The 12 Best Hikes in Arches National Park 

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Arches is known for its mountainous red orange rock formations, arches, and towers. It truly makes for a beautiful sight at any time of the year. Out of the many things to do in and around Arches, doing some of the hikes in Arches National Park is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the park up close.

Although Arches is one of the smaller parks in Utah, there are still quite a few hiking trails to choose from and over 2,000 Arches to see. In this article we’re covering the 12 best hikes in Arches National Park that we believe you need to check out.

Temporary Entrance Delays: At this time the park is allowing guests and no longer doing timed ticket entry. However, please note that parking lots at trailheads may fill before 9 am, causing the park to temporarily restrict access in the park to prevent overcrowding. Periods of restricted access can last 3-5 hours.

Arches National Park “Highlights” 

Best Time to Go: The best time to visit Arches National Park is during Spring and Fall. At those times the temperatures are a little milder, about 60 to 80 degrees. Crowds can be a bit heavy during spring through fall. 

How to Get to Arches National Park: The closest airport is served by the small Canyonlands Field Airports which has daily flights from Denver and a few car rental agencies. Grand Junction Regional Airport is the closest mid-sized airport located in Grand Junction, Colorado about 110 miles away from Moab.

How to Get Around: The best way to get around is by vehicle using either your own or a rental. The park doesn’t offer a shuttle service. There are plenty of great online sources for rental cars and if you’re wanting to rent a RV or camper van check out Outdoorsy for a good selection

Where to Stay: Finding a place to stay in Arches is limited and there is no lodging within the park. If you’re wanting to camp in the park, Devils Garden is the only choice. There are a lot of options out of the park such as Moab Springs Ranch and a neat urban campground called Up the Creek.

National Park Pass: Arches National Park charges an entry fee. However, I recommend using the annual America The Beautiful pass to save money and time at the lines. 

If you plan on visiting other National Parks, America the Beautiful is a huge money saver. It will give you access to over 400+ park systems and all National Parks for $80 good for the whole year!

Don’t Forget Leave No Trace: Before heading on your outdoor journey, make sure to review the Leave No Trace principles to help protect and leave these National Parks better than you found them. 

Overview of Best Hikes in Arches National Park

Arches is divided into different sections that offer many unique views. In this article we are covering the best hikes in Arches National Park all throughout the park. From hikes in the popular areas such as: Devils Garden, Garden of Eden, and Wolfe Ranch. To even more remote areas like Klondike Bluffs. 

Before hiking be sure to review other important and useful information in this article such as: best time to go, helpful gear, and tips for hiking in the park! 

The 12 Best Hikes in Arches National Park

Standing in front of Delicate Arch during sunrise

Delicate Arch 

  • Length: 3.2  miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 629ft 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed. 

Out of our list of the best hikes in Arches National Park, the Delicate Arch Trail is the absolute hike you cannot miss. It is the most popular arch by far so much that it is all over the Utah license plate. 

The hike starts off crossing over a bridge and gradually takes you up some slab rock. Overall, the trail isn’t that technical and is pretty well marked. There are portions with cairns to help with navigation. After That it slowly climbs to a side wall trail right before you get to the grand finale, the Delicate Arch. 

A heads up if you’re going in the summer, I recommend going early to beat the heat and the crowds. By mid-morning this hike gets super busy. Also, bring you water to stay hydrated and a hat as there is no shade on this trail. Overall, if you choose to do any trail in this park you have to do this one.

Delicate Arch Viewpoints 

  • Length: Lower (100yds) Upper (0.5 miles) 
  • Elevation Gain: Lower (15ft) Upper (141ft)
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed
  • Accessible: The lower viewpoint is accessible throughout 

This is not the trail to the Delicate Arch; these are the viewpoints that are a lot more accessible. These routes are great for everyone, for families, elderly, and individuals with disabilities. This route does involve a short trek and is overall rated easy because it is not too strenuous compared to other trails in the park. 

There are two trails to get to separate viewpoints one is a shorter more accessible trail that takes you to a lower viewpoint and the other is a little longer with a gradual incline that takes you to the upper viewpoint. Both are fantastic views of the Delicate Arch.

