skies are clear. Be sure to bring your binoculars, a camping chair and your camera, because you may find yourself stargazing for longer than you thought.
Whether at night or during the day, Arches National Park is a wonderful place to partake in your photography hobby — the colors, light and landscape blend in a way that allows you to make unforgettable images of near professional quality.
The trick to maximizing your photography time in Arches National Park is knowing what geographic features are best photographed in what light and what time of day. Start building your photo shoot schedule with these tips:
Best Shot in Morning Light:
- The Moab Fault, the Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, the Great Wall, Turret Arch, the Spectacles, Double Arch, Cache Valley, Wolfe Ranch, Landscape Arch and Double O Arch.
Best Shot in Evening Light:
- Park Avenue, the Courthouse Towers, the Petrified Dunes, Balanced Rock, the Garden of Eden, North and South Windows, Delicate Arch, the Fiery Furnace (permit required), Skyline Arch, the fins in Devils Garden and Tower Arch.
More Arches National Park Inspiration
Arches National Park
Arches National Park is one of the top national parks in America: it’s a 73,234-acre wonderland of eroded sandstone fins, towers, ribs, gargoyles, hoodoos, balanced rocks, and, of course, arches northwest of Moab.
Arches Travel Tips
Arches National Park is open 24 hours a day year round. The visitor center is open every day except Christmas. Hours vary so check the park’s website for current information.