Things to Do at Arches National Park in February

Have you ever considered visiting Arches National Park in February?

Arches in the winter is one of our favorite times to go. You can explore the park without the crowds, and you avoid the heat of summer.

Use our Arches National Park travel guide and tips below to plan a February vacation. We share things to do, what to pack, where to stay and more!

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ARCHES WINTER PACKING LIST

Plan and pack for your day in Arches knowing there are NO SERVICES in the park.

DOWNLOAD our Arches National Park Packing List!

1. WATER: Arches National Park elevation is 5,653 feet. Humidity is lower at higher altitudes. Sweat evaporates quickly and you may not realize how much water you are losing through exertion. The visitor center at the entrance has a bookstore, restrooms and drinking water. Once you’re inside the park, the only other place to get water is Devil’s Garden.  → Get refillable water bottles or a hydration pack!

2. Healthy snacks: Since there are no services in the park, it’s important to pack the food and snacks you’ll need while exploring Arches.  → Here’s a good list of healthy travel snacks!

3. Hiking boots: We are usually fine wearing our Merrell or Oboz hiking shoes or boots at Arches during the winter, but make sure they are waterproof! → Check out Merrell Moab hiking shoes and Oboz waterproof hiking shoes

4. Wool socks: We LOVE Darn Tough socks. They are worth every penny. Your feet will thank you!

5. Wicking and quick-drying base layers: It’s all about the layers when visiting Arches in the winter. Be sure to have the base layer something that wicks away moisture. 

6. Fleece jacket: If you enjoy outdoor adventure, then you know how awesome a good fleece jacket is. Over the years we’ve come to find the best fleece jackets are made by Columbia, North Face and Patagonia. → Columbia fleece | North Face fleece | Patagonia fleece

7. Insulated jacket: Winter temperatures get cold at Arches in the morning and evening. You will want a good insulated jacket! → Columbia insulated jackets are the best!

8. Insulated headwear: Keeping your head warm is so important in the winter.  We have ditched the hats and use fleece Buffs since they can be worn as a hat, headband or neck gaiter.

9. Winter gloves or winter mitts

10. Lotion and lip balm: Utah is DRY! You will want to keep travel sized lotion and a lip balm in your coat pockets.

11. Rechargeable hand warmers: These hand warmers keep your hands toasty, they are our new favorite winter gear find! 

→ CHECK OUT our Winter Clothing Guide for Outdoor Adventure 

Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

outdoor gear we use

TOP REASON TO VISIT ARCHES IN FEBRUARY

There are 5 Utah national parks and Arches is the smallest. It gets crowded during the peak seasons of spring and fall.

Arches National Park in the winter often means have the hiking trails and parking lots all to yourself! It’s the best!

PLEASE NOTE: Arches will be doing a TIMED ENTRY pilot program April through October, 2022.

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 Recreation.gov. The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks.

BIGGEST DRAWBACK

In February, there are no ranger-led hikes or campfire talks at Arches.

The Arches National Park Hiking trails are open year-round, but you could experience snow and ice.

There are parts of the Devil’s Garden trail and Delicate Arch trails that can be slippery from packed snow and ice and may require traction devices and trekking poles. 

For us, enjoying the solitude of Arches in February outweighs these two negatives!

ARCHES WEATHER IN FEBRUARY

The weather at Arches in February is starting to get warmer, but the mornings and evenings will still be cold. The weather can be unpredictable if a storm rolls through.

The average highs are near 50 degrees with the lows in the mid 20s. Keep in mind that Arches National Park is located at 5,653 feet above sea level so it’s cold in the winter, even if the sun is out.

Dress in layers when visiting Arches in February. Take warm winter clothing and dress in layers so you’ll actually want to get out of the car when you get to the trailhead. Hiking boots should be warm and waterproof. No one wants soggy feet!

In February, there may be a day or two that it will snow. The park road might be closed for plowing for a few hours. Remember that the roads, parking lots, and pullouts in the park can still be icy, especially in shaded areas.

You can see current weather conditions at Arches on the NPS website and updated photographs of trail conditions at the Arches visitor center. 

Things to Do at Arches National Park in February

There are so many things to do at Arches National Park – here’s what we recommend:

Hiking

In February, the Arches National Park Hiking trails are very enjoyable when the sun is out, which is quite different from summer when you’re sweating and worrying about heat exhaustion.

It’s important to stay hydrated so carry your refillable water bottle and wear sunscreen in the winter!

Most of the trails at Arches are fully exposed to the sun, which is perfect for your visit in February. But there may still be ice, snow and mud in the shady areas of the trails.

Check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions, and if you’ll need traction devices on any of the trails.

→ CHECK OUT Devil’s Garden Trail Guide

Photography

We often wish for snow when we take our February trip to Arches. The landscape of red rocks with white snow is so pretty!

Arches National Park photography in the winter might give you some fun images when there’s rain, snow and fog.

Delicate Arch at sunset might be the most famous image to photograph in the park. It won’t be as crowded in February, and you may get lucky on a week day to have the area to yourself!

A photo of Delicate Arch with the snow covered mountains in the background is one of the advantages for visiting in February.

And since it will be cold, we like to use photographer gloves and keep rechargeable hand warmers in our coat pockets!

→ CHECK OUT: Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide

take jaw-dropping photos at Arches & Canyonlands

Stargazing

Definitely take one evening to stay after the sun set and LOOK UP!

Arches National Park is internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing because of its remote location, accessibility, altitude and clear skies.

The slogan “Half the Park is After Dark” encourages visiting at night to simply Look up! On a clear night, the sky is literally filled with stars.

The Milky Way MAY not be visible at Arches in February, but it’s worth a try! It’s usually best viewed from March to October.

FAQ’S FOR VISITING IN FEBRUARY

Is Arches National Park Open in February?

Arches National Park is open 24/7.

Visit the NPS site to get the updated winter hours.

Does it Snow at Arches in February?

The weather in February can be unpredictable. One day it may snow, and the next day you might feel spring has arrived.

Be prepared for winter conditions because even if you have a spring-like day, it can change quickly, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared.

Do the Roads Close at Arches in February?

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.

What Park Activities Can You Do February?

What is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?

If you’re looking for the best time to visit Arches National Park, we like the winter months.

ALWAYS remember to check the forecast and road conditions because conditions change from day to day, and don’t follow a set pattern.

From our experience, this is what you can expect when visiting in February:

Be prepared for winter conditions as well as spring-like temperatures. Wear layers (fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves) to accommodate for the cold mornings and evenings and warmer days.

You may need traction devices along some trails that don’t get sun in order to dry out. The park is amazingly quiet!

We also like Arches National Park in December and Arches National Park in January.

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

Visiting Arches National Park:

Where to Stay Near Arches National Park:

There are no hotels in Arches so most people stay in the nearby town of 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.

Here are a few of our favorite places to stay near Arches:

  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Moab – we enjoyed our stay and highly recommend this hotel due to its location close to Arches.
  • Purple Sage – our all-time favorite place to stay in Moab – walking distance to shopping, full kitchen, and only 8 units so you don’t feel lost in a large hotel. 
  • 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!
  • Vacation Rentals – we really like rentals with a kitchen, washer and dryer and amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub.

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