5 Easy Hikes in Arches National Park Utah

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5 Easy Hikes Arches National Park

 

Arches National Park is amazing! There is a reason that more than 1.5 million people visit Arches National Park each year. The stunning scenery of the beautiful sandstone rocks will make you want to move to Utah. Arches National Park contains one of the world’s largest collections of natural arches.

Out of the five national parks in Utah I think I liked Arches the best. But I didn’t spend as many days at Capitol Reef so it could actually be my favorite. I’ll have to go back and spend more time at both and then decide.

Zion, Bryce, and Canyonlands are all magnificent as well.

As you can see on this Arches National Park map, there is only one road into the park, and you can follow it all the way to the end to Devil’s Garden Trailhead and campground.

You’ll also notice two offshoot roads in Arches – one will take you to The Windows and the other to Delicate Arch trailhead and Delicate Arch viewpoint.

One of the great things about Arches is the hiking. There are a variety of trails at Arches National Park ranging from easy to difficult. Today we’ll focus on the easy trails at Arches National Park.

Keep reading to learn about these fun hikes at Arches National Park.

 

Female hiker at The Windows Trail Arches National Park

 

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Please note there are no restaurants or lodgings at Arches National Park so bring food with you and bring water or other beverages to keep you hydrated and replenish your energy.

 

Easy Hikes Arches National Park

All the following hikes are great for solo hikers and they’re also probably suitable for children, with Sand Dune Arch the likely favorite for young kids.

Broken Arch and Sand Dune Arch

Distance to Sand Dune Arch is only 0.3 miles (0.5 km)

Broken Arch round trip hike is 1.6 miles (2.6 km)

Both arches are located close to the Devil’s Garden, toward the end of the main road in Arches National Park. From Moab it will take at least 45 minutes to drive to Broken Arch trailhead.

Spoiler alert: Broken Arch is not broken. It’s only wounded.

Before you go to Broken Arch (and perhaps continue onward to Tapestry arch) you should do the short and sweet Sand Dune Arch hike.

I recommend you take your shoes off and enjoy walking barefoot in the sand. It feels wonderful! Kids love the Sand Dune Arch because of all the beautiful sand, and it offers some shade due to the surrounding sandstone formations.

Even if you don’t have time to hike Broken Arch or it’s just too hot to hike, I highly recommend visiting Sand Dune Arch.

It is magical.

 

Broken Arch Trail Arches National Park as seen in the photo the arch is not broken, only cracked

Broken Arch is not actually broken, but rather a bit damaged

 

Hikers of all ages exploring Sand dune arch

 

The Windows and Turret Arch

Distance: 1.4 miles (2.2 km)

From the trailhead parking lot you can walk to the North and South Windows and the Turret Arch. There is also a primitive trail that takes a little longer but leads behind the North and South Windows.

Alternative route: Walk to Double Arch (see below) then take the primitive trail to The Windows. From the window arches you can walk the stairs to the Turret Arch from the same path that leads back to the parking lot.

 

Easy hike to the Windows trail at Arches National Park

Easy hike to the Windows trail at Arches National Park

 

Double Arch

Distance: 0.5 miles (0.8 km) round trip

You can reach Double Arch from The Windows parking lot.

I loved Double Arch hike! Sunrise is a beautiful time to hike Double Arch, before the tour buses arrive. But anytime is beautiful. Double Arch is the tallest arch in the park, and you can hike underneath the arch to really feel the immensity of these arches. Read my full article about visiting Double Arch.

 

Under the double arches Moab Utah

You can walk right under the giant double arches

 

Balanced Rock

Distance:  0.3 miles (0.5 km)

Balanced Rock is a walk rather than a hike but it’s a cool attraction at Arches. This is one of the accessible trails at Arches National Park.

Balanced Rock is interesting because it looks so different from other geological features at Arches.

 

Balanced Rock Arches National Park

Balanced Rock is easy to see from the parking area

 

Park Avenue

Distance: 2 miles (3.2 km) round trip

Although the National Parks website lists Park Avenue as a Moderate hike rather than Easy, I disagree. At least if you are hiking during nice weather. For me, any hike is difficult in extremely hot weather.

The only part of Park Avenue hike that could be considered difficult for some people is the stairs near the trailhead. Otherwise the trail is flat with little elevation change.

Bad knees? Can’t do stairs? You can walk as far as the viewpoint, but you miss out on the hike through Park Avenue towering rock sculptures. But there’s another option too.

You could avoid the stairs but still do the hike if you park at the end of the trail by the rock formation known as The Organ, near Courthouse Towers viewpoint. It’s on the map that I posted the link to earlier. Do the Park Avenue hike from this side and when you get to the stairs turn around and walk back.

 

Park Avenue stairs to canyon

The stairs near the trailhead at Park Avenue Trail are the most difficult part of this trail

 

Where is Arches National Park?

Arches National park is in eastern Utah, about 5 miles from the small city of Moab, so that’s where most people stay.

Best thing about Moab – Arches is just a short drive away.

Worst thing about Moab – Arches is a short drive away. Traffic jams to/from the park are common.

Officials must close Arches entrance sometimes due to the overwhelming traffic! Busy long weekends like Labor Day at Arches are insane. Be sure to bring plenty of patience with you if you visit during peak tourist season.

