Arches National Park in Utah was a place I’d been dreaming of visiting for quite some time. And once I got there, it totally exceeded my expectations!
Want to learn more about this park & how to see it in one day?
This post has you covered! I have laid out all the information you need to make the most of just one day in Arches National Park!
I’m excited to share my experience with you and I hope it inspires you to visit this amazing park!
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- Common Questions About Arches
- Arches National Park Map
- Driving Through Arches National Park
- Best Hikes in Arches National Park
- Arches National Park in One Day: 1-day Itinerary
- Tips for Visiting Arches National Park
Most of the things I did at Arches were planned with my Fodor’s National Parks of the West book and Moon’s Zion & Bryce Travel Guide (which includes Arches, Canyonlands, and more)! Researching ahead of time & being prepared definitely helps traveling go more smoothly!
Alright, let’s start out with some FAQs about Arches!
Common Questions About Arches
Is Arches National Park open year-round?
Yes! The park stays open 24/7.
The Visitor Center is open every day (hours vary by season), except December 25th.
How much does it cost to visit Arches National Park?
- $30/ car
- $25/ motorcycle
- $15/ foot/bicycle
- $55 local passport (includes Arches, Canyonlands, Natural Bridges, and Hovenweep for 1 year)
- $80 annual pass (includes ALL sites of the National Park Service!)
When is the best time to visit Arches National Park?
The park is busiest between March and October, however, temperatures can top 100 between June and August. So my personal recommendation is to visit in the fall or winter. You will avoid the heat AND the crowds.
Is Arches National Park worth visiting?
In my opinion, absolutely! The arches are stunning. The views are unique.
You can have a desert landscape right in front of you, yet see snow-covered mountains in the distance.
Can you camp inside the park?
Yes, but there is only one campground. Located about 19 miles into the park, Devils Garden Campground has tent and RV sites.
If you plan on camping in Arches National Park, make sure to book in advance since this is the only campground inside the park!
What can you do at Arches National Park?
Continue reading this post to find out! (I’ve included a one-day itinerary near the bottom of this post that you can use when you visit!)
Arches National Park Map
As you can see from the map above, the best way to get into Arches National Park is from Highway 191.
Moab is the best (and most common) place to stay when visiting the park.
Driving Through Arches National Park
The park consists of one main road, Arches Scenic Drive. Off the main road are two side roads: The Windows Road and Delicate Arch Road.
Driving the main road and the two spurs is about 36 miles roundtrip.
Best Hikes in Arches National Park
When most people think of Arches, they think of the famous Delicate Arch. But there are many more arches to see in this park!!
Put on your favorite pair of hiking boots and hit the trail on these best hikes in Arches National Park:
- Easy, 0.3 miles roundtrip; wheelchair accessible
- Moderate, 3.0 miles roundtrip
Devil’s Garden Trail
- Moderate, 7.2 miles roundtrip (includes primitive trail)
The Windows Loop
- Easy, 1.0-mile roundtrip (option for primitive loop)
- Difficult, technical, 2.0 miles roundtrip, permit only, ranger-led
Arches National Park in One Day: 1-day Itinerary
The Detailed Version
This is not exactly how I went about viewing the park when I was visiting, as I had two days to visit. However, when looking back, I think you can see the majority of the park in just one day if that’s all the time you have.
That being said, let’s dive right into the one-day itinerary!
Note: There will be some back-tracking, but it is only because I feel like this is the best order to go in for an optimal experience of the park!
- Grab breakfast before sunrise
- Be at Courthouse Towers (about 3 miles past the visitor center) for sunrise. Once the sun comes up, they light up a fire-orange color. Keep in mind the sun has to come over the mountains for this to happen. So if you don’t see that fire-orange yet, keep waiting! (This is also a good opportunity to eat your breakfast!)
BEFORE the sun comes over the mountains……
AFTER the sun comes over the mountains…
- After sunrise at Courthouse Towers, continue driving into the park towards Devils Garden.
- Next, hike the Devils Garden Trail. There is an option for a primitive trail. (FYI the primitive trail is not well marked and is potentially dangerous in some areas!) You can spend as much time on this trail as you like. If you hike to Dark Angel and come back via the primitive loop, it is about 6 miles roundtrip, not including detouring to Navajo, Partition, Tunnel, & Pine Tree Arches. (I highly recommend seeing them all if you can!)
- After hiking the Devils Garden Trail, refuel yourself with some lunch! There are picnic tables located here at Devils Garden and at Balanced Rock, which is your next stop!
- Stop by Panorama Point just before reaching Balanced Rock for spectacular views!
- Balanced Rock is a great place to relax a bit after hiking Devils Garden Trail. The easy, wheelchair-accessible trail around Balanced Rock is only 0.3 miles. I spent quite a while here walking around and taking pictures
- Head back north for a short distance and turn right onto The Windows Road.
- Hike the short, 0.5-mile roundtrip trail to Double Arch
- Hike the Windows Loop to see North and South Windows (1-mile roundtrip)
- Go back to the main road, turn right, and continue north until you reach Delicate Arch Road. Turn right onto this road and park in the Delicate Arch Trail parking lot at the trailhead.
- The Wolfe Ranch and the petroglyphs are located at the beginning of the trail to Delicate Arch.
- To complete your one day in Arches National Park, you will be hiking to Delicate Arch, which is hands down the most popular arch in the park. I suggest staying here until sunset if you aren’t intimidated by hiking back in the dark!
That’s it! You’ve successfully seen most of Arches National Park in just one day!
The Short & Sweet Version
- Courthouse Towers at sunrise
- Hike Devil’s Garden Trail (can eat lunch here)
- Panorama Point
- Balanced Rock (can eat lunch here)
- Double Arch Trail
- Windows Loop Trail
- Wolfe Ranch and petroglyphs
- Delicate Arch for sunset
Tips for Visiting Arches National Park
- There is not a shuttle system in this park, you will be driving yourself to each location. So make sure you have enough gas!
- There are no food or drink places inside the park, so plan accordingly. Bring plenty of water!
- Summer temps can top 100 degrees. Consider visiting during any month except June-August to avoid the heat!
- Remember to drink plenty of water! Whether it’s a Nalgene or a backpack with a water bladder, make sure you stay hydrated!
- Moab is the closest city to the park. There are plenty of places to get food and gas in Moab.
That’s pretty much all I know and can recommend about Arches National Park. Hopefully, this post has helped you plan your trip or has inspired you to visit this amazing park!
Want to see more posts similar to this from my road trip? Click the links below!