One advantage to being a local is knowing all about Arches National Park photography during every season and all types of weather and light conditions.
Use this Arches National Park travel guide with photo tips, a list of best photo spots, and the camera gear you’ll need to take pictures at Arches!
We live close to the park so we’re able to visit Arches National Park often and know the best times of day to take photos at each location.
Here’s our list of photo spots and photo tips to capture the best Arches National Park photography!
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Camera Gear for Arches National Park Photography
We have a printed Camera Gear Checklist to help us pack all the equipment we need – that way we don’t forget anything!
- Cameras for Landscape Photography
- Lightweight Travel Tripods
- Camera Bag: Protecting your camera from the sand and dust in Arches is essential. Using a camera backpack is so nice for hiking too.
- Graduated neutral density filter: There can be extreme differences in light around the various rock structures. To compensate for this variance of light you’ll need to use a GND filter.
- Camera cleaning kit: You’ll want to remove dust that WILL get on your lens – this is NOT for cleaning the sensor.
- Memory cards
- External hard drive: Don’t forget to copy the photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’.
- Headlamp with a red light: For the best sunrise, sunset or night sky shots, you’ll be navigating in the dark. Use a headlamp to light your way from the parking lot to your spot. Wearing a headlamp allows you to set up your equipment without having to hold a flashlight. Remember to use the red light setting and keep the beam pointed on the ground in front of you to avoid disrupting other photographers in the area taking long exposure shots.
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!
Arches National Park Travel Tips
Arches National Park is a few miles north of Moab, Utah. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, hundreds of stone pinnacles rising into the sky, immense rock fins and large balanced rocks.
There are a variety of things to do at Arches National Park. Many visitors enjoy the scenery of red rock formations and arches from the car.
Others enjoy the Arches National Park hiking trails. Those who want a bit of quiet away from the crowds will hike the longer and more primitive trails.
Use our Arches National Park travel guide to plan your trip.
Arches Travel Tip #1 – When to Arrive at Arches
Enjoy the park and hiking trails in the cooler temperatures of morning or late afternoon and evening. The golden light at sunrise and sunset are amazing reflected on the red rocks! Arches National Park is one of Moab’s many stargazing spots.
Stay updated on Arches National Park TIMED ENTRY program.
Timed entry tickets will be required to enter the park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will allow visitors to 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.
Visitors can book reservations first-come, first-served on Recreation.gov. The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks.
If you don’t have a timed entry ticket, plan to get into the park before 6 am or after 5pm. If you’re serious about getting the best photos, you’ll want to get in the park early for sunrise at Arches National Park, or later in the day for sunset anyway so it works out ok if you can’t get a ticket.
Arches Travel Tip #2 – Be Careful Where You Step at Arches
We like to ‘step off the sidewalk’ to find creative compositions when doing Arches National Park photography or Moab photography in general. And while Arches National Park is beautiful, it’s also very fragile.
If you step off the trail or away from the pullout, you may damage delicate habitat. When biological soil crust is damaged, it can take centuries to recover. Avoid the soil crust and only walk on slickrock or dirt as you explore.
Arches Travel Tip #3 – Use Your National Parks Pass
Don’t forget to purchase the US National Parks Pass – it’s a good deal when visiting multiple parks!
Arches National Park Photography
The unique landscape of arches and slickrock formations makes photographing Arches National Park so fun.
- Sunrise at Arches National Park
- Sunset at Arches National Park
- Arches National Park Photo Spots
- Arches National Park Pictures
If you’re serious about taking the best Arches National Park photos…..
→ CHECK OUT our Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide
Here’s a list of the best places to photograph Arches National Park.
1 – Arches Scenic Drive
The road is paved and offers Arches National Park photo spots from the pullouts along the road or in the parking lots. Some of the arches and landmarks can be reached by a short walk from the parking lot.
2 – Park Avenue
It’s an impressive view, but to understand why it’s called Park Avenue, you must follow the trail down and walk between the immense sandstone monoliths on either side. The real Park Avenue in New York City is a wide boulevard with soaring skyscrapers on either side.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH Park Avenue is middle to late afternoon. The valley is in shadow and the sun lights up the east wall.
3 – La Sal Mountain Viewpoint
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH at the La Sal Mountain Viewpoint is sunrise. The light from the rising sun washes the rock formations with a warm red glow.
Don’t be too discouraged if you experience bad Arches National Park weather. La Sal Viewpoint is a terrific place to capture reflections in the pools after a rain storm!
4 – Courthouse Towers Area
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH the Courthouse Towers area is at sunrise. The warm light in the morning is the perfect time to capture the red glow on the formations.
5 – Balanced Rock
The impressive fact about this feature is the balanced, upper portion of the rock is as large as three school buses!
- Use the various pullouts along the main road to capture different views of Balanced Rock.
- Walk the trail and take photos of the balancing rock from different angles.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH Balanced Rock is sunset and evening.
6 – Photographing Delicate Arch
This arch cannot be viewed from the main road and requires a bit of walking to see if from a distance. Walk 100 yards along a level path at Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint to see the arch one mile away. There is an Upper Viewpoint that takes you a little closer, requires walking ½ mile with some stairs.
Delicate Arch is a main attraction at Arches for tourists and photographers who want photos of arches in Utah. Be sure to practice patience and courtesy while you wait your turn to get your picture taken under the arch.
Delicate Arch is one of the best sunset spots in Arches National Park. It’s also the time when most photographers choose to line up along the bowl waiting for the magical moment. There could be hundreds of people in the small area during the summer.
