Best Time to Visit Arches National Park – Utah is one of the most geographically diverse states in the county, and there’s no better place to see it than in a national park. Arches National Park has incredible sights, like expansive desert valleys, wide-open blue skies, and fragile sandstone arches touching the sky.
While all of these things are wonderful to see, you should note that the park changes drastically over the seasons. If you’re putting together your Arches National Park itinerary, you need to get the most out of your adventure, which means finding the best time and season to visit.
Best Time to Visit Arches National Park
We’re here to help by identifying the best time to visit Arches National Park and the activities you can expect to do during those times. Let’s begin!
Visiting Arches National Park in Winter
Most guests to Arches National Park overlook visiting during the winter, but if you can stand the cooler weather, this is a mistake we want to help you avoid. Arches NP is an incredible sight during the winter. Picture sandstone and red rocks covered in layers of snow. What a sight! Temperatures can range between 30 to 50 Fahrenheit, so pack warm clothes. During the coldest months, the drop in temperature is accompanied by snow, wind, and the occasional freezing rain.
Some trails might be closed due to the weather for the safety of the visitors during especially harsh winters. You can still enjoy the Moab Folk Festival if you find your trail closed!
Generally, you can visit the Arches National Park during the winter if you prefer to have your adventures sans crowds, love the rich history and culture of the locale, and are indifferent to the cold.
Visiting Arches National Park in Fall
Visiting the Arches National Park in the Fall is similar to visiting in the springtime. You get cooler temperatures, incredible lasting scenery, and large crowds. On average, you can expect temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range allows you more time to explore the park during the day.
Fall remains one of the most popular times to visit any national park in Utah, meaning crowds are unavoidable, and you are likely to contact various individuals and groups. You can also witness the Red Rocks Art Festival during this time.
Generally, visiting Arches National Park in the Fall is excellent if you want cooler temperatures to explore in, you are an art fan, and you don’t care too much about crowds.
Visiting Arches National Park in Summer
Most people consider summer one of the best times to head over to Arches National Park. If you are visiting during this time, you should dress properly for the weather. Temperatures can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoons. However, mornings are a lot cooler.
Visiting in the summer often means fewer crowds due to the heat, resulting in a more serene and private adventure in the park. During the cooler evening hours, park rangers from the National Park Service provide free guided walks. Visiting in the summer also means you can have fun at the Moab Music Festival.
Generally, visiting in the summer is the best time for those that want to avoid the crowds, enjoy a good tune, and aren’t too particular about the heat.
Visiting Arches National Park in Spring
Arches National Park is quite stunning during springtime. Temperatures typically range from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. On longer days, the park gets a fair amount of sunshine, making wearing proper headwear and sunscreen essential to having a safe and fun experience.
The spring months typically bring crowds to the Arches. The gorgeous sunsets, family-friendly attractions, and temperate climate may draw not only out-of-state transplants to the park but locals as well. During this period, a free one-mile park ranger-guided day walk is available.
You can visit the Arches National Park during the springtime if you want cooler temperatures, require a slightly structured adventure, and don’t mind the crowds.
What to Do When You Visit Arches National Park?
When it comes to attractions, the Arches has many things for you:
The Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden contains rock formations and spires of different sizes and shapes. The features of this attraction are pretty similar to the Balanced Rock area. An activity that you might find interesting is climbing the individual spires. Most people tend to visit this area for a walk. If you visit the Arches with your family, you can take a walk around the Garden of Eden, taking in the nearby surroundings. Also, you can catch a view of the La Sal Mountains from this point.
The Fiery Furnace Overlook
This incredibly famous part of the Arches National Park doesn’t even have an arch. The name comes from the fantastic otherworld glow it gets during sunsets. The sizable reddish rock formations can be a sight to behold.
If you are heading out to the Fiery Furnace Overlook, the best way to do it is to hike there. You can walk with a ranger from the National Park Service during the spring and fall months. The winter months don’t have as many tours, so you might have to skip this attraction on your visit.
