Best Hikes in Arches National Park

Exploring the Arches National Park hiking trails is one of the best ways to experience the unique landscape at the park. Here’s our list of best hikes in Arches National Park.

Arches National Park is located in Southeast Utah and is known for its red-rock canyons and towering sandstone formations. You’ll find hiking trails for the avid hiker, causal visitor, and families traveling with kids.

Arches National Park best hiking trails

Use this Arches National Park travel guide to find the best hikes for YOU! We also share what to pack when hiking at Arches.

We live a few hours away from Arches so we get to visit often, and know what it’s like to hike during all four seasons. Due to the desert environment here, it’s important to stay hydrated, use sun protection, and get the latest weather information before hitting the trails any time of year.

The tips we share here are based on our experience hiking at Arches National Park throughout the years! The first and most important tip is to make sure you have the right clothing and gear for the weather and temperatures when you’ll be visiting! Grab your free printable Arches National Park Packing List 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!

Arches National Park Hiking Gear

One of the best Arches National Park activities is hiking. It’s important to be prepared with the right clothing and gear for hiking at Arches!

hiking gear and clothing

Visiting Arches National Park

Arches may be a small park in comparison to others in the US, but it’s a popular Utah National Park.

Due to this, Arches is one of the nine US National Parks requiring reservations. You must have a timed entry reservation to enter the park from April 1 to October 31. You can enter Arches National Park before 7am and after 4pm without an advance reservation.

If you don’t have an entry ticket, plan to head into the park BEFORE 6am or after 5pm. During the summer, you’ll want to hike in those cooler hours anyway!

Best Time to Visit Arches National Park

Seasonally, the best time to visit Arches National Park is during the winter off-season, between November and February.

Not only will you avoid the intense heat, but you can enjoy some spectacular winter scenery without the crowds and traffic that can make visiting during the high-season a bit daunting.

But hiking can be a bit more tricky in the winter with muddy, snowy, or icy trails and cold temperatures! Many times you’ll need traction devices for your hiking shoes.

Arches National Park with snow

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.

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.

  • Spring and fall: average highs 60 to 80 and lows 30 to 50 degrees F.
  • Summer: highs can exceed 100 degrees F and lows in the 50s.
  • Winter: highs 30 and 50 and lows 0 and 20 degrees F.

Best Hikes in Arches National Park

Hiking is a popular activity when visiting Arches National Park. Most of the trails at Arches are fully exposed to the sun. Remember to stay hydrated, eat salty snacks, and wear sunscreen, even in the winter!

Here’s a list of the best Arches National Park hiking trails in order as you would pass them driving from the park entrance.

Park Avenue hiking trail

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 is the Park Avenue Trail. 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 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.

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park near sunrise Photo Jeepers 800
Balanced Rock hiking trail

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. It’s an easy and short hike at Arches National Park that loops around this amazing stone feature. Each vantage point along the trail showcases a different side of Balanced Rock.

Milky Way behind Balanced rock

And don’t forget to Visit the Park After Dark. You’ll be amazed at the stars in the sky at Arches National Park! Balanced Rock is a cool Arches National Park photo spot for taking pictures of the milky way!

The Spectacles at Arches by Photo Jeepers
The Windows hiking trail

The Windows Section Trail

  • 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 popular area so it’s best to get there first thing in the morning before the parking lots fill up!

The Windows Trail loop is under 2 miles. In this area the main attractions are the North and South Windows where you can stand under the large South Window.

There is also a more primitive hiking trail that circles around the back of the Windows Section that gives hikers a different perspective of the area.

Turret Arch at sunrise Photo Jeepers
Turret Arch

You can’t forget Turret Arch that’s also along the Windows Trail Loop. It’s a fun arch to photograph!

Double Arch photo at Arches National Park Photo Jeepers 800
Double Arch hiking trail

Double Arch Trail

  • 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. This is one of the super short and easy hikes at Arches National Park. It’s cool to see how the two arches formed in this rock wall.

If you want to have this area to yourself to climb and explore, get there in the morning or evening.

Garden of Eden Viewpoint with snow (Photo Credit: Red Around the World)

Garden of Eden Viewpoint Trail

The Garden of Eden area is easy to miss as you drive to the Windows section. This area is called a viewpoint, but it’s also an open trail where people can explore the sandstone features on the desert slickrock.

You can see arches just starting to form all over this area. As you walk around, remember to stay off the cryptobiotic soil.

delicate arch at Arches National Park
Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch Hiking Trail

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

Delicate Arch is THE iconic feature at Arches National Park. It’s a must-do hike in the park, and it will always be busy. BUT it’s a moderate to strenuous hike so it’s not for everyone.

The Delicate Arch hike is three miles round-trip and it’s super steep. Wear good hiking shoes, drink lots of water, and take your time.

It’s hard to photograph Delicate Arch without people in it, but it can be done. Usually people are good to wait in line taking turns to get their picture taken under the arch.

The trick is to wait for the people to move away from the arch as the next people in line move toward the arch. You’ll only have a brief moment to capture the photo so be ready!

Check out this awesome post about what it’s like to climb to Delicate Arch, with terrific photos!

Delicate Arch viewpoint at Arches National Park
Delicate Arch Viewpoint

Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint and Trail

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. 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.

Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park
Fiery Furnace

Fiery Furnace Hiking Trail

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Fiery Furnace
  • Distance: Varies depending on route
  • Elevation Gain: Varies depending on route
  • Difficulty Level: Advanced (requires ranger or permit)

The Fiery Furnace hiking trail is a great option for people that want to get off the beaten path at Arches National Park. This is the only hike in Arches that requires a permit. You can get it at the Visitor Center.

The Fiery Furnace area is made up of a bunch of fins in rows with small canyons between them. You basically wander around this area wherever you want (with your permit), but it’s possible to get lost, so pay attention to where you’re going and where you came from. 

You’ll find hidden arches in here so keep an eye out for those!

Sand Dune Arch photo spot at Arches by Photo Jeepers
Sand Dune Arch hiking trail

Sand Dune Arch and Broken Arch Trail

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

The Sand Dune Arch trail is accessed off the Broken Arch trail. It’s a short spur trail taking you to an arch surrounded by sand.

The area sits in the shade for most of the day, which makes it the perfect place to rest, take off your shoes and enjoy the cool sand. This is a great spot for kids!

Broken Arch at Arches National Park by Photo Jeepers
Broken Arch hiking trail

The Broken Arch trail continues past the Sand Dune Trail. Many people bypass this arch, but it’s an easy, flat hike we recommend.

After reaching Broken Arch, you can climb up and through the arch to continue on to Tapestry Arch or the Devil’s Garden Campground.

Landscape Arch at Arches National Park by Photo Jeepers
Landscape Arch

Devil’s Garden Trail

  • Trailhead & Parking Area: Devil’s Garden Trailhead
  • Distance: 1.6 miles roundtrip to Landscape Arch | 7.2 miles roundtrip Primitive Loop
  • Elevation Gain: 490 feet
  • Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

The Devil’s Garden Trail loop is a little over seven miles and has at least seven arches to see along the way. Part of this hike is designated a primitive trail and can be moderate to strenuous.

For an easy hike, we recommend you go to Landscape Arch then head back. Along the way take the short spur trails to see Tunnel Arch and Pine Tree Arch.

To continue along the trail from this point it becomes a more primitive and strenuous trail.

While most visitors don’t venture far from the Arches National Park scenic drive, anyone willing to hike the trails will see what everyone else is missing.

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps

More Hiking Trails Near Arches National Park

Arches National Park Travel Planner

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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