Arches National Park

The world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches.

Introduction

Located just 5 miles (8 km) north of Moab is Arches National Park, which contains the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches. Although over 2,000 arches are located within the park’s 76,518 acres, the park also contains an astounding variety of other geological formations. Colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks, soaring pinnacles and spires dwarf visitors as they explore the park’s viewpoints and hiking trails. A paved scenic drive takes visitors to many of the major viewpoints within the park. The park’s rock formations delight children as well as adults, with many easy trails providing opportunities for kids to get out of the car and explore the arches up close. Hikers can choose from a wide variety of trails, from short twenty minute walks leading right up to many of the largest arches in the park, to more adventurous hikes into lesser seen areas.
Distance from Moab
5 miles (8km)
Directions from Moab
The entrance of Arches is located 5 miles (8km) north of Moab, along highway 191.
Park Hours
Open year-round, 24 hours/day
Entrance Fee
$25/vehicle – Good for 7 days (Subject to change)
Visitor Center & Hours
The visitor center includes interactive exhibits, educational kiosks, a 150-seat auditorium, and a bookstore featuring guide books, maps, DVD’s, postcards, and much more. The park is open 24 hours/day, 365 days/year; however the visitor center hours vary by season. (435) 719-2299

MAP

WEBCAM 1

WEBCAM 2

Suggested Activities

2-3 Hours
Drive the 36 mile (58km) round trip Scenic Drive.
1/2 Day
Drive the Scenic Drive and hike some of the easy short trails in the park, such as the Park Avenue Trail and trails in the Windows Section of the park.
Full Day
Drive the Scenic Drive and hike some of the longer trails in the park, such as the trails to Double O Arch, Tower Arch, Delicate Arch, and Landscape Arch.
Several Days
Hikers can experience a wide variety of hiking trails, including some of the lesser-seen, yet equally spectacular areas of the park such as the “Primitive Loop” in the Devil’s Garden section of the park.

Camping and Lodging

The Devils Garden Campground is located eighteen miles from the park entrance and is open year-round. Facilities include potable water, picnic tables, grills, as well as both pit-style and flush toilets. There are no showers. Bring your own wood or charcoal for the grills. Some sites will accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length.Telephone and on-line reservations for both group and individual sites may be made through recreation.gov. Reservations are not accepted by the park, and the park does not maintain information about site availability.  
  • Individual Sites The campground has 50 individual sites which are $20 per night and will accommodate up to ten people. These sites may be reserved for nights between March 1st and October 31st. Reservations must be made no less than four days and no more than 180 days in advance. There is an additional $9 booking fee for reservations. To make a reservation, visit recreation.gov, or call (877) 444-6777, (877) 833-6777 (TDD), or (518) 885-3639. During the winter months (November 1st to February 28th) sites 1 – 24 are available on a self-serve basis at the campground.
  • Group Sites The campground has two sites for groups of eleven or more people. The Juniper Basin campsite will accommodate up to 55 people; the Canyon Wren campsite up to 35. The group camping fee is $3 per person per night, with a $33 per night minimum. No recreational vehicles or trailers are permitted in the group sites. The Canyon Wren group campsite may be reserved year-round. Juniper Basin is available from March 1st to October 31st. Reservations must be made no less than 4 days and no more than 360 days in advance. There is an additional $9 booking fee for reservations. To make a reservation, visit recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777, (877) 833-6777 (TDD), or (518) 885-3639. Unreserved group campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of arrival.
No lodging is available within the park. The closest lodging is located within the town of Moab, just 5 miles south of the entrance to the park. Moab has hotels & motels, bed & breakfasts, resorts and a large variety of guest houses and condos. Several property management companies can even take the hassle out of finding the right accommodations. Click here for a complete list of all the lodging options available in the Moab area.

Getting Around

An 18­mile paved scenic drive takes visitors to all of the major viewpoints and trailheads within the park.

Park Highlights

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base. A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base. A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base. A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base. A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base. A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base. A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base. A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

A short paved trail leads visitors to the base of Balanced Rock. The landform’s total height is 128 feet, with the huge balanced rock rising 55 feet above its base.

