With over 2,000 natural stone arches and hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive rock fins, and giant balanced rocks, it’s no wonder that Arches National Park gets so busy right now that they actually have to close the park! If you are one of the lucky ones that get to see Arches National Park this year, chances are you’re going to want to do the best hikes in Arches NP.
I’ve been to Arches National Park quite a few times over the past 6 years of our full-time travel, but it was only on this last trip in April 2021 that I discovered what I think is the Best Hike in Arches National Park.
Arches National Park is one of those must-visit-once-in-your-life types of national parks. Although, in my opinion, you only need half-day here and see the best of it.
This is good because there is a lot to see and do in the Moab area and you wouldn’t want to spend all your time in Arches National Park and miss out on all the other adventures near Moab.
Then again, if you are a desert rat and absolutely love the wide open spaces and uniquely sculpted rock formations that Arches Np is made up of, then you might want to stay much longer.
Tips For Your First Time Visit To Arches National Park
The entrance fee to Arches NP is $30 per vehicle and is good for 7 days. If you will be visiting Canyonlands or Natural Bridges, you may want to buy a Southeast Utah Parks Pass which is $55.00 and good for an entire year. If you will be visiting other National Parks or Federal Recreational Lands during the year then you may want to buy a year pass for $80.
As you can see from the chart below, your best month for visiting Arches NP are April, May, June, September, and October.
Hiking Pack List
- REI Co-op 22L Pack: In 7 years of serious hiking this is the best day hiking backpack we’ve ever used. The REI Co-op 18L is also great but it doesn’t have water bottle holders on the outside or the zippered pocket on the top.
- La Sportiva Bushidos: Our all-time favorite hiking shoes for both men and women. Read why we love them here!
- Hydroflask water bottle [w/ Defy the Norm Stickers] however, if you visit in the summer you really should bring a Camelback
- Stance Socks: Our favorite absorbent and warm socks for hiking.
- [Womens] Hylete Leggings: Stylish, sturdy, and comfy. They are great for hiking, climbing, and yoga.
- [Mens] Kuhl Renegade Pants: Sturdy and midweight for rugged mobility and warmth.
- [Women’s} Kuhl Splash Roll Up: I’ve hiked all over the planet with these awesome pants. They’re durable, comfy, and also great to rock climb in. We also love Kuhl’s Trekkr sytle pants.
- Hoodie: Check out durable Defy the Norm hoodies and spread good vibes while staying warm and in style out on your hike!
- Our favorite women’s hiking shorts that are great for all our adventures.
- Defy the Norm long sleeve sun layer: A lightweight long sleeve is essential in the summer to protect and you can do so in style with our Defy the Norm series.
- Patagonia Nano Puff: We carry these jackets with us on all our hikes and travels because they pack down really small and are warm and comfy. If you tend to get cold easily, I recommend getting the Patagonia Down Sweater.
- Sun Bum sunscreen: Lightweight and protective. Great for when you have to re-apply often because it’s not goopy or oily.
- [Mens] Black Diamond Notion Shorts: The boys’ favorite sturdy and lightweight hiking shorts.
- Lightweight Defy the Norm tee or tank: Early in the morning before the sun gets harsh, you’ll want to have apparel that keeps you cool. Check out our radical line of outdoor apparel to Defy the Norm with us.
- Hat & Sunglasses
Best Hikes In Arches National Park
1 | Delicate Arch: The Most Popular Hike at Arches National Park
Distance: 3 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 480 feet
Trailhead: Wolfe Ranch
Even though this is only a 3 mile round trip hike, it’s not what I’d consider super easy. It has a section up steep slick rock that will certainly wake up the thighs.
If it’s hot, be sure to do this hike early or late, and even if it’s not hot, hike it early or late to avoid the long line of crowds that want to get IG famous with a picture under the arch.
Also, there is a narrow ledge that you have to walk right before you get to the arch so please don’t hike this if it’s icy or if you are terrified of heights.
In fact, if you can handle this, you probably can handle my favorite hike, Double O Arch (see below).
Note that if you don’t want to do this hike, or really care about being IG famous by posing for a picture under it, you can drive to the lower viewpoint and take a picture from a distance or do the .5 mile steep trek and get even better pictures from afar. But you cannot hike to delicate arch from these viewpoints.
