Visiting Arches National Park in May

Arches National Park is a stunning destination in Utah with it’s incredible rock formations. When visiting Arches National Park in May, it’s important to know the weather, things to do, what to pack and where to stay.

Use this Arches National Park travel guide to plan your Arches vacation in May! We share tips for navigating Arches in May during the busy season.

Arches National Park in May

From hiking to camping and scenic drives, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in this unique Utah National Park. Arches National Park has something for everyone!

Check out these done-for-you Arches National Park itineraries to help you plan your May trip based on the time you’ll be able to spend in the park:

Arches National Park Travel Bundle
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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 May

Arches National Park is open 24/7. In May you’ll need an Arches Timed Entry Ticket to enter the park during the busy daytime hours.

Don’t worry if you didn’t get a timed entry ticket. Just plan to enter the park before 6 a.m. One benefit to getting in the park early is you can see and photograph the sunrise at Arches National Park!

You can also plan to visit the park after 5 p.m. when again, you won’t need a ticket to get into Arches. The late afternoon and evening allows you to see and photograph sunset at Arches National Park, or enjoy stargazing at night!

Is Arches National Park Busy in May?

Arches is a very busy Utah National Park in May. We recommend going into the park early in the morning before 6 a.m. or late afternoon after 5 p.m.

Arches National Park Weather in May

It’s important to know the expected Arches National Park weather when visiting in May.

You can expect highs near 80 and lows near 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Since you won’t find many shady spots at Arches, we recommend you plan outdoor activities in the cooler mornings and evenings.

Enjoy scenic drives in your car with the AC running, or the hotel swimming pool during the heat of the day.

In May it’s important to stay hydrated and use sun protection:

You’ll experience a dry desert environment at Arches so be sure to also pack and use lip balm and lotion as well!

Download our free Arches National Park Packing List!

Things to Do at Arches in May

May is a great time to enjoy a variety of things to do at Arches National Park.

Ranger Programs at Arches in May

The Arches visitor center is open every day in May. We recommend you stop to talk with the park ranger, tell them what you are most interested in, and ask for recommendations.

Arches Ranger-led programs are a good way to get to know more about this unique National Park. Find out what activities are available during your stay in May.

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!

The Organ at sunrise in Arches National Park
Rock formation along the scenic drive

Arches Scenic Drive in May

There is one Arches National Park scenic drive in the park. Plan 2 to 3 hours to drive the road and two short spur roads. If you’ll be stopping to take photos or doing any hiking, then add more time.

The scenic drive is a paved road with pullouts and parking lots perfect for any Arches National Park photography you want to do. Some of the arches and landmarks can be seen from the parking lot, or by a short walk. Others will require a bit of hiking to reach.

Download the Arches National Park map to navigate along the scenic road to each point of interest.

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

Turret Arch at Arches National Park
Turret Arch

Arches Hiking in May

There are Arches National Park hiking trails for all hiking abilities: easy, moderate and strenuous.

If you can, try to explore The Windows Area or Devil’s Garden Trail in the morning. They are both popular hiking areas so morning or late afternoon are the best times to avoid the crowds.

Delicate Arch is a bucket list location in Arches. At sunset you’ll find a ton of photographers which makes it hard to get a parking spot! You may want to plan to hike to Delicate Arch in the morning to avoid the crowds.

All the other shorter hikes like Sand Dune Arch, Skyline Arch and Balanced Rock can be fit in at any time during the day when parking spots open up more frequently.

Most of the trails at Arches are fully exposed to the sun so it’s important to stay hydrated and use sun protection!

Landscape Arch at Arches National Park
Landscape Arch

Arches Photography in May

When planning to take Arches National Park photos, sunrise and sunset are the best times of day. If you get up early to photograph sunrise at Arches National Park, you don’t need to worry about getting a timed permit!

Finding photo spots at sunset at Arches National Park is easy, but taking pictures without a ton of people in your shot is the tricky part.

We created a 3-day Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide to let you know all the best places and times to take pictures!

Delicate Arch at sunset is the most popular photo spot in Arches. You won’t have this location to yourself so be patient waiting for everyone to take their turn to get a photo under the arch!

If you want to capture photos without people climbing on the rocks at Balanced Rock, Turret Arch or the Windows, you need to enter the park EARLY!

Milky Way over fins at Arches

Arches Stargazing in May

The slogan at Arches National Park is: “Half the Park is After Dark”. On a clear night, the sky is literally filled with stars. Definitely take one evening to stay after the sun sets and LOOK UP!

In May you can see the milky way from 11 pm to 4-ish am. It’s a late night but rewarding for those who want to make the effort!

Arches National Park is internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing because of its remote location, accessibility, altitude and clear skies.

Arches is a popular destination for astrophotographers so you won’t be alone in the park at night. Be sure to use a headlamp with a red light!

Arches National Park Photography Tour
Photography Tour at Arches

Arches Tours in May

With experienced guides on Arches National Park tours, you can explore all the amazing sights the park has to offer and make sure you don’t miss anything.

Booking a tour to explore Arches National Park is a great way to learn more about the area and its history: hiking, scenic drive, rock climbing, off road driving, and photography to name a few.

RV at Arches National Park
RV driving through Arches

Arches Camping in May

You will need a reservation for Arches National Park camping in May at the one campground in the park.

Reservations for camping at Devil’s Garden Campground are required from March 1- October 31. If you don’t reserve a spot ahead of time, you most likely will need to find a place to camp outside the park. You can reserve these spots up to 6 months in advance. 

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

If you want to enjoy camping in style, check out these options for Glamping near Arches National Park!

Dead Horse Point State Park
Dead Horse Point State Park

Things To Do Near Arches National Park in May

You’ll find more things to do near Arches National Park to add to your itinerary:

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

Lodging Near Arches National Park

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.

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