Things to do in Arches National Park (+ itineraries)

Looking for the best things to do in Arches National Park? In this guide we’re sharing everything you need to know before visiting Arches National Park, including the best hikes, itinerary options, where to stay, tips for the area, and more!

For the final stop on our two month Southern Utah road trip, we visited one of the most iconic spots in the entire state and our final park of the Mighty Five: Arches National Park. 

Despite driving through Moab and even staying for multiple days in the area before, either the weather or things closing for the season had stopped us from visiting this popular park, but not this time!

We spent a day and a half exploring as much of Arches National Park as possible, including seeing the famous sights, hiking unique trails, eating at local spots in town, and admiring views from our van, and although we were slightly worried the park would be a bit overrated or that we’d get “arched out,” we had such a blast!

Devils Garden Trail Arches National Park

Watch our experience at Arches National Park: Day 1 & Day 2

Every arch in the park is unique from the others, making seeing each one a different experience and knowing that someday, not all of these arches would still be standing, made visiting the park an extra special experience.

And in this guide, we’re sharing all of our tips, where to stay, what to eat, and the best things to do in Arches National Park, so that you can have the best experience possible while exploring this natural wonder. 

Leave No Trace Principles

Before embarking on your adventure, please review the Leave No Trace principles to ensure you leave every place better than you found it, so that others can enjoy these beautiful places for many years to come!

  1. Plan ahead & prepare. Make sure you research and prepare for every adventure so that you know the rules, stay safe, and to minimize resource damage.
  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces. Stay on the trail and only camp in designated areas, as well as the required length away from water sources.
  3. Dispose of waste properly. Whatever you pack in, pack it out! Make sure to carry out your trash, as well as any trash you find. If you have a dog, please do not leave poop bags on the trail. For human waste, use a trowel to dig a hole far from water sources or use a wag bag (sometimes required).
  4. Leave what you find. Do not take any items from the trail with you, including rocks, plants, or artifacts.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts. Know the rules of where you can and cannot have campfires and if allowed, use designated fire rings. Use local firewood to prevent bringing any pests or diseases to the area you’re visiting and make sure to fully extinguish your fire.
  6. Respect wildlife. Keep your distance from wildlife, control your pets on the trail, and never ever feed them! Make sure to keep your food stored properly as well (we like this bear canister).
  7. Be considerate of other visitors. Be respectful to others on the trail. Hikers going uphill have the right of way on hikes and it’s always courteous to let those quicker than you pass. Avoid playing music out loud, talking loudly, and having your pets bother others.

Note: this guide contains affiliate links, which means that if you use the links provided and make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. We will only ever recommend products we truly love, actually use during our adventures, and think you can benefit from too!

About Arches National Park

Arches National Park

A visit to Arches National Park is like a visit into a tiny snapshot in time. There are over 2,000 arches in the park that take millions of years to be created and can be destroyed in a matter of seconds. It’s truly mind boggling to think about how lucky we are to be alive to witness these unique formations in their current state and to imagine what the park may be like for future generations.

So how are these natural arches formed? The simplest way we can explain it is that basically over time, the layers of sandstone are forced upward and crack in mostly parallel lines, like on baked bread. They then erode, revealing fractures in the rock, rain water seeps between the cracks, and in the winter that water freezes and expands, breaking off pieces of sandstone. Small cavities begin to form and grow larger with each storm and eventually become a fin. As erosion continues, these fins turn into arches.

When to visit Arches National Park

Moab Weather

While Arches National Park and its campground are open 365 days a year, your experience will vary throughout the seasons, both with weather, crowds, and openings in town.

Winter

Winter is a great time to visit to beat the crowds, but you may run into some very cold weather and very occasional snow and ice shutting down the roads. 

If you choose to visit in the winter, make sure to bring microspikes for the trails, as they can get extra slick with ice. When we were visiting Moab in November 2019, it had snowed one night and the next morning, two people slipped near the Delicate Arch and died, so please be careful if hiking in slick conditions at Arches National Park. 

One other important thing to know is that outside of the park, in Moab, a good amount of businesses shut down or limit their hours for the winter season, which typically starts in November and goes until Spring Break in March. You’ll definitely still be able to get groceries and eat out, but you will have less options (some of our favorite spots close) and may not get the full experience.

