Arches National Park hiking trails are perfect for the avid hiker, causal visitor and families traveling with kids.
Hiking the trails is one of the main things to do when looking for Arches National Park vacation ideas.
There is plenty for you to see, do and photograph in Arches since there are, after all, over 2,000 arches in the park.
Exploring the Arches National Park hiking trails is one of the best ways to experience this unique landscape.
The trails are listed in order as you would pass them driving from the park entrance:
- Park Avenue Trail
- La Sal Mountain Viewpoint
- Balanced Rock Trail
- The Windows Section Trail
- Double Arch Trail
- Garden of Eden Viewpoint
- Delicate Arch
- Fiery Furnace
- Sand Dune Arch and Broken Trail Arch
- Devil’s Garden Trail
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WHAT TO PACK FOR HIKING AT ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
To get the most out of visiting this park, you must be prepared with the right clothing and gear.
DOWNLOAD our Arches National Park packing list for summer and winter.
Hiking Shoes – Injuries from improper footwear is a common problem that casual visitors and hikers encounter. To make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible, avoid smooth-soled shoes and only wear sturdy shoes with ample tread.
→ Check out the Merrell Moab hiking shoes we use.
Hydration and Food – Due to the high desert and altitude in Southeastern Utah, you should drink at least one gallon of water per day, and always carry water with you during all hiking activities (water is also available at the Arches National Park Visitor Center and at the Devils Garden trailhead and Campground).
Lip Balm and Lotion – Utah’s high elevation and dry air can be hard on your skin. You’ll want to carry lip balm with sunscreen and hydrating lotion to apply as needed when you’re out exploring the trails.
Clothing – Summers in the park mean soaring temperatures, unrelenting sunlight, and low humidity. To keep cool, wear light colored, loose fitting clothing that does not absorb sunlight. Also avoid sun burn by wearing a wide brimmed hat and by generously applying sunscreen to any parts of your body that are exposed to the sun.
During the winter, wearing the right clothing is important to stay dry and warm. Take note that snow and ice can accumulate and make popular trails quite slippery. That’s why trekking poles and traction devices for your shoes are essential. It’s also just as easy to become dehydrated in the cold as it is in the heat. It’s important to carry plenty of water during the winter, and not just during the summer.
National Parks Pass – Before you visit Arches National Park be sure to pack your The America the Beautiful Annual Pass.
Other items we recommend – US national parks packing list
- Darn Tough socks
- Fleece jacket
- Buff headbands
- Hand sanitizer
- Flashlight or headlamp
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Camera gear
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK HIKING TRAILS
Park Avenue Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: Park Avenue Trailhead
Distance: 2 mile roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 187 feet
Difficulty Level: Easy
This list of hiking trails at Arches National Park starts at the beginning of the park. The first hike you’ll come to on the scenic road will make you feel like you’re in an old western movie.
The Park Avenue Trail follows the bottom of a canyon below some of the park’s gigantic and well-known monoliths. It’s a memorable experience to hike through these towering natural wonders.
The Park Avenue hike is a one-way trail if you have two cars or a shuttle vehicle. The trail is a little over one mile taking you from the Park Avenue trailhead to the Courthouse Towers parking lot. This is where you would leave your second vehicle or have someone that doesn’t want to hike pick you up.
If that’s not an option, just head back the way you came through the towering sandstone for a nice 2 mile round-trip adventure.
The latter part of the hiking trail has good views of the famous Arches landmarks: The Organ, Tower of Babel and the Three Gossips.
La Sal Mountain Viewpoint
The La Sal Mountain Viewpoint isn’t really a hiking trail, but it’s worth the time to walk around the area. You will see magnificent views!
It’s a great place to watch the sunset as you’re leaving the park. You can see the colors change over the mountains in the distance with Park Avenue behind you.
It’s also a wonderful location to photograph the red glow on the rocks at sunrise.
There is a small flattened section overlooking the scenic drive.
The signs lay out the names of the formations in front of you: Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Tower of Babel, and you can even see Balanced Rock and The Windows in the distance.
Balanced Rock Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: Balanced Rock Trailhead
Distance: 0.3 mile roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 45 feet
Difficulty Level: Easy
Balanced Rock is an easily recognizable landmark of Arches National Park. Many people park in the lot, take a photo, and move on.
It’s definitely worth the time to walk along the Balanced Rock trail. It’s an easy, short loop hike that takes you close to and around the Balanced Rock.
Each vantage point along the trail showcases a different side of Balanced Rock.
And don’t forget to Visit the Park After Dark. You’ll be amazed at the stars in the sky at Arches National Park!
The Windows Section Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: The Windows Trailhead
Distance: 1 mile roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 187 feet
Difficulty Level: Easy
The Windows Section of Arches National Park is a cool area with a lot to see.
The Windows Trail loop is under 2 miles. It’s one of the most popular areas in the park, and the parking lot fills up quickly.
It’s best to hike the Windows trails in the morning, late afternoon or evening to avoid the crowds.
In this area the main attractions are the North and South Windows where you can stand under the large South Window.
There is also a loop trail that circles around the back of the Windows Section that gives hikers a different perspective of the area.
You can’t forget Turret Arch that’s also along the Windows Trail Loop. It’s a fun arch to photograph!
Double Arch Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: Double Arch Trailhead
Distance: 0.5 mile roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 32 feet
Difficulty Level: Easy
On the other side of the Windows parking area is the Double Arch trail. It’s easy and super short.
