Are you planning a trip to Moab and wondering what the best hikes in Arches National Park are? Hiking in Arches National Park is amazing!
I have been many times and am excited to share with you this Arches National Park itinerary which will include some of the best hikes in Arches National Park.
Arches National Park is one of the most amazing Utah national parks. You will not be disappointed. Let’s explore this West Coast national park and all it has to offer so you can know exactly what to expect and which hikes you want to do.
Let’s explore the top 10 best Hikes in Arches National Park!
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Plan A Trip To Arches National Park
I always like to start at the beginning when planning a trip. So let’s talk logistics first, and answer any question you may have when planning your trip to Arches National Park.
Where is Arches National Park?
Arches National Park is located near Moab, Utah. Moab is a great town with a ton of fun things to do. Moab is about 3.5 hours from Salt Lake City. If you are doing a mighty five road trip and starting in Las Vegas it is about 6.5 hours away.
Where Should I Stay When Visiting Arches National Park?
If camping is your thing, we love staying at the KOA. The view from the campsite is incredible. Moab is also a great place for a Utah family reunion. You might look for a VRBO for accommodations for larger groups.
How Much Time Should I Spend at Arches National Park?
If you want to hike the best hikes in Arches National Park, I would recommend 2.5 days. However, Moab is so fun you might want to add on more days to check out the other activities in Moab such as Hell’s Revenge.
Is Arches National Park Close to Any Other National Parks?
Yes, Canyonlands is located about 30 minutes away. There are also some great state parks located nearby that are worth checking out. Dead Horse State Park and Goblin Valley. Capitol Reef National Park is about 2 hours away.
Arches National Park Admission and Hours
Arches is open 24 hours
The Visitor Center is open 8:00am – 5:00pm daily
Admission is $30 per vehicle
Arches National Park is included in the America the Beautiful Pass
We went in May and the park was hitting capacity by 10:00 am. The line to get into Arches was at least 20-30 minutes when we arrived at 8:30 am. Plan to be early during the busy season.
Don’t Lose Hope
If you get turned away from the park don’t lose hope. We went after 5:00 pm two days of our trip and had no trouble getting in. Actually, they do not charge if you come late in the day.
Arches National Park Visitor Center
The visitor center is located at the front of the park, right at the entrance. This is a great place to talk with the park rangers.
We usually will participate in the Junior Ranger Program which is a fun activity for the kids. The visitor center is where you will get your books and badges.
The books really helped us as we hiked with kids, it was a great distraction.
There is a fun little gift shop at the visitor center. We love getting a few souvenirs when we visit the national parks.
1. Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is the most popular and best hike at Arches National Park. It is a hard hike but you can not visit Arches National Park and not hike to the Delicate Arch.
Difficulty: Hard (480ft elevation gain)
Time: 2-3 hours
Is There Parking at Delicate Arch?
Yes, there is a large parking lot at Delicate Arch Trailhead. There are also restrooms.
What is the Best Time of Day to Hike Delicate Arch?
Sunrise and sunset are the most popular times to hike Delicate Arch. One of the main reasons is the temperature. It is hot in the summer and going in the early morning or night will be the best time to beat the heat.
Sunrise and sunset are also the best time to take photographs.
If you get up early enough you can beat the crowds. We hiked at sunset and it was not too crowded.
Hiking at Arches National Park – Delicate Arch Trail
The trail starts off flat on a dirt path. You will pass by a historic cabin and petroglyphs but those are better to explore on your way back. As you continue on the trail it will turn into a steep incline up the rock.
This part is really hard because of the elevation gain. Once you reach the top you will continue for a time. The trail is hard to find when you are climbing the rock. Luckily, the trail is very popular so many people are coming and going which helps you know which way to go.
You will not see the arch until the very end of the trail. It makes the hike harder not knowing how much longer you have till you reach your destination. You know you are close when you get to a point where you have to climb up a set of rock steps and continue on a narrow rock path with a slight drop-off. As you round the corner the Delicate Arch will appear. It is a beautiful reward for a hard hike!
Is Delicate Arch Trail Good for Kids?
Yes, your kids can hike Delicate Arch but be prepared for some complaining! Take lots of breaks and drink a lot of water along the trail. If your kids are afraid of heights be sure to hold their hands towards the end of the hike. There is a small drop off but it really isn’t that bad.
