Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Arches National Park in January?
Arches in the winter is one of our favorite times to go.
We live close enough to visit Arches National Park near Moab, Utah at various times throughout year so we have lots of Arches National Park vacation ideas to share!
Use this guide to help you decide if a January vacation to Arches is the right time for you to enjoy outdoor winter 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 JANUARY
In January you won’t wait 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 parking lots and trails to yourself! It’s heaven!
There are no ranger-led hikes or campfire talks in the winter at Arches.
Also… most of the hiking trails at Arches National Park remain open year-round.
If you’re ok with those two things, 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.
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.
HIKING IN JANUARY
Hiking at Arches in January is very enjoyable when the sun is out. It’s quite different from summer when you’re sweating and worrying about heat exhaustion.
Remember it’s still 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 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.
→ CHECK OUT Devil’s Garden Trail Guide
→ CHECK OUT 10 Amazing Hiking Trails in Arches
PHOTOGRAPHY IN JANUARY
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 winter photography at Arches due to weather. You can still capture amazing photos 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.
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 January, and you may get lucky on a week day to have the area to yourself!
→ CHECK OUT: 3 Day Photography Guide for Arches National Park
→ CHECK OUT: Arches National Park Photography Tips
STARGAZING IN JANUARY
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. When a storm rolls through, 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?
- There are no ranger-led hikes or campfire talks in January.
- 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 January:
Arches 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 in December!
RESOURCES TO PLAN A TRIP TO ARCHES
More Places to Visit Near Arches
Winter Vacation Ideas
- List of Winter Vacation Ideas
- List of US National Parks in the Winter
- Visiting US National Parks in December
- Visiting US National Parks in January
- Visiting US National Parks in February
- National Park Packing Lists for Winter
- Winter Clothing Guide for Outdoor Travel