Spring & Fall

The most temperate and popular seasons to visit are April-May and mid-September-October, when the daytime highs average between 60-80ºF. We visited Arches National Park during the last couple days of April and the mornings were cooler, but the afternoons were in the 80s, which felt a lot hotter with all of the sunshine and no tree coverage.

If you choose to visit around April, keep in mind that schools across the US will be on Spring Break, making the park busier. And Memorial Day in May also brings more crowds to the area.

This year during Memorial Day, Arches National Park had to shut down at least once, sometimes twice, per day, as it reached capacity. What this means is that they did not let anyone in for hours, until others had left and opened up more parking.

Whenever we go back, we’d love to visit in October, when crowds have died down some, the weather is still nice, and spots in town are still open.

Summer

While many people visit in the summer, we’d highly suggest visiting during the other times of the year, as the temperatures routinely climb over 100ºF in the summer, along with frequent afternoon thunderstorms.

As we write this guide in July, the current temperature in Moab is 109ºF, so if you do plan to visit in the summer, pack LOTS of water, get started early, stay somewhere with a pool to cool down, and wear tons of sunscreen. We did get a bit warm in Moab even when the temperatures were in the 80s, so we cannot imagine hiking in 100 degrees.

Getting to + around Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located in Southeastern Utah, in the town of Moab. While this town is popular with tourists due to its proximity to the park and growing pretty rapidly (every time we drive through there are many new buildings), it’s still a pretty remote, small town and takes a little bit of effort to get to. 

However, once you arrive, you’ll have access to lots of restaurants, hotel options, tours and outfitters, a couple grocery stores, and more. Here’s how long you can expect your journey to Arches National Park to take you, depending on where you’re coming from and how you’re getting there.

Flying to Arches National Park

If you plan to fly to visit Arches National Park, the best airport would be Salt Lake City (SLC), but Denver (DEN) or Las Vegas (LAS) could also be decent options depending on where else you plan to go. All major airlines fly into these airports, so getting a flight should be pretty easy and affordable. 

Depending on which city you fly into, here’s how long you can expect to drive:

Salt Lake City, Utah: 3 hours 40 minutes, 235 miles
Denver, Colorado: 6 hours 3 minutes, 375 miles
Las Vegas, Nevada: 9 hours 23 minutes, 613 miles

Some of the smaller towns in Utah and Colorado offer daily connecting flights from Salt Lake City and Denver, which would get you closer to Moab. Moab also has its own small airport, Canyonlands Field Airport in Moab (CNY), which has flights from United and Delta.

Here’s how long you can expect to drive if you were to fly into one of these cities:

Canyonlands Field Airport (CNY): 21 minutes, 18 miles
St. George, Utah: 4 hours 40 minutes, 335 miles
Grand Junction, Colorado: 1 hour 43 minutes, 110 miles 

Driving to Arches National Park

If you plan to drive to Arches National Park, here’s how long you can expect to drive from other popular destinations nearby.

Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky: 37 minutes, 28 miles
Capitol Reef National Park: 2 hours 59 minutes, 180 miles
Zion National Park: 4 hours 56 minutes, 341 miles
Bryce Canyon National Park: 4 hours 13 minutes, 246 miles
Page, AZ: 4 hours 30 minutes, 270 miles
Grand Canyon National Park: 5 hours 40 minutes, 331 miles

Getting Around Arches National Park

Unlike Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Arches National Park does not have a park shuttle. You will need to either rent a car or drive your own to get around or hire a tour to show you the top sites. 

Where to stay at Arches National Park

When visiting Arches National Park, the best place to stay is in Moab! Just minutes from the park entrance, Moab is very convenient to the park and offers everything you need, including food, gas, groceries, and shops. Here are some of our top suggestions of places to stay in Moab!

Under Canvas Moab

Airbnbs + VRBOs

Bright & Charming Home Right in Town (1 bedroom, 1 bath): This cabin has high cathedral ceilings, tons of windows, a washer and dryer, and patio, making it a great place to relax after long days in the national parks.

Casa Moab Casita (1 bedroom, 1 bath): This super cute casita is in a complex located in downtown Moab, with a full kitchen, great living area, and shared sauna, grill, and fire pit.