If you don’t want to skip it during the winter months, you can choose to pay to get a permit to hike to the Overlook alone. The best option is to always go with a park ranger so they can show you the best areas and provide interesting facts about certain rock formations. Unfortunately, children under five cannot go on these tours.
The Tower Arch
You can find the Tower Arch in the less-visited part of the Arches, and it’s a great place to visit if you don’t like crowds. This terrain is quite challenging, so you need a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get you there. You can make the drive to the Klondike Bluffs where you will undertake a roundtrip hike of about two and a half miles to the arch.
If you aren’t a fan of long hikes, you can avoid it by driving to the western part of the arch and walking about 0.3 miles to it. Some tours take visitors to the secluded arch for those who don’t have a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
The Skyline Arch
If you head on the Scenic Drive road, you will discover a small car park that leads to the Skyline Arch. Hiking this trail is relatively easy, and about 0.2 miles from the car park, you will get to the viewpoint.
The Sand Dune Arch
The Sand Dune Arch has a remarkable entrance, and it is one of the most unique features at the park. Walk on the deep sand to enter through a high rock wall tunnel. What makes this arch so unique is the sand. Kids love playing in it and exploring the surrounding areas.
Hike the Double Arch Trail
The Double Arch Trail is one of the best hikes and home to the tallest arch in the park. You can see it from the Windows Road parking area, but to really experience it, take the half a mile hike to these massive arches. Climbing over the rocks below the arch is fun and exciting, and the hike to and from should only last about half an hour.
Hike the Park Avenue Trail
For an easy hike, check out the one-mile Park Avenue Trail. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes one way, so expect to spend between an hour and 90 minutes to get there and back. This trail passes magnificent rock formations such as the Courthouse Towers. It doesn’t have any arches, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a great way to see the park.
Visit Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock is a famous rock formation that you’ve likely seen photos of. This massive rock sits on top of a narrow base. You can see it from the nearby parking area or access it from the road. If you want to get up close and personal, it’s about a quarter-mile walk from the parking lot and back.
Drive the Arches Scenic Route
The Arches Scenic Drive is a 19-mile road that runs through the park. It starts way back from Highway 191 to the start of the Devils Garden Trail. Driving this route typically takes 30 minutes, but you can make it longer by stopping at some trailheads and viewpoints.
See The La Sal Mountains Viewpoint
When you drive through Arches National Park, you will come across a set of viewpoints. The first viewpoint you see is the La Sal Mountains viewpoint. While you won’t see any arches from here, you will get a full view of the La Sal Mountains with the park in the foreground. Photographers can also take pictures from this viewpoint at any time of the day.
Visit Devil’s Garden
If you are in the mood for a hike, the Devils Garden is a great one to take. It can be found on the park’s far end, right where the main road ends. The trail called the Primitive Loop goes on for more than seven miles, so it isn’t for everyone. However, it does contain unique, incredible rock formations.
It can be a strenuous hike as you have to brace the heights and navigate the Slickrock. If you’re short on time, you can choose a section of the trail. Right from the Devils Garden trailhead, you can take the 1.6-mile flat trail to see Navajo Arch, Partition Arch, and Landscape Arch.
Hike the Delicate Arch Trail
Arches National Park’s most famous arch receives thousands of tourists every year. You can hike up the massive arch that rises from the ground to create a frame. If you are not a fan of hiking, you can head over to the Delicate Arch Viewpoint to take in its splendor. You can find it on the road that passes just below it.
If you want a more enjoyable adventure, you can hike the three-mile round-trip sandy tail. There will be sections where you have to walk uphill to reach the arch. If you are visiting during early spring, the trail might be slippery. You should also remember that this hike is the most popular one in the park, so it can get quite crowded, especially if you visit during the spring or summer.
Visit Petrified Dunes Lookout
You can see the petrified dunes near Arches National Park from Balanced Rock, with the La Sal Mountain visible in the background. Enjoy the spectacular views offered by the dunes as they stretch out for miles. While there isn’t a hiking trail in this area, you can comfortably walk around, taking in the sites.
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