Tips For Visiting Arches National Park With Kids

Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Arches National Park with kids.

Since we live so close, we have a ton of tips to share! Use this Arches National Park travel guide for planning your family vacation.

There are many family-friendly things to Arches National Park! We share tips for visiting Arches with kids plus what to pack, where to stay, and more!

Arches National Park with kids: everything you need to know

Check out these Arches National Park itineraries based on the number of days you have to spend at the park:

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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!

Tips for Visiting Arches National Park

Arches National Park is a few miles north of the fun outdoor adventure town of Moab, Utah. The landscape you’ll see at Arches includes 2,000 stone archways, giant balanced rocks, and massive pinnacles that immediately draw you in to explore these natural wonders.

Best Time to Visit Arches National Park

When planning a trip with kids, the best time to visit Arches National Park would be the spring or fall.

The weather at Arches National Park can be unbearably hot in the summer. If you do choose to visit in the summer, head out early before the day heats up to enjoy sunrise at Arches National Park!

You can also head out after dinner to enjoy the trails as the day cools off and watch sunset at Arches National Park!

ANY time of year be sure to pack plenty of water – investing in a hydration backpack for each kid ensures they stay hydrated in the hot, dry weather Arches has most of the year. And don’t forget the importance of sun protection: use sunscreen and wear sunhats, even in the winter!

Fiery Furnace at sunset with snow

Arches Hours of Operation

Arches National Park is open 24 hours a day all year round. PLEASE NOTE: Arches has a 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.

Entry Fees to Arches National Park

Admission to Arches National Park is good for seven days. You can come and go any time with your seven-day pass. You can pay your fee at the entrance station, at the self-pay station outside the visitor center, or online at pay.gov.

BUDGET TRAVEL TIP: However, if you plan on visiting nearby Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky or the Canyonlands Needles District, or any other US National Park during the year, you may want to consider purchasing the US National Park Pass – it will definitely help you save money(Did you know when you buy the National Parks Pass from REI, they donate 10% to the National Park Foundation?)

Arches National Park Weather

Since Arches is part of the Colorado Plateau high desert region; this area will experience enormous temperature variations by as much as 40 degrees in twenty-four hours. That’s why, in terms of Arches National Park weather, the most temperate and popular seasons at the park are in spring, between April and May, and in fall, between September and October.

During the mild spring and fall seasons, daytime temperatures average highs of between 60 to 80 degrees F and lows of between 30 to 50 degrees F. During the scorching summers, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees F, while temperatures during the winter are generally between 30 and 50 degrees F, with lows between 0 and 20 degrees F.

We always carry cold weather clothing ‘just in case’ if we’re visiting Arches any time from September to June. 

Pet Regulations at Arches National Park

Pets are allowed within the National Park, but must be leashed at all times. Pets must also never be left unattended and owners are required to pick up after their pets.

Additionally, pets are welcome on all park roads, parking areas, picnic areas, and in the Devils Garden campground. However, pets are not allowed at overlooks, on or off hiking trails, and in the visitor center. 

Arches National Park Services

Be prepared for limited services when visiting Arches National Park. There are no medical facilities, wifi services, gas stations, dump sites, cell phone towers, or dining options on the park.

However, water is available year round at the visitor center, Devils Garden campground, and seasonally, at the Devils Garden trailhead.

Remember though, the city of Moab is just a few miles down the road from the visitor center and has an assortment of facilities that you can enjoy.

Additionally, you are permitted to camp at the Devils Garden Campground and picnic at Devils Garden, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, Arches Visitor Center, and across the road from Balanced Rock.

Arches National Park Map

Arches National Park map

You can find a printable map, trail guide, and other trip planning information in the Arches National Park Newspaper.

Parking at Arches National Park

Some of the most popular parking lots in the park include The Windows, Delicate Arch, and Devils’ Garden, all of which fill up between 9 am and 4 pm. If you plan to visit these areas, we suggest getting there early morning or late afternoon.

When parking lots are full, remember that you can only park in designated areas and are not permitted to drive off road. If no spots are available, do not wait around and block traffic. Instead, move on and try to find a parking spot elsewhere. 

Things to do at Arches National Park With Kids

There are fun way to get the kids excited before, during and after the trip with National Park activities:

Here’s a list of fun things to do at Arches National Park when traveling with kids:

Arches Visitor Center and Ranger-Led Programs

It’s a good idea to start your visit at the Arches National Park visitor center (open everyday except Christmas). Tell the on-duty ranger what activities you are interested in doing at Arches. The rangers can give you tips for the best things to do with kids. You can also find out what ranger-led programs are offered during the time you visit.