Kayenta, Westside Flats (1 bedroom, 1 bath): This apartment has a queen bed, full kitchen, private covered patio, and is walkable to town!

West 9 Cozy Cabin (1 bedroom, 1 bath): This studio cabin sleeps 4, with a bed and bunk beds, making it a good option for families exploring. While it doesn’t have a full kitchen, it has a mini fridge and microwave, with a shared grill in the common area. This is a good hotel alternative!

Hotels

Moab has all the standard hotel options you can think of, which can be a bit pricey, especially during the busier season. A handful of the ones we’d recommend are:

Campground in the park

Devils Garden Campground
Devils Garden is the only campground in Arches National Park. The sites are reservable from March 1 to October 31 (the reservations open 6 months in advance) and are usually full every night during the high season. Between November and February the campground is first-come, first-served.

There are 51 sites, which cost $25 per night and do not offer any water or electrical hookups, but do have drinking water, picnic tables, grills, and flush toilets. You can reserve your site on the recreation.gov website.

Campgrounds outside the park

Kayenta Campground
The Kayenta Campground is located in Dead Horse Point State Park, which would make this a perfect spot to explore the Island in the Sky District and the state park, as well as a somewhat convenient location for Arches.

The 21 sites are $50 per night and are equipped for RVs or tents. All come with a lighted shaded structure, picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads. Each site has RV electrical hookups and there are restrooms in the campground, but there is no water.

Wingate Campground
The Wingate Campground is also located in Dead Horse Point State Park. There are 31 sites, 20 RV or tent camping and 11are hike-in only. The RV sites are $50 per night and the hike-in are $40. All sites have fire pits, picnic tables under a shaded shelter and access to bathrooms.

Horse Thief Campground
Horse Thief Campground is located along Highway 313 on your way to Canyonlands from Moab. There are 85 first-come, first-served tent sites at this BLM managed campground

Under Canvas
Located just north of Moab is Under Canvas, which is a luxurious campground complete with private bathrooms, fire pits, clean sheets, and many more amenities. It’s not exactly “roughing it” and it’s not cheap, but we bet it is a nice experience.

Boondocking

BLM 144 Dispersed
On our most recent visit to Moab, we stayed mostly at this boondocking spot. It’s a little more of a drive out of town (30 minutes or so), but it definitely has the least amount of other campers so it makes for a quiet and reliable stay. Just be careful if it rains…it can get quite muddy!

Willow Springs Trail Dispersed
This is a very large and very popular boondocking spot. We have stayed a couple nights here during previous trips and it’s a good spot if you need a night to sleep, but it can get INSANELY busy! During our last visit, we drove in at night to try to sleep and it felt like the parking lot of a race track, with RVs crammed in everywhere and tons of people out.

Klondike Bluff
We slept here a couple times when we wanted to be closer to the parks than our favorite BLM 144 spot. It isn’t anything fancy, but it’s WAY less busy than Willow Springs, despite just being down the road (we always found a spot).

A couple other options along US 191:
Dalton Wells Road Dispersed
Lone Mesa
Strike Ravine Dispersed

How much time do you need at Arches National Park?

Things to do in Arches National Park

While you could visit the park and see most sights in one busy day, we’d suggest having one and a half or two days to see everything the park has to offer.

We visited over one and a half days, focusing on one of the most popular hikes + smaller activities on day one and then doing a larger, must-do hike on day two. It gave us the chance to do the busiest trails early in the morning each day, which made the experience a lot more fun.

We’ll share itinerary options for both one and two days towards the end of this guide!

Things to know before visiting Arches National Park

Devils Garden Trail Arches National Park

Before visiting Arches National Park, here are a few important things to know!

Cost to enter

It costs $30 per vehicle ($25 for motorcycles) to enter Arches National Park, which covers 7 days. This fee does not cover you at Canyonlands or any of the other Utah National Parks, so you will have to pay for each park, even if you visit them within 7 days.

If you’re visiting more than one National Park on your trip, we highly recommend getting the America the Beautiful pass which is $80 per year and will get you into any National Park, monument, or forest for free.

Go early morning or late afternoon to beat crowds (& heat)

We cannot stress this enough, ARRIVE EARLY! The park can reach its capacity limits by 7:30 AM and the National Park Service will limit visitors entering the park for 3-5 hours sometimes.

