A Full Guide to Visiting Arches National Park
Arches National Park is one of the five iconic national parks in Utah, and it’s famous for, you guessed it, it’s many natural arches! These beautiful arches are formed over thousands of years as the softer rock erodes from the bottom creating an arch.
Arches National Park lies in the southeastern part of Utah, boarded by the Colorado River. And Colorado itself is a hop and a skip away from Arches National Park and Moab.
That’s one of my favorite things about Utah, there are so many unique landscapes and geological formations all in their own areas throughout this state. From canyons, to arches, to slot canyons, to alcoves, and so much more. And that’s just the southern part of the state!
It took me several tries to make it to Arches, I kept going at the wrong time of the year and kept ending up in either 104-degree weather or thunderstorms. Finally early November, I drove from California to Moab, Utah (which is the town right outside of Arches National Park), and had a chance to explore this park.
When to Visit Arches National Park
The best time to visit Arches National Park is during the spring months and the fall months. Specifically April, May, October, and early November.
Although you can visit during any time of the year, the best conditions will be during the spring and fall months. The days are warm but mild, the nights are also mild and not freezing. It’s the perfect time to be in Utah and Arches National Park.
In the summer, temperatures can reach about 100 degrees. While in the winter, you will find snow on the ground and it can be more of a challenging drive to this park, as well as making hiking more challenging. If you’re planning on hiking during the winter months when there’s snow on the ground, make sure to wear a traction device like microspikes or snowshoes.
How Much Time to Spend in Arches National Park Park
Compared to most national parks in the US, this is a smaller national park that can be done for the most part in a day.
If you’re limited on time, I recommend spending at least a day here to see everything. If you have a bit more time, you can spend a day and a half here.
How Much Does it Cost to Visit Arches National Park
The entrance fee is $30 per car and it gets you into the park for one week. Or if you’re planning on visiting several times or several national parks in a year, I recommend getting the national parks pass which is $80.
I visit enough parks that I get the annual pass.
How to Avoid Crowds in Arches National Park
My best tip for avoiding crowds in Arches National Park is to be there before sunrise. I’m usually inside national parks and hiking before sunrise because I like to take photos during sunrise and in the early morning hours when the lightning is the best. But it’s also great for avoiding crowds.
In my experience, most national parks get crowded by 9am to 10am, so even if you’re not a sunrise person, I recommend being inside the park by then. And at least hiking by then.
Trails in Arches National Park
The best way to experience Arches National Park is through hiking! There are a variety of trails for all skill levels inside of the park. Here are my favorite ones.
Delicate Arch is the most iconic of the trails and arches inside Arches National Park. It’s a huge arch, seemingly in the middle of the desert. In the photos you can’t quite gauge the size of it, but in person, you’re tiny compared to it. Aside from this being the most iconic hike inside the park, I actually really enjoyed this trail. This hike 3.2 miles with 629 feet of elevation gain.
Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch was another one of my favorite hikes in Arches National Park. It’s .3 miles with 108 feet of elevation gain. But it takes you into a canyon, with several arches. It’s one of those places where you feel like a kid in a playground because you’re hiking through what feels like a slot canyon. But please don’t climb on the arches, they’re fragile and it damages them.