Arches National Park
One of the most recognizable and well-photographed natural areas in the country, Arches National Park encompasses just over 100 square miles of eastern Utah and boasts more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. Positioned over a massive subterranean salt bed, these graceful rock formations are the result of thousands of years of erosion and geological activity, and today draw legions of curious visitors with their beauty. In fact, according to reporting by the New York Times, the park expects to see upwards of 1.8 million visitors in 2018.
Due to its situation in the high desert climate of the Colorado Plateau, Arches National Park is subject to extremely variable weather, which can sometimes shift by as much as 40 F in a single day. The seasons with the best daytime weather are spring (April-May) and fall (September-October), with ample sunshine and temperatures hovering between 60 and 80 F. During the high summer months, daytime temperatures frequently reach the triple digits, and violent afternoon thunderstorms are common. In winter, temperatures can dip below freezing, and snow and ice may lead to trail and road closures.
Arches National Park lies directly north of the town of Moab, a bustling and scenic community of about 5,000 inhabitants. Other small towns in the area include Spanish Valley, Green River, and Crescent Junction; the relatively large city of Grand Junction, Colorado is an hour and a half to the east.
The unique and variable landscape of Arches offers an array of outdoor recreational opportunities, from hiking and horseback riding to canyoneering and climbing. Arches also hosts a number of organized events and ranger-led programs, which you can learn more about by clicking here. In order to protect these delicate structures and preserve them for future generations, visitors are asked to abide by park rules and regulations whenever participating in these activities.
When visiting Arches National Park — or any preserved public lands — it’s important to bear in mind the long-term historical and cultural history and significance of the landscape. Learn more about the indigenous history of Arches National Park here.
RV Resorts & Campsites in Arches National Park
While there’s only one Arches National Park campground managed by the National Park Service -- Devils Garden -- there are a wide variety of private RV parks to choose from in the area, as well as a few free and low-cost dispersed camping, or boondocking, sites nearby. Click here to learn more about camping in Moab and the immediate Arches National Park vicinity.
RV Rentals Near Arches National Park
Nearby RV Rentals
Hit the Trails
Arches National Park offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with its namesake rock formations with dozens of hiking trails, ranging in difficulty from easy strolls to strenuous treks. Because many of the park’s natural features are quite delicate, the park service requests that you stay on designated trails and avoid disturbing wildlife and or any ephemeral pools of water you may encounter. Climbing, scrambling, walking or standing upon, or rappelling off any arch is strictly prohibited.
As with any hiking adventure, always ensure you’re prepared for the journey! Stock up on water, snacks, and sunscreen, and be sure to check the latest weather report before you head out. During peak travel seasons, Arches can become quite crowded; for best results, hit the trails early before everyone else shows up.
Arches National Park Trails
Balanced Rock Loop
Distance: 0.3-mile loop
Terrain: This easy and accessible, partially-paved loop introduces visitors to one of the park’s most recognizable stone formations.
Distance: 2.9 miles
Terrain: This moderate-to-strenuous hike leads you to the park’s iconic arch -- yes, the one that you’ve seen in all the photos. There’s no shade and it’s very popular, so bring sunscreen and arrive early!
Devils Garden Loop
Distance: 7.2-mile loop
Terrain: This primitive trail leads to the 306-foot Landscape Arch, one of the largest natural arches on earth. But be warned: the trail involves narrow ledges, uneven surfaces, and some slickrock scrambling. It should not be attempted when the rock is wet or snowy, or by visitors who suffer from fear of heights or exposure.
Distance: 0.5 miles
Terrain: An easy, gravel-lined trail leading to the base of two giant arch spans joined together at one end. May be wheelchair accessible with assistance.
Double O Arch
Distance: 4.5 miles
Terrain: Not to be confused with Double Arch Trail! This challenging trek climbs over sandstone slabs and exposes explorers to narrow edges -- but offers some of the best views in the park.
What to Do at
Arches National Park
Nestled in between two of Utah’s hottest national park destinations -- Arches and Canyonlands -- Moab offers visitors a wealth of bars, restaurants, shops, museums, and cultural pursuits. Whether you’re looking for a delicious dinner to round off a long day of exploring, to learn more about Utah’s history at an area museum, or to browse unique, desert-inspired art, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Moab.
We’ve pulled out some local favorites below, but be sure to check out Moab's travel council website for complete details.
