Arches National Park Winter Hikes

You can enjoy the spectacular landscapes without having to contend with crowds on a variety of Arches National Park winter hikes. It’s important to note the weather, services available, and what to expect when visiting Arches National Park in the winter.

The temperatures at Arches National Park in December, January, and February will be cold and the weather can be unpredictable with snow, which aren’t ideal hiking conditions. But with the right winter clothing and gear, winter is a terrific time to experience the quiet beauty at this park!

Arches National Park winter hikes

Use this Arches National Park travel guide to plan your winter vacation itinerary: hiking trails, what to pack, where to stay and more!

We live close enough to the park to visit various times throughout year so we have lots of Arches National Park vacation ideas to share! The tips we share are based on our experiences visiting the area throughout the years, and specifically for the winter months.

The biggest tip we can give for visiting Arches in the winter is to plan for the cold temperatures and unpredictable weather that could include snow! Use our Arches National Park Packing List to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for visiting in the winter. Grab your free printable packing checklist by clicking the image below!

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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 the Winter

Exploring the Arches National Park hiking trails is one of the best ways to experience the unique landscape at the park.

If you’ve ever been to Arches National Park during the busy season, you know it gets crowded. Arches National Park in the winter is a completely different experience. Many times you have the hiking trails and parking lot to yourself!

During the winter months you can enjoy a full day in the park without sweating and worrying about heat exhaustion like you do in the summer.

Is Winter a Good Time to Visit Arches National Park?

We LOVE visiting Arches National Park in the winter without the crowds! But the weather can be unpredictable with snow and cold temperatures so it’s not for everyone.

Check out our guide for finding the best time to visit Arches National Park. Each season and month of the year will have different activities and services available.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect each month during the winter at Arches:

Arches Winter Weather

Winter at Arches National is cold with possible rain or snow storms. Here are the temperatures you can expect during the winter months:

  • December: Highs 45 | Lows 23 degrees F
  • January: Highs 44 | Lows 22 degrees F
  • February: Highs 52 | Lows 35 degrees F

You won’t experience large snow storms at Arches, but even small amounts of snow or ice can make local trails and roads impassable. You can see current Arches National Park weather conditions on the NPS website.

winter clothing for winter travel
Layers are best for winter hiking at Arches

Tips for Winter Hiking at Arches National Park

One of the best Arches National Park winter activities is hiking. Check with the Visitor Center about trail conditions and whether traction devices are recommended.

Winter Clothing for Hiking

Arches National Park experiences cold weather in the winter. Be sure to wear and pack winter clothing essentials.

  • Base Layers: Wicking base layers will give you the warmth you need to fight off the cold winter weather in Arches. Plus, you can take them off easily whenever you no longer need them. 
  • Fleece jacketsFleece jackets serve as a light layer on warmer days in the park but can also add warmth to your layering.
  • Insulated Jackets: Insulated jackets provide the perfect warmth whether you are going for a light hike or a more extended excursion. 
  • Wool socks: Do not wear cotton socks. It is best to wear wool socks for winter. Bring a spare just in case anything unexpected happens.
  • Insulated hats: An insulated hat will protect you from losing too much of your body temperature through your head.
  • Winter gloves: If it’s extremely cold, use an insulating glove inside a waterproof shell mitt to provide dexterity and warmth.
  • Waterproof hiking bootsHiking boots need to be waterproof. You may also need traction devices for some trails.

Winter Hiking Gear

Here’s the winter hiking gear we recommend for hiking at Arches:

Since most of the trails are fully exposed to the sun you’ll need sunscreen, even in the winter.

Trails are usually marked with cairns (small rock piles) and have signs at intersections. Many remote trails do not receive regular maintenance and may not be adequately marked. All backcountry hikers should carry a topographic map.

In the winter the trails may be covered in snow or ice that may require traction devices for hiking.

winter hiking gear

Arches National Park Winter Hikes

Here are the best hikes in Arches National Park we recommend for winter hiking to see the incredible landscapes at this park!

Park Avenue at Arches with snow
Park Avenue at Arches with snow

Park Avenue Winter Hike

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Park Avenue Trailhead
  • Distance: 2 mile roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 187 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

Winter hiking along the Park Avenue Trail can be tricky because the steps down into the canyon can be icy. The trail follows the bottom of a canyon below some of the park’s gigantic and well-known monoliths.

The Park Avenue hike is a one-way trail if you have two cars or a shuttle vehicle. The trail is a little over one mile taking you from the Park Avenue trailhead to the Courthouse Towers parking lot. This is where you would leave your second vehicle or have someone that doesn’t want to hike pick you up.

If that’s not an option, just head back the way you came through the towering sandstone for a nice 2 mile round-trip adventure.