To avoid this, make sure you get an early start and enter the park before 7:30 AM, preferably right before sunrise if possible. This is also a good way to beat the heat!

The late afternoon can be a great time to enjoy the park as well. The lighting will be better for photography than the midday sun, the temperatures will be a little lower, and there will be slightly less crowds on trails and in parking lots. We left Arches National Park for a late lunch/early dinner on our first day and had no issues getting back in, or finding parking, around 5 PM.

Dogs are not allowed

Dogs are not allowed on any trails or in any buildings at Arches National Park. They are allowed at paved roadside pull offs, but for the majority of the items of this guide they will not be allowed, so please leave your furry friend at home or in a safe, cool spot! 

Learn what we do with Kona when she cannot join us. For this park, she stayed at Moab Veterinary Clinic.

What to Bring to Arches National Park

Delicate Arch Arches National Park
Us in multiple jackets at the end of April

As always, we recommend having the 10 essentials on you when venturing into nature, but here are a few key items we want to point out that will especially help you during your visit!

To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time at Arches, here are some items we’d suggest bringing with you! 

HIKING SHOES

The trails in Arches are a mix of dirt, sand, and rock, so you’ll want to have a sturdy shoe for lots of terrain types. We almost always wear our Lowa Renegades (Kathryn) and Altra Superiors (Adam), but also love our Chacos, which are great hiking sandals for the warmer months and for sandy and smooth rock terrain.

LAYERS

Make sure to pack warmer clothes! If you go in the spring or fall, temperatures in the high desert can swing up to 40 degrees in one day! At the end of April, we typically wore a jacket or pullover in the mornings and then shirts and tank tops by the mid afternoon.

SUNSCREEN

It is very sunny in Southern Utah and we may or may not have gotten a little sunburnt at first. Sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen are a must! We have been using Bare Republic, which is a “better for you” sunscreen, although it may give you a nice white, vampire-esque sheen. 

WATER

No matter what you’re doing and what time of year, be sure to bring and drink plenty of water. Even in the winter you can become dehydrated quickly in the desert and mountains. The air is super dry and our throats and noses were not fans!

We love our Camelbak bladder for hikes because it stores a ton of water and it’s easy to drink from while moving.

The National Park Service recommends 1 quart for every 2-3 hours on the trail per person. Even if you start early it can get warm and the sun will take it out of you!

ALLTRAILS MAP

We’d highly recommend downloading the AllTrails map before you go. While most of the trails in the park are easy to follow, we like to use the map to track our progress along the trail. You will need an AllTrails Pro membership to download maps, which is $30 a year and so worth it!

Things to do in Arches National Park

Arches National Park offers a great mix of hiking trails, from short 0.3 mile walks to 8+ miles, primitive adventures, plus quick overlooks, making it an accessible park for all activity levels. Below we’re sharing all of the best things to do in Arches National Park, as well as what to know about each one. Note: Hikes are listed in order from shortest to longest, not in order of priority.

To see how we’d suggest planning your time in the park, check out our itinerary options at the end!

Balanced Rock Loop Trail

Miles: 0.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 55 feet
Trail Map & Current Conditions

Ever wanted to stand underneath (or almost underneath) a 3,600 ton boulder perched precariously on a rock pedestal? Check out Balanced Rock! This trail is a short circle around the rock and what we thought was neat about it is how different the rock looks at different angles!

Balanced Rock has its own parking lot and we had no issue getting parking mid-day, as it’s super quick and people come and go pretty often.

Double Arch

Miles: 0.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 95 ft 
Trail Map & Current Conditions

Despite the Delicate Arch being the most famous of the 2,000 natural arches in the park, our favorite arch at Arches was the Double Arch! This arch is HUGE and gets its name because it consists of two arches, whose legs share the same stone foundation. Besides being two arches in one, this arch is also unique because it was formed by downward water erosion instead of side-to-side water erosion.

This arch, or should we say arches, is a very short walk from the parking area, making it a great arch for anyone to check out! We visited at sunset and it was extra beautiful as the sun made the arch glow.