From stick-to-your-ribs barbecue to light bites like sushi, a wide world of cuisine is available in teeny-tiny Moab.
Type: All sorts of breakfast favorites, with a heavy emphasis on crepes.
Type: House-made fry bread, hand-cut steaks, and world-class barbecue
Whether you’re gearing up to go rock climbing or just looking for a souvenir or two, these Moab vendors have you covered.
Specializing in unique, handmade southwestern art, this gift shop offers paintings, pottery, and more -- a must-stop whether you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one.
Hike, bike, climb, or clamber: you’re in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, so you might as well really enjoy it. This outfitter’s open seven days a week and has everything you need for safe and happy adventures.
Want to bring home a little piece of the park? While it’s illegal to pick up sticks and stones inside the park property, you can become the proud owner of a piece of ancient Utah history at this beloved rock shop, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
In search of a new -- or at least, new-to-you -- outfit? Want to help a good cause in the process? Nonprofit WabiSabi funds a swath of local projects… all by offering a treasure trove of thrifted goodies for you.
If a rainy day is keeping you off the trails, head to one of these exhibits. You’ll learn a lot, but it’ll be way more fun than you’ve ever had in a classroom.
Even if you don’t watch many old westerns, it’s impossible not to be intrigued by the unique history of this singular style of film. This museum is part of the larger Red Cliffs Ranch attraction, which is actually where many of the most famous westerns were filmed
Fossils, facts, and fun abound at this classic Moab stop. Adults $5; children up to 17 free with adult admission.
Just when you think you couldn’t possibly take in any more beauty, Utah serves up more -- with some fun city extras, to boot.
Yes, wine is made in Utah -- and good wine, at that. In fact, this winery’s offerings have won a variety of awards at both the state and national levels. Go taste for yourself!
Twenty miles south of Moab, you can find yourself in an alpine wonderland, a landscape replete with forested hiking trails and lakes. Explore on foot as a juxtaposition to Arches’ starker beauty, or take the 63-mile scenic loop road for front row seats.
A Moab must-stop, this attraction features a very Instagrammable field of life-size dinosaurs as well as an aquarium and 3D theater.
Psst: You’re in Grand Circle country. Don’t let Arches be the only stop on your loop! Canyonlands National Park is just half an hour south, not to mention the huge list of other national recreational areas in the American southwest.
Want to get really familiar with the Colorado River? There’s no better way than to take to it in a whitewater raft. Dozens of professional area whitewater tour guides and outfitters are waiting to show you just how thrilling (and spilling!) a river trip can be -- spills optional.
How to Get to
Arches National Park
Although fairly remote, Arches National Park is located quite close to I70; both eastbound and westbound traffic should take the exit for US191. For full details on how to approach the park by motor vehicle from a variety of different orientations, check the park’s official directions page -- and don’t rely on your GPS.
The closest major airport to Arches is Salt Lake City, though there is also a much smaller airfield at Moab, which offers daily service to Denver. Both Salt Lake City and Denver are about a half day’s drive from Arches.
Although Moab offers a huge array of lodging opportunities, RVing gives visitors the best combination of creature comforts and in-park camping convenience, which could put you at the front of a lengthy line of eager hikers. And if you’re planning on stringing together multiple national park properties, an RV is an exceptionally comfortable and relatively affordable way to travel. (Psst: if you don’t already have a rig of your own, check out the wide variety of RV rentals available in your area.)View RV Rentals
Entering Arches National Park
There is a fee to enter Arches National Park, but your admission price buys you and your passengers a seven-day permit -- and it’s used for the maintenance and upkeep of the park property and interpretive services. Here are the updated park entry fees per late August, 2018:
Private Vehicle : $30
Private, non-commercial vehicles (15 passenger capacity or less) and all occupants.
Motorcycle : $25
One or two passengers on a private, non-commercial motorcycle.
Per Person : $15
One individual with no car (bicyclist, hiker, pedestrian). Youth 15 and under are admitted for free.
If you are planning to visit multiple parks, an America the Beautiful Pass may be a worthy investment. For $80, you’ll get a year’s entry to over 2,000 NPS-managed federal recreation areas.
Arches National Park is one of the most iconic American road trip experiences out there, and we can’t wait to learn more about your visit! Tag us in your photos and stories on social media, or send details directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have your tales shared on our own channels.