Established: 1929 (initially as a National Monument, then became a National Park in 1971)
Location: Eastern Utah, about 230 miles southeast of Salt Lake City
Visitation: 1,663,557 in 2018
Size: 76,679 acres
Arches National Park is literally home to thousands of sandstone arches. This is a park that just about anyone can easily explore and enjoy. There are many impressive arches that require less than a mile of hiking. As a result you can see quite a bit of the small park in one day or stay for a few days and enjoy all it has to offer. If at all possible make sure you see Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch. They are the two most famous arches in the park for a reason.
The Best and Worst of the Park
The best thing about the park: The arches of course! There are over 2,000 arches in the park and they are undoubtedly the highlight and reason people visit. To be more specific Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch are probably the two most impressive ones in the park.
The worst thing about the park: The crowds and heavy traffic. This is one of the smallest National Parks in the country, but it receives a lot of visitors. That means there are people just about everywhere you go in the park.
Can’t miss sight: Delicate Arch at sunset. Watching the arch change colors under the setting sun was one of the coolest things I have seen in the parks. You also have to see Landscape Arch.
Best hikes: The Devil’s Garden Trail is definitely a good one. Landscape Arch is less than a mile from the trailhead. There are several other nice arches on the trail. The Delicate Arch hike is probably even better and that is a short, but fairly steep hike.
Best spots for photography: I have previously mentioned Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch. The Windows and Double Arch are a couple of other photogenic arches in the park.
Best place to relax: If you’re there in the summer, I’d recommend anywhere you can find shade would be a decent place to rest up for a bit. I actually relaxed with a book under a large tree in a park in Moab when I was there and needed to escape the heat for a little bit.
Best time to visit: I was there in the summer, but I would definitely suggest the shoulder seasons; Spring and Fall. Summer is very hot (often over 100 degrees) and is very busy.
Where to sleep: There is only one campground in the park (Devil’s Garden Campground) and there is no lodging in the park. There are a couple more campgrounds in Canyonlands National Park, which is just a few miles away. The outdoorsy town of Moab, which is plenty of hotels, is just outside the park.
Non-hiking activities: Mountain biking is probably the biggest one.
How much time does the park need? You can actually see a lot of the park in a single day. Two or three days is plenty of time. I was there for a couple of days and was able to hike nearly every trail in the park.
Links To My Other Blog Posts About Arches National Park
I have written about a few hikes in the park:
I also mentioned Arches or one of its hikes in several of the National Parks lists I have made:
- My Top 10 National Park Hikes (6 miles or less) #6
- The Best National Parks for Short Hikes
- The 7 Natural Wonders of America’s National Parks
- My Top 20 Things To See In The National Parks – In Honor Of The NPS Turning 100 Years Old Today
I additionally wrote:
- Arches National Park in One Day
- 10 Reasons To Visit Arches National Park
- Trying to be a Hero in Arches National Park
I also dedicated a whole chapter in my book to my time in Arches National Park