- Arrive at the Delicate Arch bowl at least an hour before sunset to get your spot.
- Walk around to find a unique composition.
- Take a headlamp for the hike down after sunset.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH Delicate Arch is sunset and evening.
7 – Fiery Furnace
If that sounds too adventurous or you don’t have time, this Arches National Park viewpoint is a short walk from the parking lot. From the Fiery Furnace overlook you see an area thick with fins, spires and arches.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH the Fiery Furnace is sunset.
8 – Landscape Arch
As you walk along the trail near the arch, you’ll see different perspectives. There used to be a short trail that went under the arch, but falling rock from the underside has made it too dangerous for visitors to walk beneath the arch.
- No shadows on the arch – late spring and early summer in early morning – the rest of the year at mid-morning.
- Photograph various angles of the arch – straight on, to the left and to the right.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH Landscape Arch is sunrise and early morning.
9 – Devil’s Garden Trail
Most tourists hike an easy 1 mile to the famous Landscape Arch. There are spur trails to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch before arriving at Landscape Arch.
Those who want some adventure will continue along the trail that requires climbing up and over long, narrow sections of slickrock, called fins, with steep drop-offs. This section of trail leads to Navajo Arch, Partition Arch and Double O Arch.
- Navajo Arch: Capture the front, back and under-arch views.
- Partition Arch: Capture the front and back sides (there is a steep drop-off on the back side).
- Double O Arch: Pass through the lower opening of the arch and climb the slickrock on the other side to photograph the arch with sky as the background.
- Photograph the fins along the trail as these are just as amazing as the arches!
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH the Devil’s Garden area arches is sunrise and early morning.
10 – The Windows
Get here early if you want photos of the arches without people. The Windows area is easily accessible and very popular Arches National Park photo spot.
- Find a foreground element for a photo with only the larger North Window.
- Add context by having a person on the slope of the window, but if you don’t time your visit, you’ll have 50 people in this shot and that’s not ideal.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH the spectacles is early morning – and the North and South Windows is late afternoon.
11 – Turret Arch
- Photograph Turret Arch through the North Window.
- Capture various perspectives and images as you walk around and climb Turret Arch.
- Turret Arch provides a wonderful shape to complement milky way photography.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH the Turret Arch is early morning or evening for night or milky way photography.
12 – Double Arch
As you hike to Double Arch look to your left to see the Parade of Elephants, a rock formation that resembles a herd of elephants holding each others’ tails. Enjoy the short, leisurely trail.
This is a complicated formation that has lighting issues most of the day. Work with the shadows, foreground and scale to capture the arches the best you can.
If it’s crowded and you don’t want people in your shot, focus on the top part of the arches to create a unique perspective.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH the Turret Arch is early morning.
13 – Sand Dune Arch
PHOTO TIP: The sandstone fins in the area are worthy of photographs too, not just the arch. You can capture wonderful landscape photos at Sand Dune Arch.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH Sand Dune Arch is early morning or late afternoon when the sun isn’t directly lighting the arch between the fins.
14 – Broken Arch
PHOTO TIP: Be sure to take photos from the other side of Broken Arch if you can. There is a moderately steep slickrock section to get through the arch.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH Broken Arch is early morning, evening and sunset.
15 – Skyline Arch
PHOTO TIP: You can take a photo of this arch from the pullout, but we recommend you hike along the short and easy trail to get closer to the arch.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH Skyline Arch is late afternoon.
Arches National Park Night Photography
On a clear night, linger in the park after dark and look up to see the sky bursting with stars to see why this park is one of the top Moab night photography spots.
Photographers from around the world come to Arches to photograph the Milky Way. Arches National Park is home to some of the best Moab stargazing spots and is the perfect place to try some Moab night photography.
- Balanced Rock
- The Windows
- Garden of Eden Viewpoint
- Panorama Point
Best Time to Photograph Arches National Park
It’s important to know what to expect during the various seasons of the year so you can decide the best time to visit Arches National Park for what you want to see, do and photograph.
The Arches National Park weather varies drastically from spring, summer, fall and winter.
Spring Weather at Arches: 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.
- Arches in March: Highs 64 | Lows 35 degrees F
- Arches in April: Highs 71 | Lows 42 degrees F
- Arches in May: Highs 82 | Lows 51 degrees F
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.
Summer Weather at Arches: temperatures will be HOT! Since the temperatures are brutal this time of year, plan your outdoor activities for the cooler mornings and evenings!
- Arches in June: Highs 93 | Lows 60 degrees F
- Arches in July: Highs 100 | Lows 67 degrees F
- Arches in August: Highs 97 | Lows 66 degrees F
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.
Fall Weather at Arches: 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.
- Arches in September: Highs 85 | Lows 54 degrees F
- Arches in October: Highs 71 | Lows 40 degrees F
- Arches in November: Highs 55 | Lows 30 degrees F
Winter Weather at Arches: 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.
- Arches in December: Highs 45 | Lows 23 degrees F
- Arches in January: Highs 44 | Lows 22 degrees F
- Arches in February: Highs 52 | Lows 28 degrees F
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!
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.
- Places to Stay Near Arches National Park
- Hotels Near Arches National Park
- Places to Stay Near Arches National Park with Kids
- Arches National Park Camping
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.
Planning an Arches National Park Vacation:
- Arches National Park Travel Guide
- Best Time to Visit Arches National Park
- Things to Do at Arches National Park
- Arches National Park Packing List
- Arches National Park with Kids
- Arches National Park Photography
- Tours Near Moab, Utah
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