Where else can you see over 2,000 natural rock arches and stunning desert scenery that seems to be from a distant planet? Despite the rising visitor numbers, Arches National Park is a must-visit playground for every road-tripper or desert-lover.
The Landscape: With over 2,000 arches, imposing sandstone cliffs, and balanced rocks perched atop impossible-looking bases, Arches NP boasts some of the most dramatic desert scenery in the U.S.
Easy to Explore: With an 18-mile scenic drive, a couple of detours, and mostly short hikes, see the park’s top highlights in a single day and stick around a while longer to experience all of its gems.
Hollywood: It’s no surprise that Arches’ eye-catching desert landscape is a top choice for Hollywood film directors. Thelma and Louise, the Hulk, and Indiana Jones are some of the blockbusters filmed at Arches.
The best time to visit Arches National Park is during spring and early fall.
Winter: even daytime temperatures are cold in Southern Utah. The short days mean you’ll likely need two days to properly explore the park in good weather, but frequent snow can alter your plans.
Spring: pleasant weather and little chance of trail or road closures make spring a great time to visit Arches NP. Longer days in late spring mean more can be seen at Arches on a single day.
Summer: it’s very hot and dry, not to mention very crowded at Arches. Late summer thunderstorms can cause flash flooding and damage to trails.
Fall: the days are still long in early fall, but the summer heat is less frequent. By late fall, it is possible to experience brief but extremely cold weather around Arches and even snow.
Arches NP is small, so one day is enough for exploring the park’s main highlights, including a few short hikes to top sites. This, of course, depends on the weather and the length of the day.
If you can add another day or a half day, this unlocks the opportunity to take it slow on the scenic drive and to do one of the longer hikes in the parks.
There’s only one campground inside Arches NP, and finding a free spot is challenging. Most visitors stay five miles south in Moab, a tourist-centric small city that boasts a wide range of accommodation and dining options. Additional campgrounds are found on BLM land along scenic State Route 128.
Here are all the Moab accommodations that can be booked online via Booking.com.
Arches NP has three main sections: Devils Garden, The Windows, and Delicate Arch. Travel the length of the 18-mile scenic drive, branching east twice to explore the Windows and Delicate Arch. Along the way, stop at scenic viewpoints and hike relatively short trails to the park’s main attractions centering around natural arches and impressive sandstone rock formations. Here’s a guide to the top 10 things to do in Arches NP.