There are many photo spots to capture sunset at Arches National Park. The best sunset photography at Arches happens when the stone structures glow from the golden hour light.
Use our Arches National Park travel guide and the tips below to plan your vacation. We share the camera gear to pack, best places for Arches National Park sunset photography, and where to stay!
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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!
We recommend the following camera equipment for taking photos at Arches:
- Camera: Check out the compact travel cameras we recommend!
- Tripod: List of lightweight travel tripods we recommend!
- Camera Bag: Protecting your camera from the sand and dust at Arches is essential. Using a camera backpack is so nice for hiking too. → We LOVE Lowepro camera backpacks.
- Neutral density filter: There can be extreme differences in light at Arches around the various rock structures. To compensate for this variance of light you’ll need to use a neutral density filter. → Check out the Kase magnetic filters we use!
- Camera cleaning kit: You’ll want a field cleaning kit to remove dust that WILL get on your lens at Arches. NOTE: this is not for cleaning the sensor.
- Memory cards: Purchase name brand memory cards since you’re trusting your images to the card! → We use Lexar and Sandisk!
- External hard drive: Don’t forget to copy the photos to a portable external hard drive ‘just in case’. → Check out these awesome portable external hard drives.
- 8. Headlamp: For the best sunrise, sunset or night sky shots at Arches National Park, you’ll be navigating in the dark. Use a flashlight or 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. → Check out these headlamps with the red light!
- Photographing the Southwest book: THIS book has amazing information for taking pictures of natural landmarks in southern Utah.
Arches National Park Photo Spots Map
Tips for Taking Arches Sunset Photos
Here are a few sunset photography tips to help you capture amazing images at Arches:
- Take advantage of the compositions provided by moving to different viewpoints of the formations.
- Use a sturdy tripod to maximize clarity and sharpness, and to expand creative possibilities.
- Using a tripod: ISO 100, Aperture F/11 – F/13, adjust shutter speed to accommodate changing light conditions.
- Handheld: set shutter speed to twice the value of your lens focal length (ex. Lens focal length of 24mm = 1/50 shutter speed). Aperture F/11 – F/13, adjust ISO to accommodate shutter speed.
- Expose for the bright sunlit areas.
Check out these awesome PRESETS for sunrise and sunset at ETSY!
Sunset Spots in Arches National Park
Check out our Arches & Canyonlands Itinerary and Photography Guide with tips and best times to take pictures at each viewpoint!
And here’s a list of where to photograph sunrise at Arches National Park too!
Delicate Arch Sunset
The trail to see the arch up close is 3 miles roundtrip and climbs 480 feet in elevation. The hike is mostly uphill and takes 1 to 1 ½ hours if you are reasonably fit. Be sure to take a headlamp for the hike down after sunset.
If you’re not up for the hike, you can still see this iconic landmark from the Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint. There is an Upper Viewpoint that takes you a little closer and 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.
Walk around the area and try a variety of basic photography techniques to photograph the arch.
Balanced Rock Sunset
Balanced Rock is a popular feature in the park. We suggest you explore the easy .3 mile round trip trail that makes a full loop around this landmark.
FUN FACT: the balanced, upper portion of the rock is as large as three school buses!
It’s fun to photograph the various perspectives as you walk around the structure! There will be a lot of people hiking around the area so it might be hard to get a photo without people in the shot!
Fiery Furnace at Sunset
The Fiery Furnace area is made up of narrow canyons and maze-like fins. At golden hour these rock structures glow to produce amazing photos!
If you’re lucky enough to visit Arches National Park in the winter when there’s snow, the contrast of white against the red rocks is stunning!
We like use the pullouts along the scenic drive between Fiery Furnace and Skyline Arch to photograph the reflected light on the fins in this area of the park!
Skyline Arch Sunset
As you make your way along the Arches National Park scenic drive, you’ll come to Skyline Arch. The rock structure here reflects the late afternoon and sunset light to get that orange/red glow.
You can see the arch from the pullout, but we recommend you hike along the short and easy trail to get closer.
You’ll find interesting elements in the landscape to include in your foreground, midground and background.
Turret Arch at Sunset
Turret Arch can seen through the North Window at Arches National Park, but it does require a bit of precarious scrambling.
It’s one of the best spots for sunset AND sunrise at Arches National Park. At sunrise you have the golden glow on Turret Arch through the window. At sunset you can capture the setting sun on the horizon.
It’s a tough location any time of day to get a photo without people hiking in the window opening. (That’s when Photoshop comes in handy!) But the people in the picture also tell the story of the location.
BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:
Visiting Arches National Park:
- Arches National Park Travel Guide
- Best Time to Visit Arches National Park
- Things to Do at Arches National Park
- Arches National Park Photography
- Arches National Park Packing List
- Arches National Park Camping
- Where to Stay Near Arches National Park
- Tours Near Moab, Utah
Where to Stay Near Arches:
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.