You can see it from the parking lot, but you’ll definitely want to get up close to this one. It’s exactly what it sounds like, two arches basically next to each other.
Again, if you want to have this area to yourself to climb and explore, get there in the morning or evening.
Arches National Park in the winter is the best time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds.
Garden of Eden Viewpoint Trail
The Garden of Eden area is easy to miss as you drive to the Windows section.
The Garden of Eden area is called a viewpoint, but it’s also an open trail where people can explore the sandstone features on the desert slickrock.
You can see arches just starting to form all over this area. As you walk around, remember to stay off the cryptobiotic soil.
Owl Rock is popular with rock climbers. Watching them provides another fun aspect of this overlooked turnout.
Another reason to visit Arches National Park in the winter is to take photos of the red rock with the contrasting white snow! It’s so beautiful.
Delicate Arch Hiking Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: Wolfe Ranch
Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 610 feet
Difficulty Level: Moderate
If you don’t hike to Delicate Arch, did you really visit Arches National Park? I’m not so sure. The Delicate Arch trail is a must-do hike in the park, and it will always be busy.
The Delicate Arch hike is three miles round-trip. It isn’t horribly difficult, but it’s super steep, so wear good shoes, drink lots of water, and take your time.
Delicate Arch can be hard to photograph without people in it, but it can be done. Usually people are good to wait in line taking turns to get their picture taken under the arch.
The trick is to wait for the people to move away from the arch as the next people in line move toward the arch. You’ll only have a brief moment to capture the photo so be ready!
Also, don’t be afraid to walk around and see and photograph Delicate Arch from different angles.
Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint and Trail
If you can’t hike the Delicate Arch trail that takes you right to the arch, you can see the arch from the Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint.
The viewpoint is about 100 yards from the lower viewpoint parking lot where you can see the arch about a mile away.
You can access the Upper Viewpoint Trail from this same location. It’s a short .5 mile hike with a few stairs to climb. It will get you a little closer to the arch.
You can’t get all the way to Delicate Arch from here. But it does provide a slightly less obstructed view from what you see at the Lower Viewpoint.
Fiery Furnace Hiking Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: Fiery Furnace
Distance: Varies depending on route
Elevation Gain: Varies depending on route
Difficulty Level: Advanced (requires ranger or permit)
The Fiery Furnace hiking trail is a great option for people that want to get off the beaten path at Arches National Park.
I wouldn’t call this a trail, but more of a wandering free-for-all maze.
This is the only hike in Arches that requires a permit. It can be purchased at the Visitor Center.
The Fiery Furnace area is made up of a bunch of fins, which are huge sandstone things that look like dragon scales, in rows with small canyons between them.
You can basically just wander around this area wherever you want (with your permit), but it’s possible to get lost, so pay attention to where you’re going and where you came from.
You’ll find hidden arches in here so keep an eye out for those!
Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: Sand Dune Arch
Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 226 feet
Difficulty Level: Easy
The Sand Dune Arch trail is a spur off the Broken Arch trail. It’s a fun and unique hike because the arch is located in an ‘almost’ slot canyon.
As the name implies, it has quite a bit of sand around the arch. Sand Dune Arch sits in the shade for most of the day, which makes it the perfect place to rest, take off your shoes and enjoy the cool sand.
The Broken Arch trail continues past the Sand Dune Trail. This trail often gets bypassed, but it’s an easy, flat hike and you won’t encounter many people on it.
After reaching Broken Arch, go through the arch and make sure you look back through it. It’s a pretty cool view from there.
You can also hike to Tapestry Arch and the Devil’s Garden campground from here.
Devil’s Garden Trail
Trailhead & Parking Area: Devil’s Garden Trailhead
Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip to Landscape Arch | 7.2 miles roundtrip Primitive Loop
Elevation Gain: 490 feet
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate
Most people just go to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch, the two closes arches along the Devil’s Garden Trail.
Then a few more people continue hiking to see Landscape Arch, another very notable arch in the park that may collapse in our lifetime.
Not many people hike past this point. If you want a trail to yourself, or close to it, this is a good option. And you’ll see more amazing arches like Navajo Arch.
Arches National Park is a small geographic area, but has the greatest concentration of stone arches in the world.
The condensed are means the hikes in Arches are not very long, but you’ll rewarded with fins, domes, towers, bowls, slots, caves and more as you walk along the trails.
While most visitors don’t venture far from the Scenic Drive, those willing to hike the trails in Arches National Park will see what everyone else is missing.
Arches National Park is extremely popular and fully deserves all the attention it gets.
RESOURCES TO PLAN A TRIP TO ARCHES
More Places to Visit Near Arches
Where to Stay Near Arches:
There are no hotels in Arches so most people stay in the nearby town of Moab. You’ll find restaurants and places to shop which adds to the appeal to find accommodations in Moab.
There are all types of lodging in and near Moab from budget-friendly hotels to higher-prices resorts. You’ll also find vacation rentals, a hostel, campgrounds and RV parks
READ OUR FULL GUIDE: Places to stay near Arches National Park in Moab
• Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.
• Red Cliffs Lodge – rooms up to 6 people – located 17 miles from Moab, this lodge is known for its beautiful location, winery and activities like horseback riding, fishing and more!
• Condos south of town – we really like the King size bed in the master, washer and dryer in the unit and a swimming pool/hot tub (just a 5 minute drive south of Moab).