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

The longest natural rock span in the world, this arch’s opening is 306 feet wide – 6 feet longer than a football field. A nine story building would easily fit beneath this thin span. In 1991, a massive slab of rock fell from its underside, resulting in an even thinner ribbon of rock.

Spring Wildflowers

Spring Wildflowers

April and May bring a variety of desert wildflowers to Arches.

Double Arch

Double Arch

Located in the Windows Section of Arches National Park, Double Arch was used as a backdrop for portions of the 1988 movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Numerous other movies have been filmed in Arches National Park, including Thelma and Louise in 1991.

Park Avenue

Park Avenue

From Park Avenue parking area, the trail descends steeply into a spectacular canyon and continues down the wash to Courthouse Towers. If you have a shuttle driver, you can begin at one point and be picked up at the other. For round-trip hiking, retrace your steps along the trail rather than walk along the park road.

Arches in Winter

Arches in Winter

Winter brings a blanket of pristine snow to Arches, providing dramatic contrast to the surrounding red rocks.

Family Hiking

Family Hiking

There are many family friendly hikes in Arches, including the hike to Turret Arch in the Windows Section.

Hiking

One of the more rewarding ways to see the park is on foot. Arches features a wide variety of hikes, from short 10 minute walks (suitable for all ages) to 4 hour hikes into some of the remote sections of the park.

Hiking in the Windows Section

Ranger Guided Fiery Furnace Hike

Easy Trails

Name

Length

Time

Description

Balanced Rock

0.3 mi (0.5 km) Round Trip

15-30 min

A loop trail around the base of a fragile, picturesque rock formation.

Broken Arch

1.2 mi (2 km) Round Trip or 2 mi (3.2 km) with loop

30-60 min

From the Sand Dune Arch parking area, the trail cuts across a large meadow to the arch and continues to the campground. Loop trail leads through fin canyons with sand dunes and slickrock.

Delicate Arch Viewpoint

100 yards (91 meters) round trip

10-15 min

In addition to the short accessible trail, another (moderately strenuous) hiking trail climbs one-half mile (0.8 km) toward Delicate Arch and ends at the rim of a steep canyon that separates the viewpoint from the arch. (This is not the popular trail to Delicate Arch, which starts at the Wolfe Ranch parking area. See below.)

Desert Nature Trail

0.2 mi (0.3 km) round trip

15-30 min

Discover the adaptations of plants and animals in the desert on a self-guided nature walk. Trail guide available at the trailhead near the Visitor Center.

Double Arch

0.5 mi (0.8 km) round trip

15-30 min

A relatively flat, sandy trail leads to the base of two giant arch spans which are joined at one end.

Landscape Arch

2 mi (3.2 km) round trip

30-60 min

A relatively flat, gravel-surfaced trail leads to a spectacular ribbon of rock, whose span is more than a football field in length. Short side trips to Tunnel and Pine Tree Arches.

Sand Dune Arch

0.4 mi (0.6 km) round trip

15-30 min

Trail leads through deep sand to a secluded arch among sandstone fins. Kids love the sand!

Skyline Arch

0.4 mi (0.6 km) round trip

10-20 min

A short hike on a flat, well-defined trail.

The Windows

1 mi (1.6 km) round trip

30-60 min

A gentle climb up a gravel loop trail leads to three massive arches (North and South Windows and Turret Arch). An alternate return, slightly longer, is by way of the primitive loop around the back of the two Windows. The primitive loop trail starts at the South Window viewpoint.

Moderate Trails

Name

Length

Time

Description

Park Avenue

1 mi (1.6 km) one way

30-60 min

From Park Avenue parking area, the trail descends steeply into a spectacular canyon and continues down the wash to the Courthouse Towers parking area. If you have a shuttle driver, you can begin at one parking area and be picked up at the other. For round-trip hiking, retrace your steps along the trail.

Tower Arch

3.4 mi (5.6 km) round trip

2-3 hrs

The trail climbs a steep, but short, rock wall, then cuts across a valley and then meanders through sandstone fins and sand dunes. An alternate, shorter trail (0.3 mile [0.4 km] one way), begins at the end of the four-wheel-drive road on the west side of Tower Arch. This unpaved road washes out quickly in rainstorms; inquire at the visitor center about road conditions before heading out.

