Plan Your Arches National Park Summer Vacation

Are you considering an Arches National Park summer vacation? If so, there are things you need to know before going since it’s a HOT time of year there!

Use this Arches National Park travel guide to help you plan an amazing summer trip.

arches national park in the summer

We share things to see, do and photograph as well as what to pack and where to stay when visiting Arches in the summer.

Arches National Park itineraries to plan your dream 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!

Plan Your Arches National Park Summer Vacation

Here are the things you MUST know about visiting Arches in the summer.

Timed Entry in the Summer at Arches National Park

Arches is has a TIMED ENTRY program from April through October:

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 The park will release reservations three months in advance in monthly blocks.

If you don’t have a ticket, you can still enter the park BEFORE 6am or AFTER 5pm. Those are the best times for Arches National Park photography and avoiding the crowds anyway!

Arches National Park Summer Temperatures

Arches National Park summer temperatures ARE HOT! 

We LOVE visiting Arches National Park in the winter if you like traveling in the off season.

Is Summer a Good Time to Visit Arches National Park?

The summer months are not our favorite time because it will be hot and crowded when visiting Arches National Park.

If you want to avoid the heat and crowds, check out our list of best times to visit Arches National Park with information about what to expect during each season and every month of the year.

How Many Days Should I Spend at Arches National Park?

We recommend spending 3 days at Arches especially if you also want to explore Canyonlands Island in the Sky and Dead Horse Point

CHECK OUT our 3 day Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide so you see all the major points of interest at both parks.

Arches CAN be done in one day, but you’re limited on what you can do. The Scenic Drive lets you see the entire park with enough time to do one or two of the short Arches National Park hiking trails.

The two big landmarks, Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch, you’ll need to hike to see them. They cannot be seen from the road.

Best Things To Do in the Summer at Arches National Park

There are so many things to do at Arches National Park. If you are going to Arches during the summer, we recommend adding these points of interest to your bucket list.

Arches National Park scenic drive

Arches Scenic Drive in the Summer

Taking the 18-mile scenic drive at Arches during the summer is a must! Not only will you be in your car in the air conditioning, but you will see the most breathtaking views. 

The stops along the Arches National Park scenic drive allow you to make several pit stops where you can take short hikes to check out arches up close. 

Broken Arch at Arches National Park

Summer Hiking at Arches

If you are visiting Arches when it is hot outside, take advantage of all the short hikes in the park.

Most of the Arches National Park hiking trails don’t have shade so you’ll need to carry plenty of water and protect yourself from the sun: pack water bottles, wear sunscreen and a sun hat!

TIP: Use Nuun hydration tablets to add those electrolytes you need for those hot days!

Here’s a list of short summer hikes we recommend:

  • Balanced Rock
  • The Windows
  • Double Arch
  • Sand Dune Arch
  • Skyline Arch

Rafting the Colorado River in the Summer

Although rafting is not specifically in Arches National Park, it is a great way to cool off after hiking all morning.

You can find half-day rafting trips to take in Moab which is only 5 miles up the road. 

Arches Summer Photography

You’ll find yourself taking a ton of Arches National Park photos. In the summer you’ll want to get up early to photograph sunrise at Arches National Park. Doing this you won’t need to worry about getting a timed permit!

Sunrise photo spots: La Sal Overlook, Courthouse Towers, and the Windows area. If you don’t want your photos to have people climbing on the rocks, you’ll also want to photograph Balanced Rock, Turret Arch or the Windows in the morning.

Watching and photographing sunset at Arches National Park is awesome. You’ll find many locations it will be hard to get photos without people! This is especially true at Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock and The Windows.

We share tips like this in our 3 day Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide. It details all the best places and times to take pictures!

You can also download a free checklist of the Arches National Park photo spots!

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Stargazing in the Summer at Arches

You can’t beat stargazing at Arches National Park! The slogan “Half the Park is After Dark” invites you to take one evening to enjoy a star-filled sky!

Did you know Arches (and the Moab area) is internationally recognized as one of the best places for stargazing? It gets that distinction because of its remote location, accessibility, altitude and clear skies.

Arches National Park 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 Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:

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.

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