Arches National Park Itinerary Ideas

If you’re wondering how many days to spend in Arches, check out these Arches National Park itinerary ideas for 1, 2, or 3 days in the park!

This Arches National Park travel guide includes everything you should see, do and photograph at this stunning park.

Arches National Park Itinerary Ideas

When you visit Arches National Park you’ll see a stunning landscape filled with arches (of course), balanced rocks, fins, and other unique rock formations.

You’ll want to plan enough time at Arches to see and photograph the sunrise, explore the scenic drive, enjoy some day hikes, photograph the sunset, and do some stargazing at night!

Grab our travel bundle with printable 1, 2 and 3-day Arches National Park itineraries to print and use to plan your vacation!

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!

When is the Best Time to Visit Arches National Park?

All four seasons at Arches vary quite a bit so you’ll want to know what to expect in order to decide the best time to visit Arches National Park for what you want to see, do and photograph.

The Arches National Park weather and temperatures change drastically from spring, summer, fall and winter. 

Arches Spring Weather: temperatures vary quite a bit from month to month in the spring. It’s important to pack for all types of weather because you never know when the weather will change.

It is not unusual to get rain or even snowfall in March. We recommend you watch the weather and pack a winter coat, winter hat, and winter gloves when going to Arches in early spring. A fleece jacket, hat, and gloves should be fine later in the spring.

Arches Summer Weather: temperatures will be HOT! Since the temperatures are brutal this time of year, plan your outdoor activities for the cooler mornings and evenings!

With the hot summer temperatures, you’ll want to protect yourself from the sun by wearing a sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses. It’s important to stay hydrated and carry a hydration pack or a refillable water bottle in your backpack.

Arches Fall Weather: it starts to cool down making it a great time to explore the park because it will be cooler in the mornings and evenings, and the daytime temperatures aren’t too hot compared to the summer.

With the cooler temperatures at night, you will definitely want to bring a fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves for the nights and early mornings. 

Arches Winter Weather: there are some drawbacks to keep in mind when visiting in the winter: visitor services are reduced and you’ll need to be more self-reliant in the winter. And the cold winter weather may not be for everyone.

During the winter it is especially important to dress in layers. We recommend an insulted winter jacket, fleece jacket, warm hat and gloves if you’ll be doing any outside activities. Here’s the full list of the outdoor winter clothing we use!

Check out these awesome photographer gloves and rechargeable hand warmers we use!

snow at Skyline Arch
Winter snow at Skyline Arch

Things to Know Before Visiting Arches National Park

As you’re planning your Utah National Park road trip, keep in mind that Arches is a small National Park, but it’s jam-packed with cool features.

You can see natural stone arches, pinnacles, fins, windows and balanced rocks from the scenic drive and along hiking trails. 

Note the Arches National Park timed entry program runes April through October. Timed entry tickets will be required to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Visitors will 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.

Reservations for the time entry ticker are first-come, first-served on Recreation.gov. The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks.

You CAN visit Arches without a ticket as long as you enter the park before 6 a.m or after 5 p.m. That’s the best time of day for sunrise at Arches National Park anyway.

Our itineraries always recommend entering the park before 6:00 am for Arches National Park photography at sunrise so you don’t need to worry about getting an entry ticket for the date you’ll be there! Be sure to check the exact time for sunrise so you can arrive in the park at least 30 minutes before the actual time.

Arches National Park Scenic Drive

One of the activities will be exploring the scenic drive at Arches. Use this Google map of the Arches scenic drive points of interest to navigate through the park.

arches scenic drive map

The 43-mile Arches scenic drive and its two spur roads. The drive itself with stops to take photos takes 2 to 3 hours. 

The road is paved and offers Arches National Park photography spots from the pullouts along the road or in the parking lots.

Some of the arches and landmarks along the scenic drive can be reached by a short walk from the parking lot. But, some of the best hikes in Arches National Park are longer and take more than 2 hours to complete like Delicate Arch and Devil’s Garden.

Reflected-light-at-Sunrise-at-Arches-National-Park-Photo-Jeepers-800 (1)
Sunrise at La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

Arches National Park Itinerary: Day 1

Here’s what we recommend if you want to see Arches National Park in one day. Click that link to see the detailed Arches 1-day itinerary!

Sunrise

Morning

Lunch

  • Panorama Point picnic area

Afternoon

Sunset

Stargazing

  • Delicate Arch
  • Balanced Rock

Arches-National-Park-sunrise-at-Turret-Arch-Photo-Jeepers-800-1
Turret Arch through North Window at sunrise

Arches National Park Itinerary: Day 2

Here’s the Day 2 itinerary if you’ll be able spend two days in Arches National Park. Click that link to see the detailed Arches 2-day itinerary!

Sunrise

  • Turret Arch / Windows Area
  • Double Arch

Morning

Lunch

  • Devil’s Garden picnic area

Afternoon

Sunset

  • Balanced Rock
  • Turret Arch

Stargazing

  • Balanced Rock
  • Fins by Sand Dune Arch
milky-way-fins-Arches-national-park-utah-photo-jeepers
Milky way over rock fins at Arches National Park

Arches National Park Itinerary: Day 3

If you can spend three days in Arches National Park, today you’ll take the photos and explore the hikes you didn’t get to do on Days 1 and 2. Click that link to see the detailed Arches 3-day itinerary!

Sunrise

  • Your Choice

Morning

  • Your choice of day hikes

Lunch

  • Picnic area in the park

Afternoon

  • Your choice of day hikes

Sunset

  • Your choice

Stargazing

  • Your choice
View along Potash Road of the Colorado River
Potash Road Scenic Drive in Moab

Moab Day 3 Alternatives

You can also use Day 3 to explore the Moab area:

Arches and Canyonlands photography guide

Planning an Arches National Park Vacation:

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 Near Arches – we really like rentals with a kitchen, washer and dryer and amenities like a swimming pool and hot tub.

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

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