Visiting Arches National Park in January

Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Arches National Park in January? We LOVE visiting Arches in the winter without the crowds and enjoy offseason lodging rates!

You’ll find many winter activities at Arches National Park like scenic drives, hiking, and photography. But the weather in January can be unpredictable with snow and cold temperatures so it’s not for everyone.

Visiting Arches National Park in January

Use this Arches National Park travel guide to plan your January vacation: weather, services available, and what to expect when visiting.

We live close enough to the park to visit various times throughout year so we have lots of Arches National Park vacation ideas to share! The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically for the month of January.

The biggest tip we can give for visiting Arches in January is to plan for the cold temperatures and unpredictable weather that could include snow! Use our Arches National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the winter. Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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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!

Visiting Arches National Park 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 in January you often have the parking lots and trails to yourself! It’s the best! But… there are no ranger-led hikes or campfire talks in the winter at Arches.

Empty parking lot at Arches in January

Is January a Good Time to Visit Arches National Park?

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. You may find 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. 

Dress in layers when visiting Arches in January
Dress in layers when visiting Arches in January

Arches Weather in January

The Arches National Park weather 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 and pack winter clothing when visiting Arches in the winter:

winter hiking gear

Does it Snow in January at Arches National Park?

Usually Arches National Park doesn’t see large amounts of snow in January. But it’s common to get a dusting of snow, or even a few inches of snow, when storms roll through the area. The snow is a terrific contrast with the red rocks to create wonderful scenes to photograph!

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.

Things to Do at Arches National Park in January

There are so many Arches National Park winter activities to do – here’s a list of things to consider when visiting in January.

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

All ages 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!

Arches Visitor Center in January

When visiting Arches National Park you should make the visitor center your first stop! It is open every day in January except for New Year’s Day. Take time to talk to the park ranger and tell him things that are of interest to you and get tips and ideas on other things to do. 

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

If you’re visiting Arches National Park with kids, be sure to grab the Junior Ranger booklet so they can earn their Junior Ranger Badge!

Arches scenic drive at night in the winter
Arches scenic drive at night in the winter

Arches National Park Scenic Drive in January

When it’s cold or stormy, the Arches National Park scenic drive will be a good activity to stay warm. It’s 43 miles including the two spur roads and takes 2 to 3 hours. If you plan to get out and take photos or hike a trail, then add more time.

You can see many of the landmarks from the pullouts and parking lot along the scenic drive. In January the pullouts and parking lots could be snowy and icy, especially in shaded areas.

We recommend the Arches GuideAlong App to hear fun behind-the scenes stories and local tips that play automatically as you drive, based on your GPS location.

Hiking at Arches in the snow
Hiking at Arches in the snow

Hiking in January at Arches National Park

Arches National Park winter hikes 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. Check out our Devil’s Garden Trail Guide – it’s a fun trail to do in January.

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.

Skyline Arch in the winter

Photography in January at Arches

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

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.

  • Sunrise at Arches National Park: We enjoy taking sunrise photos at La Sal Overlook, Courthouse Towers, and the Windows area. If you don’t want your photos to have people climbing on the rocks, you’ll also want to photograph Balanced Rock, Turret Arch or the Windows in the morning.
  • Sunset at Arches National Park is awesome. You’ll find many locations it will be hard to get photos without people! This is especially true at Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock and The Windows. Delicate Arch will be crowded so pack your patience. And don’t forget a headlamp for the hike back to your car!

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

CHECK OUT our 3 day Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide to capitalize on all the best places and times to take pictures in the park!

Starry sky at Arches National Park
Starry sky at Arches National Park

Stargazing in January at Arches National Park

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.

These are great stargazing areas at Arches:

  • Balanced Rock Picnic Area
  • The Windows
  • Garden of Eden Viewpoint
  • Panorama Point

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

Arches National Park Tours in January

In January you can enjoy a few Arches National Park tours to learn more about the area and its history. Guided tours include hiking, scenic drive, rock climbing, off road driving, and photography to name a few.

Tours could be limited during the winter off-season so always check in advance to know what’s available for the time you’ll be visiting the park!

Arches Camping in January

In January you won’t need a reservation for Arches National Park winter camping at Devil’s Garden Campground. Between November 1 and February 28, all camping sites at Arches are first-come, first served.

The one campground at Arches National Park with 51 total camp sites, each one accommodating ten people. Facilities include: drinking water, picnic tables, grills and both pit-style and flush toilets.

You’ll also find RV Parks near Arches National Park for camping in case you can’t get a spot in the park.

Lodging Near Arches National Park in January

There are no lodges inside Arches National Park so most people stay in the nearby town of Moab. There are all types of lodging options in and near Moab from budget-friendly hotels to higher-prices resorts.

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

Things To Do Near Arches National Park in January

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

Arches National Park Itinerary

We’ve created some done-for-you itineraries for visiting Arches depending on the time you have to spend at the park. Click the graphic below to get a free travel bundle that includes printable daily itineraries. Or click the links below to see detailed itineraries of the best things to do at Arches!

Arches National Park Travel Bundle

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