Guide to Visiting Arches National Park in January

Are you wondering what it’s like to visit Arches National Park in January? It’s one of our favorite times to go, if you don’t mind cold and possible snow.

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

We share what to pack, where to stay, and things to do when you plan a January vacation to Arches National Park.

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Arches National Park Packing List

DOWNLOAD and print the packing checklist for Arches National Park!

Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

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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 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!

But… 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. 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. 

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:

Scenic Drive

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.

The scenic drive provides so many Arches National Park photography locations. Many landmarks can be seen from the pullouts and parking lot. Download the map of the scenic road marking all points of interest.

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.

skyline-arch-snow-Photo-Jeepers-960x540

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

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

FAQ’S FOR VISITING IN ARCHES 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 February!

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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