Devil’s Garden is popular hiking loop in Arches

Devil’s Garden

  • Length: 7.9 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 1085ft 
  • Route Type: Loop 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

The Devil’s Garden Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the northern portion of the park. This loop is a bunch of smaller hikes within one big loop. Out of the best hikes in Arches National Park this loop provides access to many of the most interesting arches in the park. One of the most known in this hike is the Landscape Arch, which is one of the longest natural arches in the world.  

Other hikes along the Devils Garden loop include Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, Private Arch, Dark Angel Arch, Double O Arch, Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, and finally Landscape Arch. Now that’s a whole bunch of arches in one hike. 

The trailhead is at the end of the main road through the park. While the parking area is pretty decent. It can get super busy on the weekends and in the summer season. I recommend doing this hike early in the morning if able to. 

Windows Loop was busy during this 100-degree day!

Windows Loop and Turret Arch 

  • Length: 1.2 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 154 ft 
  • Route Type: Loop 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

The Windows is a nice short stop and is pretty accessible. Some sections have rock stairs. During this hike you’ll follow a short trail to three large giant openings in the red orange rocky section. Through the window is a scenic view of rocky landscapes. 

The trails are relatively short, hiking doesn’t take too long. A portion of the trails is fairly primitive only marked by small rocky outlines and small cairns. Hiking to the Turret Arch is a good addition as it is another beautiful free-standing arch in the area. 

Overall, the windows loop is a great trek for the family and provides enough entertainment for the kids. It has a good amount of action for such a short hike, and it is near another popular and unique arches. 

Double Arch is such a unique formation

Double Arch 

  • Length: 0.6 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 95 ft 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed 
  • Accessible: Yes, beginning portion is 

Double Arch Trail is another short loop very close to the Windows Loop. The beginning of the trail is fairly accessible up to the base and provides a pretty good view of the double arch. At the end of the trail there is a bit of a scramble that will lead closer to the arches. The path is fairly sandy like a lot of the other trails in the area.

If you plan on seeing this arch and others in the area. Plan on getting to the area fairly early and if going at a busy time be prepared to have to wait a bit for parking. This parking lot fills up fairly quickly and it takes time for people to leave because of the many trail options. Also, with that being said, be kind to others and aware of how long you are spending at these trails due to the limited space. 

A scenic view of Fiery Furnace from the short viewpoint trail

Fiery Furnace 

  • Length: 2.1 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 492 ft 
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

This is a really unique part of the park. During sunrise and sunset it can look like these rocks are on fire due to the way the sun hits them. There is a viewing area to see the fiery furnace on a short trail. To hike further into the area a permit will be required. It can be purchased at the Arches National Park Visitors Center.

This is the only hike the requires a permit in this list of best hikes in Arches National Park. Mainly because of a few people getting lost. However, this is not very common, and this trail still remains pretty popular it is best to try and buy permits ahead of time.

Landscape Arch is quite a sight measuring 306ft from base to base

Landscape arch 

  • Length: 1.9 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 252 ft 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

Two mile out and back easy trail with a beautiful view of the landscape arch which measures about 306 feet from base to base. The arch is one of the most unique ones as it is the longest arch in North America. This trail is a great one for families as the trail is usually well maintained and the distance isn’t too great.

We liked this short stroll around balanced rock

Balanced Rock 

  • Length: 0.3 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 55 ft 
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed
  • Accessible: Yes, good portion is 

Probably the most family friendly trail out of this list of best hikes in Arches National Park. The trail is a mostly paved short loop that will probably take about 15 minutes round trip. It is one of the most accessible trails in the park, but it is one worth seeing. The trail takes you up close to a huge 3600-ton boulder perched atop a spire support and several other interesting rock formations. 

There is a section where you can climb up to the bottom of the rock to get a closer look. It is just so unique and crazy how that formation was made and how a massive boulder can still be supported upon the small support. 

Park Avenue is known for its unique structures

Park Avenue Trail  

  • Length: 1.8 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 298 ft 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

The first trail you will most likely encounter in the park is the Park Avenue trail. It runs for about 2 miles round trip. At Park Avenue, you will see many rock structures around. One popular rock formation is “Queen Nefertiti”, a giant rock in an Egyptian looking shape. 

