Things to Do at Arches National Park

If you love the outdoors, you’ll find a ton of things to do at Arches National Park like hiking, biking, photography and more!

We’ve created an Arches National Park travel guide to help you plan your vacation: activities, what to pack and where to stay.

Use our list below to learn more about the hiking trails, scenic drives, photography spots and more!

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National Park Packing List

When you are visiting US National Parks it is important to be prepared. This includes wearing the proper clothes and shoes to be comfortable for the climate and the terrain.

→ CHECK OUT: National park packing lists for spring, summer, fall and winter!

Outdoor Gear we recommend! Travel Gear & Hiking Gear

outdoor gear we use

Timed Entry at Arches National Park

Arches is doing a TIMED ENTRY pilot program April through October, 2022.

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.

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!

skyline arch at sunset

Things to Do at Arches National Park

There are so many fun ways to explore Arches: hiking trails, scenic drive, rock climbing, off road driving and photography to name a few.

Use the ideas below to help you plan the perfect itinerary when visiting Arches National Park.

Stop at the Visitor Center

The Arches National Park Visitor Center is the first place you want to stop to get up-to-date information and conditions. It’s open every day of the year with a few seasonal closures – check the website for operating dates and hours.

Did you know you can talk with the park ranger, tell them what you are most interested in and ask for recommendations on things to do? You can also find out what Ranger Programs are available at the time of your visit.

The Visitor Center has exhibits to learn about the park as well as a bookstore. Restrooms and drinking water are also available here.

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 map to navigate along the scenic road to each point of interest.

Arches National Park map

Photography

The park is filled with endless Arches National Park photography opportunities. You’ve probably seen many iconic Arches National Park photos of Delicate Arch, Landscape Arch, Balanced Rock, Turret Arch and more!

If you’re serious about taking photos at Arches, check out these resources:

take jaw-dropping photos at Arches & Canyonlands

Stargazing

Did you know that Arches National Park is internationally recognized as one of the best places to see the stars at night?

Due to its remote location and clear skies, you get to see, and photograph, some of the most incredible views of the night sky… and even the Milky Way! 

Good stargazing spots:

  • Balanced Rock
  • The Windows
  • Garden of Eden Viewpoint
  • Panorama Point

Hiking

One of the best ways to appreciate the park is to explore the Arches National Park hiking trails. There are easy trails for families and casual hikers and strenuous trails for those who aren’t afraid of a challenge.  

The easy trails we recommend are Balanced Rock, The Windows, and Double Arch. Kids, and adults, will love the Sand Dune Arch trail through a mini slot canyon and a nice shaded area to play in the sand.

The moderate trails we recommend are Delicate Arch, Devil’s Garden Trail or Park Avenue. And for the more difficult primitive trails you can do Fiery Furnace or Tower Arch.

When hiking it is especially important that you take the proper gear and plenty of water as well as dress in moisture-wicking layers.

Turret Arch at Arches National Park

Camping

If you’re interested in Arches National Park camping there’s only one small campground in the park. You will need to reserve a spot at Devil’s Garden Campground from March 1- October 31.

There are other camping options in Moab if you can’t get a reservation in Arches. Check out nearby Island in the Sky campgrounds as well.

Other Activities

BUY AT AMAZON: Arches and Canyonlands Guides and Maps:

Arches Canyonlands guides and maps

Visiting Arches National Park:

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.

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2 Comments

    1. Yes, it can be frustrating for sure! We added this to the article so people know in advance about the lines/closure: “The best tip we can give anyone visiting Arches, especially during the busy season, is to ARRIVE EARLY, like before 8 am! When the parking lots at the main attractions fill up, the park will close for a short time. As people leave and more spots open, the park will resume allowing people in. We also find the late afternoon to be another good time to avoid the lines.”

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