Windows & Turret Arch

Miles: 1.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 154 feet
Trail Map & Current Conditions

From the same parking area as Double Arch is the trailhead for the Windows and Turret Arch. This short loop (or out and back) trail consists of the North and South Windows, which are openings with views on the other end. You are able to climb into the North Window, but not the South Window, and you can also get a cool photo of the Turret Arch framed within the North Window from the backside of the window.

But our favorite part of this trail was the Turret Arch, which has a small opening and a larger opening, which you can climb under. It was unlike any arch we had seen in the park, with such a unique shape, almost like the side profile of a dog.

After exploring these windows and arch, you can continue along the backside on a more primitive trail, or continue the way you came, which is what we did since we were short on time.

Also, on your way to and from these windows and arches you can stop at the Garden of Eden, which is an open area with sandstone formations. We saw a lot of people taking sunset photos here as we left the park.

Park Avenue

Miles: 1.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 298 feet
Trail Map & Current Conditions

Park Avenue Arches National Park

While there are no arches on this trail, Park Avenue was one of our favorite stops in the park! This under 2 mile, mostly flat hike takes you through a canyon, surrounded by tall rock walls and formations. The trail gets its name because it almost feels like you’re walking among skyscrapers on Park Avenue and we totally agree!

We started this hike at Courthouse Towers and ended at Park Avenue, before turning around and retracing our steps. If you’re short on time, you could just stop at the Park Avenue overlook, which is right off the main road in the park, but if you have the time, walking among these rock “skyscrapers” is incredible and will make you feel tiny.

Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch, Tapestry Arch Loop

Miles: 2.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 321 feet
Trail Map & Current Conditions

Broken Arch Arches National Park

The Sand Dune Arch, Broken Arch, and Tapestry Arch Loop was one of the biggest surprises of our trip to Arches National Park!

This hike starts at either the Sand Dune Arch trailhead or at the Devils Garden Campground (if you’re staying there) and can be completed as a loop or out and back.

We began our adventure at Sand Dune Arch, where you walk through fins to find the hidden arch, which is surrounded by sand. We were not expecting to walk through the fin to get to this arch and thought it was so cool!

You then will walk across a flat, open trail to Broken Arch, which technically isn’t fully broken, but just cracked. This arch is fun because you get to walk through it to get to the next arch!

Broken Arch Arches National Park

Tapestry Arch was our favorite of the three, as it felt like a giant stage and you were able to walk under and behind it. It requires climbing up a little bit of slick sandstone to get to it, but it’s not too horrible as long as you watch your step and have good shoes.

Tapestry Arch Arches National Park

We returned to the Sand Dune Arch trailhead by going through the Devils Garden Campground, which takes you through this really neat area that felt like a hallway surrounded by rock walls. It was yet another fun surprise along this trail and the perfect way to end it before walking the flat, open path back to our van.

We did this trail a few hours after sunrise and were able to get a parking spot just fine and didn’t see many people along the trail, but it can get busy later in the day, especially with people parking here to hike Devils Garden, as the Devils Garden parking lot fills up early. 

Delicate Arch

Miles: 3.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 629 feet
Trail Map & Current Conditions

No trip to Arches is complete without seeing the Delicate Arch! This arch is not only the most iconic symbol of the park, but perhaps even in the entire state, as it is on most Utahans license plates.

However, the arch hasn’t always been named the Delicate Arch and in the past was called “Cowboy’s Chaps,” “Old Maid’s Bloomers,” and “Salt Wash Arch” before getting the name “Delicate” in 1934 after being described as “the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area.”

The light opening under the arch is 46 feet high and 32 feet wide, making it the largest free-standing arch in the park. And despite seeing so many photos of this arch in our lifetime, we thought it was even more beautiful and impressive in person!

There are two ways to see this famous arch. You can either hike to the arch, which we highly recommend, or you can see it from an overlook, which will not give you the iconic views you see in photos, but requires no hiking.

The hike itself isn’t too long, but does have some uphill portions that will get you breathing a bit and can be hard to follow at times, so we suggest downloading the AllTrails Map before you go. We did this hike before sunrise (more on that in a second) and were able to mostly navigate this trail just fine in the dark.

Delicate Arch Arches National Park

There is one section on the hike that is pretty narrow and we had heard it was scary, but we didn’t personally find it to be that bad (and I HATE very narrow drop offs). It helped that we didn’t have to squeeze past people on this part, and it’s short, but be aware that the trail does have some narrower parts if you’re afraid of heights.