From the Park Avenue parking area, the trail descends about a mile downhill toward the area known as Courthouse Towers. Around this area are more neat contrasting colorful landforms. If you have a shuttle driver or other people with you. Then to make it a shorter trek you can begin at one point and be picked up at the other. 

Sand Dune Arch – courtesy of wikimedia commons.

Sand Dune Arch 

  • Length: 0.3 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 108 ft 
  • Route Type: Out & Back 
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

Sand Dune Arch Trail leads through deep sand to a secluded arch among sandstone fins. It is very common to come back from this trail with shoes full of beautiful red sand so if you have children be ready! 

This is a great short trek for the family. It is an easy hike from the parking area to a neat area in the canyon that takes you through sandstone fins towards the Sand Dune Arch. One nice thing about this hike is that it stays fairly shaded throughout. 

Wolf Ranch – Courtesy of NPS/Neal Herbert

Wolf Ranch and Petroglyph Trail 

  • Length: 0.5 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 19 ft 
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

Wolf Ranch and Petroglyph trail are neat hikes that give you an opportunity to learn and see more of the historical value of the park. The trail takes you back to the late 1800’s when the Ranch was first bought and developed. Near the Ranch on Petroglyph Trails is an even older bit of history. An Ute rock art panel preserved shows the existence of ancient Indian civilizations in the park. 

Tower Arch one of the most remote arches

Tower Arch 

  • Length: 2.4 miles 
  • Elevation Gain: 600 ft 
  • Route Type: Loop
  • Dogs Allowed: No, not allowed

The Klondike Bluffs are one of the more remote sections of Arches National Park. Before doing this trek check with park rangers to make sure the road has not been washed out. This trail is fairly lightly traveled but definitely worth it. 

Towards the middle of the trail is a neat structure called Marching Men. Features large sandstone fin structures that look similar to soldiers on a march. After that you will encounter more gradual ups and downs toward the Tower Arch. The Tower Arch lives up to its name as one of the larger arches in the park. Though still not the largest but definitely neat to see as it towers across the sky. 

Tips for Hiking in Arches National Park 

Leave No Trace

Don’t forget to follow the principles of leaving no trace. Remember to pack out what you pack in this way so we can keep these places beautiful for the next generations. 

Plan Ahead

Always check the national park website and weather forecast. This helps you prepare for any weather changes or trail closures. That way there aren’t any surprises along the way.

Hike at Off Times

The most important tip I can give you is to start early. Depending on what time you go most often you’ll want to start earlier than 8 am to beat the crowds. For its size Arches is a super popular park that sees over 1.5 million people per year. Arches get super crowded especially during those peak seasons in spring to early fall.

Another benefit to starting earlier is you’ll stay out of the hotter parts of the day. From June to September Arches can get very hot during the day. We went in June and temperatures were in the low 100s by noon! 

Brush up on Basic First Aid

Be sure to re-stock any supplies you have used in your first aid kit. Also, be sure to revisit things in your first aid kit that you may need and also items that you haven’t used and do not think you will need. The best first aid kit is one that is tailored to your needs. 

Know Trail Etiquette

Don’t forget to brush up on hiking etiquette. In general, always try to give hikers going uphill the right of way, stay on the trail, and just be a decent person to others. You’d be surprised by how many people fail to do this. It is probably one of the most important things as it makes everyone’s experiences better. 

Bring a Map

With the rise of many hiking phone apps, it can be highly tempting to forego a paper map. I don’t typically recommend doing so and usually always bring a paper map with a waterproof case or zipblock bag. Although, for the most part technology is pretty reliable, there are times when batteries fail, or just plain bad luck happens. It is always better to have a backpack plan when these things happen. Also, be sure you know how to read a topographic map. What good is a map if you can’t even read it?

Cell Service

The service is pretty spotty. The best service is by the visitor center. Otherwise, I highly recommend downloading the trail details prior to arriving and bringing a physical park map. I use AllTrails Pro to download all of my hiking maps so I can navigate without cell service. 

Pet Allowance

Pets are not allowed in Arches or the hiking trails due to wildlife activity and fragile ecosystems. Unfortunately, this really is not a park that I would recommend bringing pets to just because of limited allowance and heat during peak times.  