2 | Landscape Arch: The Best Hike For Young Kids
Distance: 1.8 miles RT
Elevation Gain: minimal feet
Trailhead: Devil’s Garden
This is a really nice, chill trail with almost no elevation change. Most people stop when they see the arch and reach the sign for it but if you continue a few hundred feet further, you get better views of the arch.
3 | Windows Loop: Best Easy Hike
Distance: 1 mile RT
Elevation Gain: 480 feet
Windows is only a one-mile round trip and if you feel up to a little more, you can add in the half-mile round trip hike to Double Arch.
4 | Fiery Furnace: The Most Adventurous Hike
Fiery furnace is a maze of narrow sandstone canyons, unfortunately, due to COVID, it’s currently closed. You should though stop at the viewpoint and check it out. It’s pretty awesome!
5 | Balanced Rock: Best Hikes For Non-Hikers
This hike is only 0.3 miles roundtrip and part of the trail is even paved so if you want to check out the beautiful rock formation up close without having to hike much, this is the one for you.
6 | Double O Arch: The Best Hike If You Want To Escape The Crowds
Distance: 4.2 miles RT
Elevation Gain: feet
Trailhead: Devil’s Garden
The NPS says the trail here is difficult with rock scrambling, narrow ledges, and exposure to heights and while technically they aren’t lying, it’s also not as bad as this may sound.
When we hiked this, I had my 10-year-old with me and the gusts of wind were significant, but I still wasn’t worried. Of course, be self-responsible and don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with however, you don’t need to be a rock climber or extreme athlete to get here.
If you have a decent level of fitness and tennis shoes with good traction, you’ll probably be fine. And, if you get out this far, you may want to keep going another half mile to Dark Angel.
Avoid Crowds At Arches With This Half Day Itinerary
This itinerary assumes you are visiting in the late spring through early fall when sunset is about 8pm and assumes you hike an average of 2 miles/hour like we do.
- 3:00pm Arrive at the Arches Park entrance
- 3:00-4:30pm Drive to Devil’s Garden Parking Area (which is 18 miles from the entrance), stopping at all the major viewpoints along the road including windows, fiery furnace, panorama, and sand dunes arch.
- 4:30-6:30pm Hike to Landscape Arch or Double O Arch
- 6:30-8:30pm Drive to and hike Delicate Arch (or choose to go to the viewpoint instead).
Hotels Near Arches
There are a lot of options for hotels near Arches in the town of Moab. My suggestion is to choose a hotel on the west side of town because traffic going into Moab can get really bad and this way you spend less time sitting in traffic and more time playing.
Search cheap hotels here.
Camping Near Arches
While I love Arches NP and the mountain biking in Moab is awesome, camping near Arches has been stressful for me.
For starters, it seems to always be crowded in Moab so I have trouble finding camping spots. While there is a lot of free or really cheap camping, it’s often full or you have to camp far from the fun.
Devils Garden Campground inside Arches National Park is a fabulous place to camp but it’s hard to get. You can try to reserve it here.
There are quite a few RV resorts in town but I’ve never stayed at them so I can’t really say much about them. One of our favorite spots to find camping is along Highway 128 which follows the Colorado River. We’ve camped up at Big Bend before and just loved it.
Adventurous Things To Do Near Arches NP
There is a lot to do and see in the Moab area. To be honest though, we’ve only explored a fraction of the area mostly because Moab seems to be too crowded for our taste whenever we are there. Plus, visiting Moab in a class C is limiting because a lot of the fun adventures require 4wd to get to.
Exploring Canyonlands NP and Dead Horse SP is on most people’s to do list, however, we still haven’t made it out there because the driving can take up most of your day and I’d rather spend more of my day hiking, biking, and climbing.
The Island of Sky area in Canyonlands NP sounds fabulous and way less crowded, but you need 4wd to get there.
We have mountain biked up near Dead Horse SP and really enjoyed the area up there. Camping at Dead Horse SP sounds really is nice too, but it’s a little hard to get a site for.
Last, we like rock climbing Potash Road although climbing sandstone is a killer to the ego!
I hope this at least helps you plan your Arches National Park portion of your Moab trip. Utah is a really amazing state for fun and adventure. From Moab and Zion to Park City and St George, a Utah Road Trip is sure to be an adventure you will never forget!