While you’re at the visitor center, fill up your water bottle and learn about the distinct geology, history and flora and fauna that inhabit this amazing park.

Become a Junior Ranger

While you’re at the Visitor’s Center, grab a Junior Ranger packet for the kids. Once they do a few activities in the Adventure Guide, they can turn it in to a Park Ranger to get a Junior Ranger Badge.

Arches-National-Park-scenic-drive-by-Photo-Jeepers

Arches Scenic Drive

The Arches National Park scenic drive is a great way to see the park. There are various points of interest along the scenic drive in the park where you can take photos, go hiking or just stop and enjoy the scenery! Download the Arches scenic drive map to navigate along the scenic road to each point of interest.

Stargazing at Arches National Park

If you wait for a nice, clear evening, you can see stars from almost anywhere in the park. Be sure to maximize your experience by allowing your eyes time to adjust (usually takes about 30 minutes), avoiding the moon, bringing a star chart, and using a headlamp with red light to reduce harm to your night vision.

Also, areas away from the main road and with fewer obstructions make for ideal stargazing locations and include Balanced Rock Picnic Area, The Windows Section, Garden of Eden Viewpoint, and Panorama Point.

Arches National Park Hiking Trails With Kids

There are many Arches National Park hiking trails that are short and easy access to see cool arches and rock formations. This is what makes Arches National Park such a great choice for a family vacation with kids. 

There are moderate and difficult hikes at Arches that would be appropriate for older kids. An important tip for hiking with kids is to make sure you select a hike that fits the kids’ abilities.

Before you set out on any hiking trail, make sure you have the right hiking gear for kids.

Easy Hikes and Viewpoints at Arches for Kids:

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park

Balanced Rock Trail

  • 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.

Double Arch at Arches National Park

Double Arch Hike

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

These two arches sit over a collapsed roof – meaning there are boulders all around underneath the arches for kids to scramble on. It’s fun to be able to climb right up under the arches. The hike is about 0.6 miles total, with some descent and steps (not to mention the boulders).

Turret-Arch-Arches-National-Park-photo-jeepers2

The Windows and Turret Arch

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

Next to Double Arch is the parking for the North and South Windows and Turret Arch. This hike is a 1 mile loop. The trail is clear and easy, with some slight elevation gain. Climbing on the sandstone in that area is fun for kids.

Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint and Trail

Seeing iconic Delicate Arch is a MUST when visiting Arches National Park. If your family 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. It 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

Less than a quarter mile from the parking lot on a completely flat trail, Sand Dune Arch is a must see stop with kids in Arches National Park. The easy trail leads into a slot canyon covered in deep sand, with an arch at the end. Besides the easy hike, the best part for kids is climbing the rocks and sand fins and jumping off into the soft sand below. Even the youngest kids can play around in the sand.

Broken Arch Trail

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

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, go through the arch and make sure you look back through it. It’s a pretty cool view from there. You can also hike to Tapestry Arch and the Devil’s Garden campground from here.

Landscape-Arch-at-Arches-National-Park-by-Photo-Jeepers (1)

Landscape Arch

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Devil’s Garden Trailhead
  • Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip
  • Elevation Gain: 490 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy

The Devil’s Garden Trail takes you to Landscape Arch. Along the way you can take the two easy spur trails to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch. Landscape Arch is amazing to see. For most families with small children, return the way you came.

Moderate and Difficult Hiking Trails at Arches for Older Kids:

  • Park Avenue Trail
  • Delicate Arch
  • Firey Furnace
  • Devil’s Garden Primitive Trail (past Landscape Arch)
  • Tower Arch
Park Avenue Arches National Park photo spot

Park Avenue Trail

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

The first hike you’ll come to on the scenic road will make you feel like you’re in an old western movie. The Park Avenue Trail follows the bottom of a canyon below some of the park’s gigantic and well-known monoliths. It’s a memorable experience to hike through these towering natural wonders.

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.

Delicate Arch Trail

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

The Delicate Arch trail is a must-do hike in the park, and it will always be busy. It isn’t horribly difficult, but it’s super steep, so wear good shoes, drink lots of water, and take your time. Check out this awesome post about what it’s like to climb to Delicate Arch, with terrific photos!

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:

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

FREE DOWNLOAD: Arches Printable Packing List

RECOMMENDED GEAR: Arches National Park Packing List

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