I took my 8 and 5-year old on the trail and they did great. My 5 year old said, “I climbed a mountain and the arch was such a beautiful reward”
Viewpoints at Delicate Arch
There are two viewpoints once you reach the arch. If you are afraid of height stick to the first viewpoint. There are large rocks to sit on and admire the arch. Viewpoint two is a little farther, but you can actually walk out to the arch. With kids, we stuck to the first viewpoint and still got great photographs.
Make sure to bring water. It is recommended that you bring 1 quart per person. There is not much shade on this hike so you will be exposed to the sun. Be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat. Snacks are also a good thing to bring.
One thing to mention is that this hike requires a lot of energy and stamina. As we hiked, I noticed both young and old having to sit down and rest. Even if you are in great shape this hike is a challenge. Tell yourself to keep going because the reward is worth it when you get to the top. It is a mental game!
Delicate Arch is the highlight of Arches National Park. It is long but worth it. I recommend hiking at sunset and making this the only hike you do that day. We arrived in Moab around 5:00 pm and went straight to Arches National Park. We were able to hike and then rest afterward. It was still hot when we hit the trail at 6:00 pm.
We were all very tired after the hike but one thing that was nice was that the hike down is much easier than the hike up.
Plan to hike Delicate Arch! It is the best hikes at Arches National Park.
2. Park Avenue Viewpoint Trailhead
Now we will plan your Arches National Park itinerary. This plan will give you an overview of what hikes are available in the park, how difficult they are, and how much time you will want to spend at each stop. Remember, this plan comes after you have hiked Delicate Arch.
The first official stop you will make is Park Avenue. This is more of a viewpoint with an optional hike.
Time: 20 minutes – 1 hour
Is There a Parking Lot?
Yes, there is a small parking lot. There are usually spots available because most people tend to just check out the viewpoint and leave.
Hiking at Arches National Park – Park Avenue
Most people stick to the viewpoint because you can see phenomenal views without having to walk very far. The Park Avenue trail is a one-way trail that is moderately difficult. It has great views but I feel like you can get those same views from your car as you drive to the next stop.
I recommend just checking out the viewpoint and moving on.
3. Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock is the next major stop. It is worth pulling your car over and checking out.
Time: 20- 30 minutes
Hikes in Arches National Park – Balanced Rock Trail
This hike extends around the base of balanced rock. It is easy and fun. My kids especially liked it because with all the unique rock formations it easily got their imaginations going and they wanted to play pretend. Balanced Rock is a great stop for kids.
4. The Windows
The windows area is worth a visit. There are two hikes in this area. The Windows Trail and Double Arch. Both are easy and great for both the young and old. Let’s explore the Windows Trail first.
Time: 2-3 hours in the windows area
Is There Parking at the Windows Trail?
Yes, there is an upper lot that has easy access to the Windows Trail. If this lot is full you can park at the lower lot which is closer to Double Arch Trail. It will make your hike longer if you park at the lower lot. We did have difficulty finding a spot but eventually got lucky.
Hikes in Arches National Park – Windows Trail
What is great about the Windows trail is that you can see where you are going. The trail leads to the North and South Windows as well as the Turret Arch. It is an easy direct path. This hike is great for all ages.
5. Double Arch
Double Arch is one of the best hikes at Arches National Park. It is easy and beautiful.
Time: 1 hour
Hikes in Arches National Park – Double Arch Trail
Double Arch trail is a short hike with a spectacular view. As you approach the arch you have the option to climb up and peek out the window of the arch. Once you reach the arch climbing on the rocks is a fun reward.
6. Fiery Furnace Viewpoint
If you want to hike Fiery Furnace you will need to plan ahead. This is a ranger-led hike that needs to be reserved in advance. (not available for 2021)
Time: 4-6 hours
Is There a Parking Lot?
Yes, there is a nice size lot near the viewpoint and trailhead.
Hiking at Arches National Park – Fiery Furnace
Like I said, this hike is ranger-led or you can obtain an individual permit. Children under 5 are not allowed on this trail. This hike does have an additional cost.
The hike is challenging due to the physical demands of the terrain. There are areas with broken rock, drop-offs, and narrow places that you will have to squeeze through. There are also areas where you have to physically pull yourself up.
