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.
Everyone should experience the quiet and serenity of Arches National Park. It’s something you’ll never forget!
Use this guide to help you decide if a February vacation to Arches is the right time for you to enjoy outdoor adventures at this park.
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WHAT TO PACK FOR A TRIP TO ARCHES IN THE WINTER
Plan and pack for your day in Arches knowing there are NO SERVICES in the park.
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 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 | → Check out Oboz waterproof hiking shoes
4. Wool socks: We LOVE Darn Tough socks. They are worth every penny. Your feet will thank you! → Check out the socks we love!
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. → Check out base layer options
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! → Check out the jackets we wear!
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. → Check out the fleece Buffs we use!
11. Rechargeable hand warmers: These hand warmers keep your hands toasty, they are our new favorite winter gear find! → Rechargeable hand warmers
→ CHECK OUT Winter Clothing Guide for Outdoor Adventure
→ CHECK OUT Winter Packing List for Arches National Park
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).
Camping in Arches in the Winter
Between November and February, there are 25 sites at Devils Garden Campground, first-come, first-served. There are restrooms and drinking water at the campground.
TOP REASON TO VISIT ARCHES IN FEBRUARY
In February you won’t waste time waiting in line to enter the park, or even worse, discover the park is closed because it’s full.
In the winter you often have the hiking trails and parking lots all to yourself! It’s the best!
In February, there are no ranger-led hikes or campfire talks at Arches.
If you want to hike the trails at Arches National Park, keep in mind that they are open year-round, but you could experience snow and ice.
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.
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.
HIKING IN FEBRUARY
Hiking at Arches in February is 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 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.
In February you may need traction devices on some trails. Check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions.
→ CHECK OUT Devil’s Garden Trail Guide
→ CHECK OUT 10 Amazing Hiking Trails in Arches
PHOTOGRAPHY IN FEBRUARY
We often wish for snow when we take our February trip to Arches. The landscape of red rocks with white snow is so pretty!
Be prepared for all types of winter photography at Arches due to weather. You can still capture amazing photos with rain, snow and fog.
CHECK OUT our 3 day photography guide for Arches National Park to capitalize on all the best places and times to take pictures in the park!
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.
→ CHECK OUT: 3 Day Photography Guide for Arches National Park
→ CHECK OUT: Arches National Park Photography Tips
STARGAZING IN FEBRUARY
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?
- There are no ranger-led hikes or campfire talks in February.
- You can watch the park orientation film at Arches Visitor Center, which is open seven days a week – check the website for operating hours.
- Kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge (Junior Ranger booklet). Get more details at the visitor center.
What is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?
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 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!
RESOURCES TO PLAN A TRIP TO ARCHES
- Arches National Park Travel Guide
- Arches in the Spring
- Arches in the Summer
- Arches in the Fall
- Arches in the Winter
- Arches National Park Hiking Trails
- Arches Packing List
- Where to Stay in Moab Near Arches
More Places to Visit Near Arches
- Canyonlands Island in the Sky
- Canyonlands Needles
- Dead Horse Point State Park
- Moab Adventures: Cool Things to Do