 

Turret Arch trail Arches National Park

Turret Arch trail is accessed from The Windows trail

 

Best Time to Visit Arches

The best time to visit Arches National Park is during the shoulder season, just after high season but before the winter weather or just before high season starts in spring.

After the Labor Day long weekend in September through late October and April through late May, before Memorial Day long weekend, Arches is less crowded, but the weather is typically pleasant.

December and January see the fewest number of visitors to Arches, but weather is not as predictable.

I lucked out when I visited Arches for a few days in early October. The weather was perfect for hiking and enjoying the outdoors. I never had to wait at the entrance to get into the park.

And the hiking trails and scenic drives were not too busy in the early mornings. By mid-day Arches was busier but still not over crowded. Towards sunset the park was not busy at all.

During high season your best bet is getting a campsite at Arches National Park. Then you are already in the park and no worries about the entrance closing due to overwhelming traffic. But the crowds are still at the park so be ready for tons of people if you visit during busy times.

Spring, summer, and fall long weekends see the highest traffic numbers at Arches.

 

Park Avenue hike with red rock formations at Arches National Park Utah

Park Avenue hike offers stunning views of the red rock formations

 

Arches National Park Weather

In summer the average daytime highs are in the 90s F (33 – 37 C) but temperatures can reach above 100 F (38 C) sometimes. Nighttime cools off substantially, with average lows in the 55 – 60 F (13 – 16 C) range overnight.

Winter temperatures in Arches average from 40 – 50 F (5 – 10 C) for daytime highs and 18 – 30 F (-2 to -8 C) for average nighttime lows.

Spring and fall have the most favorable temperatures at Arches National Park. Daytime highs average from 60 – 80 F (15 – 27 C) with lows in the 40 – 50 degree range (5 – 10 C)

 

Fees and Hours

It is advisable to visit before 8 am or after 3 pm during peak season from March through September. I visited in early October and it was not too crowded.

Hours

Open 24 hours a day year round – woohoo!

Visitor Center is open daily (except December 25) usually from 9 am to 4 pm but varies by season.

Devil’s Garden Campgound is open year round.

Fees

  • $30 per private vehicle
  • $25 per motorcycle
  • $15 per person walk-in or bicycle
  • FREE – Age 15 and younger

Annual passes are also available for Arches National Park only or for all the national parks and monuments.

I purchased the America the Beautiful parks pass for $80. If you plan to visit several national parks within one year the pass is a great bargain. It’s good for one full year from date of purchase.

Get your annual pass online and save some time at the park entrance.

 

What to Bring Hiking at Arches National Park

Bring your refillable water bottle – I always bring two stainless steel water bottles. One is small so I have a reserve 40 oz Klean Kanteen water bottle in my backpack.

Wear hiking shoes or sneakers with good grip on the sole. The trail could be slippery on the rocks during or after any precipitation. During nice weather you should be fine with regular running shoes/trainers.

Wear hiking clothing to suit the temperature – layers are best in cold weather. In hot weather you can wear UV protective clothing. Shop Amazon now for hiking clothes. In summer I prefer to wear cotton and in winter I prefer wool – I like natural fibers. Although the big plus for the man-made fibers is that they dry faster, and often are made with moisture wicking features.

Sunscreen – especially on sunny days but also for overcast days too – protect your skin from UV rays. I like Elta-MD sunscreen and have used it ever since my dermatologist recommended it to me.

Sunhat or ball cap is always a good idea when hiking – protection from the sun or rain. My favorite sunhat is one that someone gave to me – it’s made by Wallaroo Hat Company. The Sydney Sun Hat design is cool, and I love that I can roll it up and not worry about it losing its shape.

Pack something to eat even if you don’t think you will get hungry. I like to bring pumpkin seeds as my snack – great nutrition and easy to carry. You can usually find them at the grocery store, if not buy them on Amazon. I also bring beef or salmon jerky, crackers, fruit, and cookies. But you could pack a gourmet picnic lunch if you like :)

Bring a small backpack to carry your picnic lunch and other supplies for the hike. It’s best to buy a waterproof backpack or bring a large plastic bag to cover the backpack if it starts raining during your hike.

Remember it’s always a good idea to pack the 10 Essentials on every hike. You don’t want to get caught without the basics in your backpack.

Have fun hiking at Arches National Park!

Read these other posts to help you plan your trip to Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park Day Trip from Moab Utah

Capitol Reef National Park Solo Trip to Utah’s Least Visited National Park

Double Arch Trail Short Easy Hike at Arches National Park

Kanarra Falls Utah Slot Canyon Hike to Waterfalls via Narrows

5 Easy Hikes in Zion National Park to Help You Plan Your Trip!

Timber Creek Overlook Trail Zion National Park Kolob Canyon

Bryce Canyon One Day Itinerary

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5 Easy Hikes Arches National Park Utah

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About the Author

Susan Moore spent 7 months traveling solo around Southeast Asia back in the 90's. Returning to Canada she found a job working on rotation in Siberia Russia. She later moved to Austin Texas where she started a bookkeeping business, allowing her to work remotely. Currently Susan is in year 5 of a solo road trip around the USA and Canada, living a nomadic life, and writing about her experiences with a focus on hiking and cultural encounters. Read all about Susan » You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter or Instagram

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