Since this is the most popular attraction in the park, you will likely never be alone at the Delicate Arch, but if you want to avoid crowds, our recommendation is to go to Delicate Arch for sunrise. We hear the lighting is the best at sunset, but sunrise will be much less busy and you’ll still have some cool lighting as the sun pops up and lights up the arch.

When we arrived at the trailhead over an hour before sunrise, there were only a handful of cars in the lot and we happened to be the second group to make it to the top. As the sun got closer to rising, more people arrived and by the end of sunrise, there were 25 people total, but since we were all pretty spread out, it didn’t feel that busy. We hear that sunset at Delicate Arch can have 100+ people, so for us, it was worth it to hike in the dark and get less sleep. 

After admiring the Delicate Arch for at least an hour, we headed back down the trail, stopping at Twisted Doughnut Arch (right after the main viewing area) to see the Delicate Arch from another perspective. This requires a super short climb up some sandstone and is worth it for a unique view.

On the rest of our way back down, we ran into tons of people and the parking lot was filling up fast, so if you cannot get yourself out of bed for a sunrise hike, definitely arrive as early as possible so you don’t have to deal with a parking nightmare. But regardless of when you visit, this is a MUST SEE spot at Arches National Park and is worth the hype!

Devils Garden and Landscape Arch

Miles: 7.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,085 feet
Trail Map & Current Conditions

Devils Garden Trail Arches National Park Things to do in Arches National Park

While seeing the Delicate Arch is an iconic, must-do activity in Arches National Park, our favorite hiking experience was the Devils Garden Loop. This almost 8 mile loop takes you to 7 different arches and gives you some incredible views of the fins that make up the park, and may someday be arches themselves.

However, you do not have to do the entire hike to experience some of its beauty. This hike can be split up into two main experiences: hiking to Landscape Arch or doing the entire loop, which includes a primitive portion that should only be attempted by those comfortable with some climbing and trail navigating. 

We did the entire loop and LOVED it! While it’s definitely an adventure at times and you may have to use your hands to help you get through some tougher parts (and also get very wet like we did), getting to see so many arches and hike a more adventurous trail, made this such a fun and unique Arches National Park experience.

Note: You can do this loop either clockwise or counterclockwise. We heard pros and cons to both ways, but we did it clockwise, as it allowed us to see the popular arches first and then end with the primitive portion.

To give you a better idea of the trail, here’s a list of the arches you will see along the way, in order, going clockwise.

Tunnel Arch

The first arch you’ll come across on this trail, regardless of the direction you hike it, is Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. These arches require a slight detour from the main trail, but they are both quick.

Tunnel Arch wasn’t one of the top arches on the trail, if we’re being honest, as you cannot get very close to it, but it’s definitely worth a stop on the way to Pine Tree Arch. We also got to see some deer here!

Pine Tree Arch

Pine Tree Arch is just a short walk from Tunnel Arch and we thought it was awesome! The morning light illuminated it, giving it a beautiful orange glow, you are able to walk underneath it (always a plus!), and it has great views from the opening. 

Landscape Arch Arches National Park

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch is probably the most famous arch in the park, after Delicate Arch. In fact, it is one of the longest arches in North America, with a light opening of 306 feet and is only 6 feet in diameter at its narrowest. It not only looks so thin and fragile, but it actually is! 

In 1991, a chunk of the arch came crashing down and Royce Morrison, who happened to be hiking there that day, happened to get it falling on camera…SO wild! Because of this, you cannot get right up to the arch anymore, but you can view it from various viewing areas to see how impressive and large it is.

If you do not want to experience the primitive trail or any climbing, this is a good spot to turn around!

Navajo Arch

After leaving Landscape Arch, you’ll climb up a rocky spine to begin your adventure on the more primitive part of the trail. This spine is pretty fun to climb up and may be slightly scary if you hate heights, but is safe as long as you go slow and watch your step.
After making it up this section, you’ll reach a turnoff for Navajo Arch and Partition Arch. It doesn’t matter which one you do first, but we did Navajo Arch first, as it was the further of the two.