Although this hike is challenging, it would be a great adventure! It is one of the hikes in Arches National Park to conisder for sure.
When is the Hike Available?
The hike is available from May 1 – to September 26th. Hikes begin daily at 9:00 am and 9:30 am.
How Much Does It Cost to Hike?
Children: 5-12 $5-8
How Do I Reserve My Spot for the Fiery Furnace Hike?
You can reserve your spot up to six months in advance through Recreation.gov
Fiery Furnace Viewpoint
If you were not able to get a ranger-led tour, you can still check out the viewpoint. The sandstone takes the shape of many interesting rock formations. It is a great view.
7 and 8. Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch
Both Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch Trails begin at the same spot. You will come to the Sand Dune Arch first and if you want to continue you will arrive at the Broken Arch. Let’s start with Sand Dune Arch.
Time: 20 -30 minutes
Hiking at Arches National Park -Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch is a great hike for kids. It is short and provides a fun arch to look at. There is a lot of sand all around the arch. It is a good spot to take your shoes off and relax. One of the best things about Sand Dune Arch is that it is shaded most of the day. That shade makes it one of the best hikes in Arches National Park in my book!
Time: 2-3 hours
Hikes in Arches National Park – Broken Arch
If you want to continue hiking after you have viewed the Sand Dune Arch you can follow the trail about a mile and check out the Broken Arch. It is not really broken but is very thin. Hopefully, it will be around for many years to come.
9. Skyline Arch
Skyline Arch is another great short hike. It is great for kids!
Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Is There a Parking Lot?
No, there are some pull-offs close by but no official parking lot.
Hiking at Arches National Park – Skyline Arch
The Skyline Arch is great because you can see the Arch the whole time you hike. It is nice to know exactly how much farther you have on your hike. This hike is short which is great! It is one of the best hikes in Arches National park for kids!
10 - 12. Devils Garden Trailhead
Devils Garden Trails are located at the back of the park. They are intense and require a lot of energy. There are three trails which include: Landscape Trail, Double O Arch, and the Devils Garden Trail.
Is there a Parking Lot?
Yes, This is one of the most popular areas of the park. There is a large parking lot with many spaces.
Hiking at Arches National Park – Landscape Trail
Time: 2-3 hours
Landscape Arch Trail has some elevation gain. It wasn’t a bad hike but if I were hiking with kids I would not continue down the Devils Garden Trail past the Landscape Arch. It is a really long hike before you reach Double O Arch. I think most kids would tire out. Not to mention the complete drop-offs.
Hikes in Arches National Park – Double O Arch
Time: Most of the day
Double O Arch is a long hike. It does have elevation changes and rocky footing. There are drop-offs and even places where you have to jump across a rock (with drop-offs)
The last time my husband and I hiked this trail we had a 1-year-old. We put her in a hiking backpack and set off. My husband was in front of me so I could not see the huge gap you had to jump across. I do not like heights) He jumped with my baby and I jumped right after him because I wanted to protect my baby. He was laughing, I was not. I do not recommend taking kids on this hike. I am way too nervous with the drop-offs at the end of the hike.
Plus, I wasn’t super impressed with Double O Arch. I think Double Arch is more impressive. It doesn’t take hours to get there!
The entire Garden Trail continues to a primitive trail from Double O Arch and continues a total of 7.9 miles.
14. Tower Arch
Tower Arch is a remote and difficult hike.
Time: Half a Day
The Tower Arch trail is very secluded. Many people do not venture out to this part of the park. There is some major elevation gain which makes the trail a little harder. I have not hiked this trail. It is one of the harder hikes in Arches National Park.
Driving Through Arches National Park
As you plan your Arches National Park itinerary, keep in mind that as you drive through the park there are pull offs and viewpoints everywhere. Take the time to jump out of your car and take photos.
It takes about 3 hours to drive through the whole park without hiking and only stopping at the viewpoints. I don’t recommend doing this if you are able to hike, however I wanted to let you know that driving through Arches is an incredible experience if hiking is not an option.
Best Hikes In Arches National Park
I hope you have enjoyed reading the “best hikes at Arches National Park”. Hopefully, this guide will help you plan your trip! Arches National Park is an amazing place to visit. You are going to love it!
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