Arches National Park
All orthodox red rock-ists make a pilgrimage to the Holey Land in their lifetime, but many find their devotion leads them back to Arches every equinox.
God is a stonemason…and Utah's Arches National Park is the back room of his workshop. Stone bridges, gossiping monoliths, mountains with windows, city-sized sandstone pipe organs…They look like experiments. Or mistakes. Ambitious, dangerous ones. Delicate Arch is the icon,* looping 65 feet out of an orange bluff according to its own invented axes, but every single hike in Arches will show you something that changes your perspective: the metaphysics of Landscape Arch; a Courthouse and a Tower of Babel on Park Avenue; the lost souls in the Fiery Furnace. It’s all waiting, quietly, like an engineering project abandoned as impractical. Read more...
Planning your trip to Arches National Park
Arches National Park Location & Directions
Arches National Park is located in Moab, Utah, (just 30 minutes from Canyonlands National Park) and is accessible by air or car from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Grand Junction. Here’s how we recommend getting to Arches.
Nearest Airports to Arches National Park
Depending on where you're coming from, there are two airports we recommend near Arches National Park:
- GRAND JUNCTION REGIONAL AIRPORT: Flights from Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix and Dallas. A 1.5-hour drive to the park.
- SALT LAKE CITY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: Major airport with direct flights from many foreign and domestic destinations. A 3.5-hour drive to the park.
Note: Some visitors choose to fly into Las Vegas and visit other Utah National Parks on their way to Arches. Las Vegas is a 6.5-hour drive to Arches.
Driving Directions to Arches National Park
Take a look at how far Arches is from some notable nearby destinations.
- FROM SALT LAKE CITY, UT (230 miles): Take I-15 S toward Las Vegas. Merge onto US-6 E (exit 258) toward US-89 E Price/Manti. Take US-191 S (exit 182) toward Crescent Junction/Moab. Turn right onto US-191 S to Moab.
- FROM LAS VEGAS, NV (453 miles): Take I-15 N toward Salt Lake City. Take exit 132 for I-70 E. Take exit 182 (Crescent Junction) for US-191 S and follow signs to Arches National Park.
Getting Around Arches
Try carpooling (or biking). You’ll feel like a responsible resident of planet Earth and you’ll be fighting one fewer car for a parking spot at popular trailheads. Speaking of parking spots at popular trail heads, they fill up like a horse race on payday, so opt for some paths less taken (it will make all the difference) or consider getting using a local taxi service or commercial touring company that will drop you off and pick you up from the park. If you do go to popular areas like Devils Garden, Delicate Arch or the Windows, don’t idle at full parking lots. Move along (a scenic road loops through the park and passes many trailheads) and try back later.
Where to stay near Arches National Park
If St. Louis is the Gateway to the West, then Moab is the Gateway to the Wild West. It’s close to enough rugged, jaw-dropping beauty to make even the most seasoned ogler sprain their mandible but full of enough creature comforts to pamper the civilized. So go ahead! Wander, get lost, worship some red rock and then mosey back to town for some grub, soft sheets and a cold one. With a plethora of cafes, breweries and motels, you won’t be hurting for options.
View a list of nearby hotels and campgrounds
Arches National Park Hours
The park is open all year (24 hours a day).
The visitor center is located just inside the park, near the main entrance. It is just off US-191, about five miles north of Moab, and is open daily during the following hours:
- April – September: 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- October – early November: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- November: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- December – February: 9:00am - 4:00 p.m.
The visitor center is closed on December 25th.
Arches National Park Fees & Permits
The following passes allow access to Arches for seven consecutive days:
- Private vehicle: $30
- Motorcycle: $25
- Person entering by foot or bicycle: $15 (Under 15 is free of charge)
These passes admit the pass owner and accompanying passengers to all U.S. national parks (including Arches) and federal recreational lands:
- Annual Pass: $80
- 4th Grade Annual Pass: free
- Military Annual Pass: free
- Lifetime Senior Pass (62 and older): $80
- Annual Senior Pass (62 and older): $20
- Lifetime Access Pass (available for those with a permanent disability): free
- Southeast Utah Annual Pass (access to Arches, Canyonlands and Natural Bridges National Monument): $50
When to visit Arches National Park
Arches may be hot and dry, but it’s as popular as a the captain of the football team in an ’80s movie. That means crowds, so plan your trip wisely. If you’re driving, try visiting between 7 and 8 in the morning or 3 to 5 at night. Temperatures are cooler then and you’ll feel cool just for planning ahead.