When we first walked up to this arch, it looked just like an alcove with a Christmas tree inside, but after walking under it, it opened up to a small open area, surrounded by rocks. It was a fun surprise!

Partition Arch

As you make your way back to the main part of the trail, take another detour to Partition Arch, which was our favorite arch on the Devils Garden loop! This arch has a large window that looks out into the park, which you can stand under (woo!) and also a small opening to the right that Adam sat in.

While all of the arches on the trail were unique and cool in their own way, for some reason, probably due to the photogenic backdrop, we just really loved this one.

Double O Arch

From Partition Arch, you’ll continue back onto the primitive trail and head towards Double O Arch. Along the way, you’ll get to walk across the top of a fin, which is a highlight of the trail, looking down at tons of fins below you. 

Devils Garden Trail Things to do in Arches National Park

You’ll pass an overlook for an arch called Black Arch, which you can see far off in the distance among the fins, before climbing up more slick and steep sandstone to Double O Arch.

This arch is similar to the Double Arch in the sense that it has multiple openings, but still has a different look to it. You can walk in front of the arch before either turning back the way you came, taking a detour to Dark Angel, or continuing on to the primitive trail.

Dark Angel (NOT an arch)

If you decide to see Dark Angel, one important thing to know (that we didn’t know) is that it is NOT an arch, but rather a tall rock spire that has some dark markings on it. It was cool to see, but if you’re short on time, you could skip this.

Private Arch

The final arch on the Devils Garden trail is the Private Arch, which as the name implies, is tucked away a bit off the primitive trail. The turn off is easy to miss, even with a sign, as it’ll be on your right side (if going clockwise) and isn’t super obvious. But this short detour is worth it though, as it’s less busy than some other spots.

Primitive Trail

After Private Arch, the trail gets more rugged and harder to follow, although with the steady flow of traffic and the AllTrails map, we pretty much always knew where to go. While most of the previous parts of the trail were considered primitive, this is when things start to get slightly more difficult.

A couple of the major obstacles are walking across a sandstone wall, which doesn’t have a ton of space for your feet. We saw some folks struggle with this, but we were able to get across pretty easily, we just had to be careful.

Devils Garden Trail Arches National Park

The hardest part though, is this large and somewhat deep puddle that you have to get past. You have two options, scale the wall around it or go through the puddle. Most people we talked to who were coming from the other way said they scaled the wall, but despite our best efforts and even seeing a few people try it, we couldn’t get a good grip and didn’t feel confident.

So instead, we just walked through the muddy puddle, which was kind of gross, but we were pretty hot at this point and the wet shoes and pants felt pretty nice. 

After this, the trail is pretty straightforward going back and you’ll eventually reach the junction with the Landscape Arch and continue back to the parking area.

By the time we finished this trail, AllTrails said we went around 9 miles and it took us about 5 hours, with lots of stops to film and get photos.

Park Avenue Arches National Park

Drive Arches Scenic Drive

Arches has one of the neatest scenic drives we have experienced. Once you get past the visitor center, you immediately climb a set of switchbacks into the park that make you feel like you’re now in a completely secluded world away from the busyness of Moab.

The Arches Scenic Drive is 19 miles and is almost a guaranteed activity when at Arches National Park, as everything on this guide requires you to drive some of it. But we still wanted to include it anyway because if you’re super short on time, it’s a great way to see some of the park’s highlights without leaving the car.

A couple overlooks we did not mention earlier in this guide that you can find on this drive are the Petrified Dunes Lookout, which overlooks the La Sal Mountains, and Skyline Arch, which is a quick walk from a parking area.

Explore the Fiery Furnace

Miles: 1.7 miles (but this can vary depending on if you get lost)
Elevation Gain: 387 feet
Trail Map & Current Conditions

The final item on our things to do in Arches National Park list is a bit of an adventurous experience and limited to a small group of people per day, the Fiery Furnace. The Fiery Furnace is basically a maze through the park’s fins and rock formations, or as someone called it on AllTrails, “a real life escape room.” 

There are only two ways to do this hike, with a ranger led tour (typically offered May 1-September 28, but not currently offered in 2021) or with a self-guided permit, which are available up to seven days in advance and must be reserved at least two days before you plan to hike. These permits do sell out in the busy season and you can get your self-guided permit on recreation.gov.

