Arches National Park lies north of Moab in the state of Utah. Bordered by the Colorado River in the southeast, it’s known as the site of more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches, such as the massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east. Long, thin Landscape Arch stands in Devils Garden to the north. Other geological formations include Balanced Rock, towering over the desert landscape in the middle of the park.
Established: November 12, 1971
Size: 76,678.98 acres
Visitation: 1,806,865 (2021)
What Makes This One of the Best National Parks
Arches National Park is perhaps the most interactive of all the Utah parks filled with scenery that brings out the child in all of us.
Sandstone hallways and tunnels, rocks to climb on and over, sandy trails perfect for sandals or even bare feet at times, and red rock vistas that make for an unforgettable experience.
Is the park a bit one-dimensional? Sure. Does it get crowded? Sure. Yet its seemingly very well managed and once you’re in you don’t get the hectic feeling that you do in most crowded parks.
You can fan out and pick your hiking spots and for the most part instead of crowds you’re just dealing with the warm desert wind whipping your hair every place.
Things to Do in Arches National Park
- Delicate Arch
- Landscape Arch
- Devils Garden
- Arches Scenic Drive
- Park Avenue
- La Sal Mountains Viewpoint
- Balanced Rock
- Window & Turret Arch
- Double Arch
- Tower Arch
Things to Know Before You Go to Arches National Park
Required Timed Entry Permit
Entering Arches National Park requires a permit from April 3 to October 2, 2022. During this time you must have a timed entry permit in order to access the park. These permit tickets are released 3 months in ahead of time so be sure to grab yours before you go (an example – permits for all of August are released on May 1)
Getting to Arches National Park
Arches National Park is located near Moab, Utah in the southeastern corner of the state. I recommend flying into Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and driving to the park which takes about 3.5 hours.
Best Time to Visit Arches
Spring is a great time to visit Utah’s many natural wonders, including Arches National Park.
Fall is also a great time that offers cooler weather and the opportunity to see fall colors in different parts of Utah.
You can expect $20-$30 per vehicle but we suggest you go ahead and purchase the America the Beautiful Pass (which can be found at the entrance gates to most national parks). This pass gets you into all National Parks, Forests, Monuments, and more including 2,000 sites for free after a one time $79 fee.
There are no restaurants in the park
That said, there are numerous dining options in nearby Moab (minutes from the park). Make sure to plan ahead and pack your lunch so you don’t have to wait in lines to re-enter the park.
Cell Service in Arches National Park
Service is actually not bad in Arches depending on where you are in the park.
As you can imagine the high open areas seem to have it and the more you get behind hills and rock formations the more you lose it.
We had decent service throughout most of the main park road.
Leave No Trace
Please remember to Leave No Trace.
Always plan ahead, stay on marked trails, pack out what you bring with you, only throw trash away in designated trash cans, don’t feed or approach wildlife, and please be considerate of the park and other visitors.
We want these places to last so that future generations can continue to enjoy them unimpaired.
Driving to Arches from Salt Lake City
If you’re planning to visit Arches National Park from Salt Lake City, we recommend it.
Flying into Salt Lake is usually inexpensive and rental cars can be rented from the airport with relative ease.
There’s nothing quite like driving scenic desert highways of Utah with the wind at your face and exciting adventures ahead of you.
Where to Stay At Arches National Park
There is no lodging in Arches National Park. Devils Garden Campground, the only campground in the park, is almost always reserved what feels like years in advance. There are plenty of BLM campsites within a short drive of the park however.
How Many Days Do You Need in Arches National Park?
You’ll want to get an early start (7am is ideal). Be sure to pack plenty of food and water, including your lunch.
Though it may be tempting to grab a bite in Moab at midday, getting back into the park may take a very long time as lines will be backed up by this point.
If you plan on spending two days in Arches National Park, you can spread out your visits to the places listed above over the two days.
Campsites can be hard to come by in the summer so plan ahead – there’s a good deal of BLM campsites just outside the park that often have more availability.
If you’re trying to do a drive-by of the Moab area and visit Arches and Canyonlands in the same day – we’re here to tell you that it can be done, but it’s not recommended as both parks are worthy of full days and you’ll see that once inside them.