The latter part of the hiking trail has good views of the famous Arches landmarks: The Organ, Tower of Babel and the Three Gossips.

Balanced Rock with snow in the winter
Balanced Rock with snow

Balanced Rock Winter Hike

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Balanced Rock Trailhead
  • Distance: 0.3 mile roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 45 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

Balanced Rock is an easily recognizable landmark of Arches National Park. Many people park in the lot, take a photo, and move on.

It’s definitely worth the time to walk along the Balanced Rock trail. It’s an easy, short loop hike that takes you close to and around the Balanced Rock. There are a few steps along the loop that could be icy.

Turret Arch with snow
Turret Arch with snow

The Windows Section Hikes

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: The Windows Trailhead
  • Distance: 1 mile roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 187 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

The Windows Section of Arches National Park is a cool area with a lot to see. The Windows Trail loop is under 2 miles. There are steps along the loop trail that could be icy in the winter.

You’ll see these two features along the loop hike:

  • North and South Windows
  • Turret Arch
Double Arch
Double Arch

Double Arch Winter Hike

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Double Arch Trailhead
  • Distance: 0.5 mile roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 32 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

On the other side of the Windows parking area is the Double Arch trail. It’s easy and super short. You can see it from the parking lot, but you’ll definitely want to get up close to this one.

Double Arch features two giant arches right next to each other!

You can scramble up the rocks here, but remember that climbing up is easier than climbing back down. In the winter there may be icy patches as well!

Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden in the winter – Photo Credit: Red Around the World

Garden of Eden Viewpoint Winter Hike

The Garden of Eden area is easy to miss as you drive to the Windows section. It’s called a viewpoint, but it’s also an open area where people can explore the sandstone features on the desert slickrock. The rocks can be icy in the winter so be careful.

Delicate Arch with snow
Delicate Arch with snow

Delicate Arch Winter Hike

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Wolfe Ranch
  • Distance: 3 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 610 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate

Hiking to Delicate Arch in the winter can be tricky following a storm. Be sure to check with the Visitor Center for trail conditions. Many parts of the hike can be snow-covered or icy and you may need traction devices.

The Delicate Arch trail is one of the best hikes in Arches National Park. It’s three miles round-trip with stairs and steep sections on slickrock.

If the conditions allow it, don’t be afraid to walk around and see and photograph Delicate Arch from different angles.

Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint
Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint

Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint Winter Hike

If you can’t hike the Delicate Arch trail that takes you right to the arch, you can see the arch from the Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint.

The viewpoint is about 100 yards from the lower viewpoint parking lot where you can see the arch about a mile away.

You can access the Upper Viewpoint Trail from this same location. It’s a short .5 mile hike with a few stairs to climb that could be icy. This short hike will get you a little closer to the arch.

You can’t get all the way to Delicate Arch from hereBut it does provide a slightly less obstructed view from what you see at the Lower Viewpoint.

Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune Arch

Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch Winter Hikes

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Sand Dune Arch
  • Distance: 2 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 226 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

The Sand Dune Arch trail is a spur off the Broken Arch trail. It’s a fun and unique hike because the arch is located in an ‘almost’ slot canyon.

Sand Dune Arch sits in the shade for most of the day so the trail may be wet and icy in the winter.

Broken Arch with snow
Broken Arch with snow

The Broken Arch trail continues past the Sand Dune Trail. This trail often gets bypassed, but it’s an easy, flat hike and you won’t encounter many people on it.

After reaching Broken Arch, you can climb up a slickrock section to continue through the arch. It’s a nice view looking back through the from there.

You can also hike to Tapestry Arch and the Devil’s Garden campground from here.

snowy hiking trail at Arches
Skyline Arch snowy hiking trail

Skyline Arch Winter Hike

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Skyline Arch
  • Distance: 0.4 mile roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 28 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

Skyline Arch sits high atop rocks in the Devils Garden area and can be seen from the Arches National Park scenic drive.

There are steps at the beginning of the trail that could be icy in the winter.

You can also drive to the Devil’s Campground amphitheater and take the paved path to see Skyline Arch from the other side.

Landscape Arch in the snow at Arches National Park
Landscape Arch in the snow

Landscape Arch Winter Hike

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Devil’s Garden Trailhead
  • Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 40 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

Landscape Arch is one of the points of interest along the Devil’s Garden Trail. We recommend you take the spur trail near the beginning of the hike to visit Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch as well.

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

More Winter Hikes Near Arches National Park

Arches National Park Winter Lodging:

Arches National Park Itineraries

We’ve created some done-for-you itineraries for visiting Arches depending on the time you have to spend at the park. Click the graphic below to get a free travel bundle that includes printable daily itineraries. Or click the links below to see detailed itineraries of the best things to do at Arches!

Arches National Park Travel Bundle

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