Bring Water

Arches get really hot especially if you are going in the Summer, it will easily get into the 100s. The visitor center does offer filling stations at the visitor center for bottles and bladders. I would definitely take advantage of the filling stations prior to entering the park. I recommend bringing a hydration bladder with you in a light pack or daypack. 

Sun Hat and Sunscreen

Arches National Park can get pretty hot and there is not very much shade on the trails. Highly recommend wearing sunscreen to help protect your skin. Also, for further protection a hiking hat and UPF clothes are a great idea too. 

Heading up to the Delicate Arch!

Gear You Need for Hiking in Arches National Park 

Depending on what season you go will vary what you bring when I pack. But in general, I would start with the following. 

Hiking Daypack

I recommend bringing a hiking backpack with you for many reasons. A hiking backpack will allow you to bring enough water. It will allow you to use your hands for photos and carry supplies. If you are planning on doing only day hikes a lighter backpack will work.  

10 Essentials

I generally start with the 10 essentials and build from there. These essentials cover the basics for first aid, sunscreen, Headlamps and more. It’s a system created in case of emergencies!

Hiking Layers

When getting ready to dress for Arches the one thing I highly recommend is to wear breathable clothes. 

Base Layer: Depending on when you go. You will either need a long sleeve, or t-shirt base layer. If going on the summer start with moisture-wicking underwear and a synthetic or wool t-shirt or tank top. Start with a long sleeve if you are going during colder months. 

Middle Layer: For a middle layer you will want to wear something a little warmer like a fleece or puffy jacket. In the summer as you may only want to wear a moisture-wicking tank top and that may also be your base layer. For bottoms a light breathable pair of hiking pants or shorts should keep you comfortable all day.

Outer layers: Arches National Park in the 3 seasons usually gets warm and stays fairly dry; most outer layers may not be needed. However, check the forecast to plan ahead and make sure. It usually isn’t a bad idea to at least bring a waterproof layer just in case. A cheaper option is the classic but, not stylish frogg togg

Socks for hiking

Opt for a breathable pair of socks. I recommend a merino wool blend because they last long and keep your feet from becoming a “swamp”. There are a lot of awesome socks for hikers out there. My favorite is Darn Tough Micro Crew.

Hiking boots, shoes, or hiking sandals

While a few of the hiking trails in Arches National Park are paved and not strenuous. I would still recommend bringing some hiking boots or shoes because a lot of the hikes are rocky and slick. 

For hiking boots, my favorites are these Columbia Newtons or Merrell Moabs. Hiking or trail shoes are a great alternative. And with Arches being fairly warm in 3 season hiking sandals would also work. For hiking sandals, we really like our Chacos Z/1, they are a bit sturdier compared to other hiking sandals.

The winter can be a good time to go to Arches National Park

Best Time to Visit Arches National Park

The best time to visit Arches National Park is during Spring and Fall. At those times the temperatures are a little milder, about 60 to 80 degrees. Crowds can be a bit heavy during spring through fall. 

Summer gets pretty warm with temperatures exceeding 100F. Winter is much quieter, and you can hike many of the trails in solitude.

Spring: This is one of the best times to go. The temperatures are more mild ranging in the 60 to 80s. Because of the temperatures being milder at this time. This will be one of the most popular times to go.

Summer: At this time of the year temperatures can get pretty toasty. We’re talking temperatures in the 100s. When we went in June temperatures were easily around 105 during the afternoon.

But, despite it being hot the park was still packed with a high number of crowds by mid-day. At this time of the year expect big crowds with school out and families going on vacation. To beat the heat and the crowds start early and bring lots of water. 

Fall: Similar to Spring, temperatures are fairly mild ranging between 60s to 80s and sometimes cooler. Because of great temperatures this is another popular time for people to go visit. So, plan to start early.

Winter: Cooler temperatures in the 30s to 50s deter some people from coming. Having smaller crowds is probably the biggest benefit of going in the winter. Make sure to check the weather reports and NPS site for trail closures and snowy weather. Another positive is that snow and frost can make for a unique view of the park and a photographer’s dream. 