“My, what moderate weather we’re having,” people who aren’t at Arches are known to say. In the lingo of nature documentary one-liners, this is a land of extremes: Temps can boomerang 40 degrees from day to night here and summer highs can reach well over 100 degrees. Plus, there’s the the late-summer monsoons to contend with. So if you come from pale potato-farmer stock or have a reaction to withering heat (anyone? anyone?) it’s best to visit in early spring or fall, when the weather cleans up its act a bit and pretends that this time, it has really changed for good. If you do go in summer, check the forecast before you go — for heat and for monsoon rain. If you go in winter, expect highs between 30 to 50 degrees and nighttime lows of 0 to 20 degrees. In other words, bundle up, put on your moonboots and pin a note to your back in case your brain freezes and you forget your way back to the car.
Oh, and Arches may be hot and dry/cold and windy/highly variable, but it’s as popular as a the captain of the football team in an ’80s movie. That means crowds, so plan your trip wisely. If it’s the high season and you’re driving, try arriving between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. or 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. Temperatures are cooler then and you’ll feel cool just for planning ahead.
Best Hikes in Arches National Park
The good thing about Arches is that anywhere you go, there you are, and anywhere that happens to be the there of wherever you are also happens to be guaranteed to be mind-meltingly gorgeous. But, as good as everywhere is, there are some attractions you’ll kick yourself for missing. We’re talking 100 percent, wish-you-were-here postcard gold. So if your time is limited and you can’t see everything, make a list, check it twice and head for the petrified hills!
- Delicate Arch: Going to Arches and not seeing Delicate Arch is like flying to the moon, then staying in the space shuttle to clip your toenails. You’ve seen the license plates — an orange-red span of rock thinning against a blue sky — but it’s even better in person with the snowy La Sals in the background.
- Landscape Arch: Possibly even delicater than Delicate Arch, this 290-foot sandstone spiderweb makes you feel like you might be the last person to see it intact. It’s an easy 0.8-mile hike from the Devils Garden Trailhead with lots of other arches you can add on if you like that kind of thing.
- Fiery Furnace: The name may not inspire confidence — after all, you’ve lived your whole life so as to avoid hell — but the actual experience of this hike is closer to heaven. A two-mile labyrinth of rock fins with no marked trail, this adventure requires a permit and a willingness to have Mother Nature shake you by the shoulders.
- Corona and Bowtie Arches
- Double Arch
- View all hikes at Arches
Things to Do in Arches National Park
The following activities at Arches require a permit:
- Fiery Furnace
Arches contains many viewpoints, picnic areas and trails that are accessible to all. The visitor center is ADA-compliant, as is the Delicate Arch viewpoint (not the trail), Wolfe Ranch Cabin & Art Panel, and the Park Avenue viewpoint, to name a few. Other trails are barrier-free — they’re designed for accessibility, but may contain occasional obstacles or conditions caused by weather. Among the barrier-free trails are the Double Arch trail, the first 100 yards of the Windows trail and the Devils Garden trail to Landscape Arch. The scenic drive is another great option for taking in the various vistas and landmarks.
Services for the deaf and blind are provided at the visitor center and service animals are allowed in the park (but don’t forget plenty of water and poop bags).
Devils Garden Campground site 4H is considered ADA-compliant.
Dogs at Arches National Park
Dogs are allowed (on leash):
- At all park roads
- In parking areas
- In picnic areas
- At Devils Garden Campground
Dogs are not allowed:
- At any overlooks
- On any trails
- In the visitor center
Travel Bureau Information
Request Arches Info & Brochure