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Things to Do in Arches

Arches Visitor Center - NPS photo by Neal HerbertVISITOR CENTER  The visitor center is located at the park entrance. Stop in to browse through the exhibits, see the park movie, and shop the bookstore. The store is operated by CNHA. Your purchases a Arches support the park! Arches Visitor Center is open daily, year-round, except for December 25. Fall/WInter hours are 9 am to 4 pm. (hours vary by the season). Restrooms, drinking water, and outdoor exhibits are available 24 hours a day. 

DRIVING Explore Arches by driving the 36-mile (58 km) round-trip, paved, scenic drive through the park’s red rock wonderland. Most of the main points of interest and viewpoints are along this road. You will be returning on the same road you came in on when you are ready to leave the park. There are a few 4-wheel drive roads in Arches. See the Arches park map for details. Please note that ATVs, UTVs, and OHVs are not permitted in the park. Motorbikes must be highway-legal. 

Hiking in Arches

HIKING  Arches offers many different hiking experiences, from short and easy to longer, more strenuous hikes. Visit our hiking in Arches web page to learn more.

RANGER-LED PROGRAMS  Arches National Park rangers and volunteers offer a variety of interpretive programs every day, spring through fall, to help you learn about this special park. Check at the Arches Visitor Center for more information. The Fiery Furnace is a very popular guided hike. This is a three-hour strenuous hike that involves rock scrambling. Visit the Recreation.gov website to reserve a ticket up to six months in advance. Afternoon tours are only sold in-person at the Arches Visitor Center. Tours sell out quickly; stop by the visitor center to ask about the next available hike.

BIKING  You can bike the paved and unpaved roads, but bikes are not allowed on hiking trails. There are no bike lanes or paved shoulders in the park. Ride in single file and be alert! Expect large buses and RVs on the road.

Devils Garden Campground

CAMPING  The only camping in the park is at the Devils Garden Campground, 18 miles from the park entrance. This is a beautiful campground where sites are nestled among slickrock outcroppings. All sites are usually reserved months in advance. You can reserve standard campsites no fewer than four days and no more than 6 months in advance for stays March 1 to October 31. Between November 1 and February 28, sites are first-come, first-served. Reservations can be at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Facilities include drinking water, picnic tables, grills, and both pit-style and flush toilets.

There are lots of camping options in the Moab area. For a complete list and camping tips, visit the DiscoverMoab.com campgrounds webpage.

NIGHT SKIES On a clear night, you can see great stars and perhaps the Milky Way just about anywhere in the park. Areas off the main park road with few obstructions of the sky are best. The farther north you drive, away from the lights of Moab, the darker the sky will be. 
NPS photo/Jacob W. Frank

 Suggested areas:
• Balanced Rock Picnic Area
• The Windows
• Garden of Eden Viewpoint
• Panorama Point 
Rangers lead night sky programs from May through October. Check the park event calendar  or at the Arches visitor center for night sky program dates.

 

CNHA Photography Guide

PHOTOGRAPHY In this land of wondrous rock formations, sublime vistas, and stark contrasts, you will literally be surrounded by compelling subjects for photographs. Visit CNHA's Photography Guide web page for the best times and tips to help you capture the best photographs. 

OTHER ACTIVITIES  Canyoneering, rock climbing, backpacking, and horseback riding are also allowed in the park. Visit the Arches National Park webpage for more details.

Sample Itineraries

TOURING BY CAR
In 1½ hours, you can do either of these two drives:
• Drive to The Windows Section and see some of the park’s largest arches.
• Drive to Delicate Arch Viewpoint and see the world’s most famous arch from a distance. Stop at Wolfe Ranch on your way back, and imagine homesteading here in the late 1800s.

In 3 hours: Drive the whole park road, spending 10 minutes at each viewpoint.

In half a day: Drive the whole park road, spending 10 minutes at each viewpoint, and take a short walk at The Windows Section, Delicate Arch Viewpoint, or Balanced Rock.

HIKING
In two hours, you can do one of these four routes:
• Hike The Windows loop trail. Hike between parking areas to Double Arch. Drive back to Balanced Rock and walk the trail around its base.
• Hike up the sloping slickrock to see Delicate Arch. (Avoid this trail in midday summer heat.)
• Walk between tall fins in Devils Garden to see Landscape Arch, North America’s longest.
• Walk to Sand Dune Arch, then across the field to Broken Arch. Continue through the end of the campground and return. Enjoy Tapestry Arch and the sandstone fins.

In half a day, take one of these three hikes:
• Hike the entire Devils Garden trail to the spire called Dark Angel.
• On your way back, hike the primitive trail only if you’re up for challenging slopes and exposure to heights.
• If you don’t mind driving an unpaved road to the remote area called Klondike Bluffs, hike the primitive trail to Tower Arch.

Visit our Hiking in Arches web page for more detailed information about hiking in Arches

Arches items