Arches National Park Activities + Travel Tips

If you love the outdoors, you’ll find a variety of Arches National Park activities like hiking, biking, photography, and more!

Arches National Park is an extraordinary gem of natural beauty that is hidden away in the picturesque American Southwest. It is located in southeastern Utah and is a quintessential American treasure, drawing visitors from across the country.

list of fun Arches National Park activities

In particular, Arches National Park at sunset is truly astounding when the sky is ablaze with colors. Adventurers can embark on incredible Arches National Park hikes, exploring trails that wind through the iconic sandstone arches that have made this place famous.

Arches National Park, Utah’s stunning desert wonderland, is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches. If you are looking for amazing activities in Arches National Park, the options available to you are as diverse as the landscape itself.

We live only a few hours away from Arches so we’ve had the opportunity to visit many times. The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, during all four seasons!

Here are some done-for-you Arches National Park itineraries to help you plan the best activities to do in the park based on the amount of time you’ll be there!

Arches National Park Travel Bundle
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A Photo Tour of Arches National Park

Take a visual tour through Arches National Park to see the stunning landscapes you’ll see when you visit!

What to Expect When Visiting Arches National Park

Arches is a small National Park, but it’s jam-packed with cool features that can be seen from Arches National Park scenic drive. In fact, natural stone arches pinnacles, fins, windows, and balanced rocks can all be seen from the scenic drive.

From April through October the Arches National Park Time Entry program is running. Timed entry tickets will be required to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will allow visitors to enter the park during a one-hour specified window of availability. After entering, visitors may stay in the park as long as they wish for the remainder of the day. Reservation holders may exit and re-enter the park on the same day with a correctly validated ticket.

Visitors can book reservations first-come, first-served on to get the timed entry ticket. The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks.

You CAN visit Arches without a ticket as long as you enter the park before 6 a.m or after 5 p.m. That’s the best time of day for Arches National Park photography anyway.

Turret Arch with snow
Turret Arch with snow

Best Time to of Year to Visit Arches National Park

It’s important to know what to expect during the various Arches National Park seasons so you can decide the best time to visit Arches National Park for what you want to see, do and photograph.

The Arches National Park weather varies drastically from spring, summer, fall and winter. 

Spring Weather at Arches: temperatures vary quite a bit from month to month in the spring. It’s important to pack for all types of weather because you never know when the weather will change.

  • Arches in March: Highs 64 | Lows 35 degrees F
  • Arches in April: Highs 71 | Lows 42 degrees F 
  • Arches in May: Highs 82 | Lows 51 degrees F

Summer Weather at Arches: temperatures will be HOT! Since the temperatures are brutal this time of year, plan your outdoor activities for the cooler mornings and evenings!

  • Arches in June: Highs 93 | Lows 60 degrees F
  • Arches in July: Highs 100 | Lows 67 degrees F
  • Arches in August: Highs 97 | Lows 66 degrees F

With the hot summer temperatures, you’ll want to protect yourself from the sun by wearing a sunhatsunscreen and sunglasses. It’s important to stay hydrated and carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack.

Fall Weather at Arches: it starts to cool down making it a great time to explore the park because it will be cooler in the mornings and evenings, and the daytime temperatures aren’t too hot compared to the summer.

  • Arches in September: Highs 85 | Lows 54 degrees F
  • Arches in October: Highs 71 | Lows 40 degrees F
  • Arches in November: Highs 55 | Lows 30 degrees F 

With the cooler temperatures at night, you will definitely want to bring a fleece jacketwarm hat and gloves for the nights and early mornings. 

Winter Weather at Arches: there are some drawbacks to keep in mind when visiting in the winter: visitor services are reduced and you’ll need to be more self-reliant in the winter. And the cold winter weather may not be for everyone.

  • Arches in December: Highs 45 | Lows 23 degrees F
  • Arches in January: Highs 44 | Lows 22 degrees F
  • Arches in February: Highs 52 | Lows 28 degrees F

During the winter it is especially important to dress in layers. We recommend an insulted winter jacketfleece jacketwarm hat and gloves if you’ll be doing any outside activities. Here’s the full list of the outdoor winter clothing we use!

Arches National Park Activities to Enjoy Year-Round

There are so many fun things to do at Arches National Park: hiking trails, scenic drive, rock climbing, off road driving, exploring Arches National Park landmarks, and photography to name a few.

This list is also what we recommend for Arches National Park winter activities, with a few slight adjustments we note below.