Difficult Trails

Name

Length

Time

Description

Devils Garden Primitive Loop

7.2 mi (11.5 km) round trip

3-5 hrs

Longest of the maintained trails in the park, the Devils Garden Trail leads to eight awe-inspiring arches. Expect narrow ledges with rocky surface hiking and scrambling on slickrock. Not recommended when rock is wet or snowy.

Double O Arch

4 mi (6.4 km) round trip

2-3 hrs

Beyond Landscape Arch, the trail becomes more challenging as it climbs over sandstone slabs; footing is rocky; there are narrow ledges with exposure to heights. Spur trails lead to Partition and Navajo Arches. Dark Angel is one-half mile (0.8 km) farther. Trail guide available at trailhead.

Delicate Arch

3 mi (4.8 km) round trip

2-3 hrs

Take at least 1 quart (1 liter) of water per person! There is no shade. Open slickrock with some exposure to heights. The first half-mile is a wide, well-defined trail. Upon reaching the slickrock, follow the rock cairns. The trail climbs gradually and levels out toward the top of this rock face. Just before you get to Delicate Arch, the trail goes along a rock ledge for about 200 yards. Elevation change: 480 feet (146 meters)

Commercial Tours

The following Moab companies offer commercial tours in Arches National Park:

Business

Phone

Type of Tour

Adrift Adventures

435-259-8594

Van/bus tours departing 3 times per day, full & half day backcountry 4×4 tours

Canyonlands Field Institute

800-860-5262

Sunset tour with short hikes

Deep Desert Expeditions

435-259-1565

Guided Hiking in Arches and Canyonlands

Dreamride

435-259-6419

Guided Hiking in Arches and Canyonlands

Hike Moab

208-290-4781

Guided Hiking in Arches and Canyonlands

Moab Adventure Center

888-622-4097

Arches bus tours

NAVTEC Expeditions

800-833-1278

Front and back country tours available

Plateau Restoration

435-259-7733

Van tour with optional hikes

Red Rock Express

800-259-2869

Front country scenic tours

Windgate Adventures

435-260-9802

Photography tours in Arches and Canyonlands

Photography

Arches National Park is a paradise for photographers. Under conditions of constantly changing light, the red rock landscape provides limitless photographic opportunities. Often, the difference between an average photograph and an exceptional photograph is good lighting. Low sun angles at sunrise and sunset can add brilliant color to the red rock. Scattered clouds can also add depth to an image and a passing storm can provide extremely dramatic lighting.

Photographing Delicate Arch

Over one million people visit Arches National Park every year, and just about everyone wants to see all of the major views within the park. One of the most heavily visited arches is Delicate Arch. As a result of its popularity, you should always expect to see people surrounding this world famous arch. Although it may occasionally happen, it is unrealistic to expect a solitary experience around Delicate Arch. Be courteous to other visitors during your visit to the arch, and do not expect people to move away from this world famous landmark during your photographs. Remember that not everyone who visits this arch is a photographer. Most people simply want to experience the joy of standing next to such a beautiful landmark. People can add scale to any photo of Delicate Arch, so make your visit a great shared experience for everyone involved. Try not to limit your creativity by simply capturing images of iconic places using the same composition as countless photographers before you. Arches National Park contains thousands of arches and vast expanses of breathtaking scenery just waiting for you to introduce your own personal style and interpretation. For those seeking solitude, Arches has much to offer beyond its iconic places. For example, consider a hike to Double O Arch, returning via the Primitive Trail, for some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. Just remember to bring enough memory cards to capture all of the great views!

Best Times / Locations to Photograph

Early Morning Late Afternoon
Moab Fault Park Avenue
The Three Gossips Courthouse Towers
Sheep Rock Petrified Dunes
The Great Wall Balanced Rock
Turret Arch The Garden of Eden
The Spectacles North and South Windows
Double Arch Delicate Arch
Cache Valley Fiery Furnace
Wolfe Ranch Skyline Arch
Landscape Arch Fins in Devil Garden
Double O Arch Tower Arch

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