This is not a well marked trail and it’s very common to get lost or reach dead ends, so please make sure you’re up for an adventure like this. There are a handful of rules you’ll need to follow, which the ranger will cover when getting your permit.

If you can’t get a permit, you can check out the Fiery Furnace Viewpoint to see the type of terrain that those with a permit will have to find their way through.

Where to eat near Arches National Park

One of the best perks of Arches National Park is that Moab is so close by and offers so many options of places to eat while exploring the park.

If you want to grab food before the park, leave the park for lunch, or are looking for a post-adventuring dinner, here are some of our favorite places to eat in Moab!

  • Moab Garage Co. for coffee and breakfast items! (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
  • Doughbird for unique doughnuts and amazing hot chicken sandwiches. The donuts start to sell out early, so come early for your pick of flavors, and they only serve chicken from 11 AM-2 PM. (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)
  • Antica Forma for Neapolitan style pizza
  • Quesadilla Mobilla for delicious, homemade quesadillas (closed Mondays)
  • Thai Bella for Thai food! We love their Panang Curry and Khao Soi! (Only open for dinner & closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

Arches National Park Itinerary Options

Now that you have a good idea of things to do in Arches National Park, it’s time to plan your day or two in the park! As we mentioned earlier, it’s doable to explore Arches National Park in just one or two days and here is how we’d suggest organizing your time.

One Day Itinerary

In this one day itinerary, you have the chance to see the park’s biggest highlights and quite possibly everything on our things to do list, depending on how busy of a day you’d like.

  1. Start with a sunrise hike to the park’s most iconic arch, Delicate Arch!
     
  2. After seeing the park’s most iconic arch, head to Landscape Arch. The parking lot fills up here, so going right after Delicate Arch will give you the best chance to find a spot. Note: if you’re feeling good on time or are okay skipping things later, you could squeeze in the entire Devils Garden Loop with Landscape Arch.
     
  3. Hike the Sand Dune, Broken Arch, and Tapestry Arch Loop to see three more impressive arches!
     
  4. Make a quick stop at Balanced Rock.
     
  5. Walk among the tall rock walls on the Park Avenue trail.
     
  6. Grab a late lunch or an early dinner in town, if you feel you have enough time. Or enjoy a picnic in the park! They have some picnic tables across from Balanced Rock, down a side road.
     
  7. Head to the Windows and Turret Arch and hike the loop trail around them.
     
  8. End the day at Double Arch close to sunset. We loved seeing the golden light on this arch!

Two Day Itinerary

This two day itinerary is really more of a day and a half itinerary, but it gives you the chance to enjoy the park at a slightly slower pace and do the two best hikes early in the morning, before the crowds descend on the park.

Day 1

  1. Start with a sunrise hike to the park’s most iconic arch, Delicate Arch!
     
  2. Hike the Sand Dune, Broken Arch, and Tapestry Arch Loop to see three more impressive arches!
     
  3. Make a quick stop at Balanced Rock.
     
  4. Walk among the tall rock walls on the Park Avenue trail.
     
  5. Grab a late lunch or an early dinner in town, if you feel you have enough time. Or enjoy a picnic in the park! They have some picnic tables across from Balanced Rock, down a side road.
     
  6. Head to the Windows and Turret Arch and hike the loop trail around them.
     
  7. End the day at Double Arch close to sunset. We loved seeing the golden light on this arch!

Day 2

  1. Hike the Devils Garden Loop Trail! This can take around 4-5 hours, so you’ll want to start early to beat the heat and the crowds. We started this hike right at sunrise and had a mostly peaceful experience. 

Other things to do near Arches National Park

Looking for more things to do near Arches National Park? Read our Moab guide, which highlights the best things to do in the Moab area outside of the national parks, as well as our Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Needles District guides!

Ready to explore Arches National Park?

Pin this guide with the best things to do in Arches National Park to help plan your trip!

about us

Hi y’all! We’re Adam, Kathryn, and Kona, an adventurous married couple (+ pup!) living on the road in our self-converted sprinter van! You can often find us driving all around the US and Canada, scoping out the best coffee shops, eating tacos and ice cream (we’re a 5+ taco and 2+ scoop household), and enjoying nature.

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