There are fun way to get the family excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Kids, and adults, will enjoy collecting stamps in their National Park Passport book! Passport booklets and stamp sets are “usually” available at the park visitor centers, but we recommend you get the passport book before the trip, just in case!! We’ve seen sad kiddos when a visitor center is out of passport books. Rangers can stamp a piece of paper, but it’s not just the same experience!

Visitor Center & Ranger Programs at Arches

The Arches National Park Visitor Center is the first place you want to stop to get up-to-date information and conditions. It’s open every day of the year with a few seasonal closures – check the website for Arches National Park operating dates and hours.

Did you know you can talk with the park ranger, tell them what you are most interested in and ask for recommendations on things to do? You can also find out what Arches Ranger-led Programs are available at the time of your visit.

The Visitor Center has exhibits to learn about the park as well as a bookstore. Restrooms and drinking water are also available here.

If you’re visiting Arches National Park with kids, be sure to check out the Arches Junior Ranger Program!

Reflected light at Sunrise at Arches National Park Photo Jeepers 800
La Sal Mountain Overlook stop along the scenic drive

Scenic Drive at Arches National Park

The Arches National Park scenic drive is a great way to see the park. There are various points of interest along the scenic drive in the park where you can take photos, go hiking or just stop and enjoy the scenery!

Download the Arches National Park map to navigate along the scenic road to each point of interest.

We highly recommend getting the Arches + Canyonlands GyPSy Guide Audio Tour: use the suggested itineraries in the app tour plan, or divide the commentary to create your own half, full or multi day sightseeing trips. 

When visiting Arches in the winter, the park road might be closed after a snowfall for several hours for plowing. For road conditions getting to Arches, check the Utah Road Weather Forecast or call 1-866-511-UTAH (8824).

Park roads, parking lots, and pullouts can still be icy, especially in shaded areas. Check at the visitor center for the latest information on road conditions.

photographer at Arches National Park
Photographer at Arches National Park

Photography at Arches National Park

The park is filled with endless Arches National Park photography opportunities. You’ve probably seen many iconic Arches National Park photos of Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, Balanced Rock, Turret Arch and more!

If you’re serious about taking photos at Arches, check out these resources:

In the winter if there’s snow, the Arches National Park winter photos you’ll capture are stunning with the contrast of red rock against the white snow!

Check out these awesome photographer gloves and rechargeable hand warmers we use for winter photography at Arches National Park!

Milky Way over fins at Arches National Park
Milky Way over fins at Arches National Park

Stargazing at Arches National Park

Did you know that Arches National Park is internationally recognized as one of the best places to see the stars at night?

Due to its remote location and clear skies, you get to see, and photograph, some of the most incredible views of the night sky… and even the Milky Way! 

Good stargazing spots:

  • Balanced Rock
  • The Windows
  • Garden of Eden Viewpoint
  • Panorama Point
Delicate Arch at Arches National Park
Delicate Arch

Hiking at Arches National Park

One of the best ways to appreciate the park is to explore the Arches National Park hiking trails. There are easy trails for families and casual hikers and strenuous trails for those who aren’t afraid of a challenge.

It’s hard to define the best hikes in Arches National Park, but here our picks for the easy and moderate trails. 

The easy trails we recommend are Balanced Rock, The Windows, and Double Arch. Kids, and adults, will love the Sand Dune Arch trail through a mini slot canyon and a nice shaded area to play in the sand.

The moderate trails we recommend are Delicate Arch, Devil’s Garden Trail or Park Avenue. And for the more difficult primitive trails you can do Fiery Furnace or Tower Arch.

When hiking it is especially important that you take the proper gear and plenty of water as well as dress in moisture-wicking layers.

If you plan to do some Arches National Park winter hikes, we recommend you check with the Rangers for the updated trail conditions. Some trails may require traction devices.

Guided Tours at Arches National Park

One of the best ways to experience the park is with a guide on a variety of Arches National Park tours! Booking a tour to explore Arches is a great way to learn more about the area and its history: hiking, scenic drive, rock climbing, off road driving, and photography to name a few.

RV camping at Arches National Park
RV camper at Arches National Park

Camping in Arches National Park

If you’re interested in Arches National Park camping there’s only one small campground in the park. You will need to reserve a spot at Devil’s Garden Campground from March 1- October 31.

For Arches National Park winter camping between November 1 and February 28, all camping sites at Arches are first-come, first served.

There are other camping options in the Moab area if you can’t get a reservation in Arches:

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

Things To Do Near Arches National Park

You’ll find a ton of other places to visit in Utah that are near Arches National Park to add to your itinerary:

Packing List for Arches in October

Use our Arches National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting any time of year! Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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