Transportation for Arches National Park 

Overall, transportation is fairly easy to get set up if you are planning on heading to Arches. Moab, which is the main town next to Arches, makes it easier to set up vehicles and other accommodations. However, due to the popularity of the park it is always better to plan months ahead, so you’ll be ready when you get there.

How to Get There

The closest airport is served by the small Canyonlands Field Airports which has daily flights from Denver and a few car rental agencies. Grand Junction Regional Airport is the closest mid-sized airport located in Grand Junction, Colorado about 110 miles away from Moab. 

How to Get Around

The best way to get around is by vehicle using either your own or a rental. The park doesn’t offer a shuttle service. There are plenty of great online sources for rental cars and if you’re wanting to rent a RV or camper van check out Outdoorsy for a good selection. 

Where to Stay

Finding a place to stay in Arches is limited and there is no lodging within the park. However, there are plenty if options in nearby towns like Moab, such as: 

Moab Springs Ranch: A neat resort located in the red cliffs of Moab, many springs flow through the resort which create a pretty contrast. The resort offers Townhouses and Bungalows and is located at the north portion of Moab. The resort provides nice amenities like a heated pool, hot tub, and private parking. Bungalows offer kitchenettes and townhomes full kitchens.

Hyatt Place Moab: A bit pricier, this hotel is only minutes away from Arches and has over 100 rooms available. There are also Casitas that provide stunning views of the red orange rock mountain views. The hotel offers access to a swimming pool, hot tub, and children’s playground. 

Bowen Motel: A little more budget friendly while not giving up on the quality. It offers the basic room amenities such as internet, refrigerator, tv, microwave. There is also a swimming pool on site. The big plus is location, it is walking distance to main parts of Moab which means easy access to dining and activities. 

Devil’s Garden Campground – Courtesy of NPS / Chris Wonderly

Camping In Arches National Park 

Devil’s Garden Campground: This is the only campground in Arches National Park. It gets reserved fairly quickly and is usually full every night. Campsites between November and February are usually first-come, first-serve. 

There are usually many camping options outside of Arches in surrounding towns. Moab usually has quite a few options. Most of the campsites will fill up on weekends and holidays but during the week usually some are available with a little luck. Other campgrounds that we’ve enjoyed:

Up the Creek: This is a tent-only family run campground nestled in Moab. We stayed here a couple times and really enjoyed how close it was to the main part of Moab and to Arches. It is fairly small and limited on sites. Does offer showers, toilets, cleaning stations, and drinking water. 

Kings Bottom: This is a beautiful campground next to the Colorado River nestled in the canyons. It works on a first come first serve basis and is a tent and small RV campground. It has toilets but doesn’t have water or hook ups.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can you not miss at Arches National Park? I would for sure do the Delicate Arch Trail it is the most popular trail and is a bit of an icon in Utah.

What hikes to do at Arches National Park? If I had to choose the top trails to do in Arches National Park. I would for sure do the Delicate Arch Trail, add the Petroglyph trail at the beginning or end, Devils Garden loop, Windows Loop and Turret Arch, and finally make a quick stop at Double Arch after the Windows section. 

What is the most iconic arch in Arches National Park? Definitely the Delicate Arch 

Is 1 day enough in Arches? 1 day is enough to do the Delicate arch and a few of the shorter trails such as the Windows section. While also driving through the whole park. I would recommend at 2 days to do a little more. Arches is the second smallest National Park in Utah, so you really don’t need any more than 3 days. 

Summary of Best Hikes in Arches National Park 

  1. Delicate Arch Trail 
  2. Delicate Arch Viewpoints 
  3. Devil’s Garden 
  4. Windows Loop and Turret Arch 
  5. Double Arch 
  6. Fiery Furnace 
  7. Landscape Arch 
  8. Balanced Rock 
  9. Park Avenue Trail 
  10. Sand Dune Arch 
  11. The Wolf Ranch and Petroglyph Trail
  12. Tower Arch 
The authors trying to pose for a good selfie under Double Arch

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about checking out Arches, use this list to check out the best hikes in Arches National Park. If you do one thing, be sure to at least view the Delicate Arch during your visit and the off-road pit stops!

Feel free to leave a comment or question down below. If you think someone might like this, be sure to share it! Also, don’t forget to pack those essentials for camping and hiking. Get outdoors and hike more, worry less.

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