Visiting Arches National Park in January

Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Arches National Park in January?

Use our tips below and our Arches National Park travel guide to plan your vacation.

Keep reading to know what to wear, where to stay, and things to do at Arches in January.

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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.

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!  → 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!

9. Winter gloves: Mitts are awesome for keeping your fingers together and warm, but many prefer the feel of gloves. → Check out awesome winter mitts and winter gloves

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

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

→ CHECK OUT our Winter Clothing Guide for Outdoor Adventure 

Where to Stay Near Arches:

There are no hotels in the park. Here’s our list of where to stay near Arches National Park.

Arches National Park camping can only be done at the one small campground.

We recommend the following accommodations in Moab:

  • 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.
  • Rent an RV – have it dropped off at your vacation destination!

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 JANUARY

One of the 5 Utah National Parks, Arches is a popular destination and it gets crowded during the peak seasons of spring and fall.

When you visit Arches National Park in the winter, you often have the parking lots and trails 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

There are no ranger-led hikes or campfire talks in the winter at Arches.

The January weather will be cold, and you may encounter snow, but it’s so amazing to see the contrast of white snow against the red rocks.

Yes, most of the Arches National Park hiking trails remain open year-round.

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

If you’re ok with all of that, then you should definitely visit Arches in January!

ARCHES WEATHER IN JANUARY

The weather at Arches in January is cold and can be unpredictable if a storm rolls through.

The average highs are near 40 degrees with the lows near 20 degrees.

Remember that Arches National Park is located at 5,653 feet above sea level so it does get cold in the winter, even if the sun is out.

Dress in layers when visiting Arches in January. 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!

After a snow storm, the park road might be closed for plowing for a few hours. Keep in mind 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 January

There are so many things to do at Arches National Park.

Here’s a list of activities to consider:

Hiking

Arches National Park hiking trails are so enjoyable in the cooler winter temperatures compared to the heat of summer!

Remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen, even in the winter!

Most of the trails at Arches are fully exposed to the sun, which is perfect for winter outdoor activities.

Keep in mind you may encounter ice, snow and mud in shady areas of the trails because January is the coldest month of the year at the park and the wet areas don’t dry.

You may need traction devices on some trails. Check with the visitor’s center for the most current trail conditions.

Also, It gets darker earlier at Arches in January, which may limit the time you spend hiking.

→ CHECK OUT Devil’s Garden Trail Guide

Photography

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

Be prepared for all types of Arches National Park Photography due to weather. We like the unique images you can capture with rain, snow and fog.

The best times to photograph the park are sunrise and sunset. The colors are vibrant and the light creates a spectacular glow on the red rocks that cannot be missed.

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

And since January 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

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 will not be visible at Arches in January. It’s best viewed from March to October.

FAQ’S FOR VISITING IN JANUARY

Is Arches National Park Open in January?

You bet! The park is open 24/7. Visit the NPS site to get the updated winter hours.

Does it Snow at Arches in January?

January is the second-snowiest month at Arches National Park.

When it does snow, it’s not usually large amounts. The park can get a dusting of snow, or even a few inches.

Do the Roads Close at Arches in January?

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 January?

What is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?

For us, winter will always be the best time to visit Arches National Park.

Don’t forget 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 January:

Plan for cold since January is usually the coldest month of the year. Those cold temperatures mean anything wet stays wet or becomes icy, which aren’t ideal for hiking. You may need traction devices along some trails when hiking at Arches in the winter, and especially in January.

We also enjoy our trips to Arches National Park in December and Arches National Park in December!

RESOURCES TO PLAN A TRIP TO ARCHES

More Places to Visit Near Arches

national park packing lists

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