Here Is The Best Time To Visit Arches National Park

Arches National Park was established in 1971 (was previously a National Monument since 1929). It is located around 5.2 miles from Moab, Utah. Every year thousands of visitors come to see its beautiful sandstone formations and other amazing features. But when is the best time to visit Arches National Park?

Best time to visit Arches National Park

You can visit Arches National Park at various times of the year. But which is the best season?

· Summer (June through August)

Temperatures can go up to 100 degrees during this time of the year. Therefore, do not forget to bring hot weather gear such as sunscreen and hats. It is the busiest season as kids are out of school, and visitors can go to all the main attractions.

To avoid the heat and crowds, visit very early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There’s also the risk of flash flooding during the summer, so ensure you check the weather or talk to a ranger about places you plan to hike in. Check out this post on why you need trekking poles.

· Winter (December through February)

The winter is the perfect season to experience the park’s night sky as fewer cars are on the road. You can enjoy stargazing in this season, which otherwise will be impossible during the summer months due to light pollution. You might find it difficult to navigate areas such as Delicate Arch and Fiery Furnace.

· Spring (March through May)

This is another excellent time to visit Arches National Park. This is the time the number of visitors starts to go up. Temperatures are mostly between 60-80 degrees, so you can comfortably hike even the longest trails in the park.

· Autumn (September through November)

You will enjoy the fall colors and the suitable temperatures. There are still usually a significant number of visitors during this period, so expect to share trails. The weather is great for exploring the rock formations.

Check out the park’s operating hours during the various seasons if you plan to make a trip to the park. Now that you know the best time to visit Arches, let’s talk about some of its major attractions:

Attractions at Arches

You can easily experience nature at its best with scenic views and beautiful sunsets at Arces National Park. Let’s take a look at some major attractions at the park.

1. Balanced Rock

This is a well-known rock formation that you should definitely see when you visit the park. This rock is basically a huge rock that lies on a narrow base. It is near the parking area and the road so you can easily access it.

You can see it as your drive past it, but you can stop and take a round trip (0.3 miles) to see it and maybe take some photos. You can see the La Sal Mountains from here.

2. Visit Petrified Dunes Lookout

You can view petrified dunes from here, with the La Sal Mountains in the background. You will love the spectacular views of the rolling landscape as the dunes stretch out for miles. This area has no hiking trail, but you can walk around and enjoy looking at the unique dunes.

Related: Best time to go to Sequoia National Park.

3. Hike the Delicate Arch

This is the most famous arch at Arches National Park. Every year, thousands of local and international tourists come to see it. The huge arch rises from the ground to create a frame. You can see it from the Delicate Arch Viewpoint, which is in the road that passes below it.

For a more enjoyable experience, take the 3-mile round trip hike on the sandy trail. You will have to walk uphill after parking your car to reach the arch. Keep in mind that during the early spring, this trail can be slippery. Also, note that this is the most popular hike in the park, so brace yourself for crowds, especially when you’re there in the summer or spring.

4. Windows Arches Area

This is an awesome part of the park to visit with your family. The Windows section contains three impressive arches: The North Window and South Window arches and Turret arch, which isn’t far away.

From the parking area, you can see the Windows. But to have the full experience, you need to hike to the Windows section. You can access the trail from the Windows parking area (note that it can be difficult to finding parking space during busy seasons).

The trail is 0.7-mile (1.1km) long and will take you about 30-45 minutes. To get back to the parking area, take the half a mile Primitive Trail. This trail is not as visible as the main trail, but there are piles of rocks to guide you.

5. La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

This is the first viewpoint you will come across on your drive through Arches National Park. Although you will not see any arches here, you will experience a full view of the park and the La Sal Mountains in the background. You can also take photos from this viewpoint at different times of the day.

6. Arches Scenic Drive

The Arches Scenic Drive is a 19-mile road that runs through the park. It runs all the way from Highway 191 to the beginning of the Devil’s Garden Trail. The Drive normally takes about 30 minutes but will probably take longer as you make stops at Viewpoints and trailheads.

7. Park Avenue Trail

If you need a fairly easy hike, take the 1 mile Park Avenue one way trail that will take you around 30-45 minutes to complete, and since it is a one-way hike, you will probably hike another mile to get back to the trailhead. You will walk through magnificent rock formations like the Courthouse Towers. Keep in mind that you will not find any arches on this trail, but it is still a great one.

8. Double Arch Trail

This is the tallest arch at Arches National Park. You can see it from the Windows Road parking area. However, if you want to have an up-close view, take a half a mile hike to these huge arches. You will have fun climbing over the rocks below the arch. The round trip hike is only half an hour-long, so it won’t tire you out.

9. Sand Dune Arch

This arch’s remarkable entrance makes it a unique feature at the park. You walk on deep sand and enter through high rock walls, making it seem like you are entering a tunnel. You can also walk around the arch to have a full view.

It’s the sand that makes this arch unique. If you have kids, you can let them play in the sand as you explore the area around the arch.

10. Garden of Eden

Here, you will find spires and rock formations of different shapes and sizes. The features at Garden of Eden are almost similar to the Balanced Rock area. Climbing the individual spires is an interesting activity for some visitors.

Most people visit this place for a walk. If you are visiting with family, don’t forget to walk around the Garden of Eden and take in the surrounding scenery. Note that you can see the La Sal Mountains from here.

11. Skyline Arch

The Scenic Drive road has a small car park that you will use to access the Skyline Arch. It is a relatively easy 0.2 miles hike that will take you to the viewpoint.

12. Tower Arch

The Tower Arch is located in a less-visited part of the park. So if you’re not a crowds person, this will be a great place to visit. Remember, the terrain is rough, so you will need a 4WD to get you to Klondike Bluffs. From there, you will take a round trip hike (2.5 miles) to reach the arch.

If you don’t want to hike for long, you can drive to the Western part of the arch and take a 0.3-mile hike to it. If you do not have a $WD, worry not. Some tours usually take visitors to this secluded arch.

13. Go to Fiery Furnace Overlook

It is a famous area of Arches National Park, despite it not having an arch. It gets its name from the glow it receives during sunsets. The massive reddish rock formations are a sight to behold.

The best way to experience Fiery Furnace is through hiking. From Spring till Fall, you can hike with a ranger. These tours are few during the winter, so avoid visiting this attraction during the season.

The second option is to pay a fee and get a permit so you can hike to the Overlook alone. The best option is to go on a hike with a park ranger because they will take you to the best areas and provide some interesting facts about the unique formation. Kids under age five are not allowed to go for the tours, and seniors only pay half the price.

14. Visit Devil’s Garden

Devil’s Garden is another great hike at the park. It’s located at the far end of the park where the main road ends. The Primitive Loop is more than seven miles long and contains some incredible rock formations.

It’s a strenuous hike as you will have to navigate the slickrock and brave the heights. If you are short of time, you can hike only a part of the trail. From the Devil’s Garden trailhead, you can take a 1.6-mile round trip on a fairly flat trail that will take you to Landscape Arch, Partition Arch, and Navajo Arch.

Things to do at Arches National Park

Aside from sightseeing, photography, hiking, and taking scenic drives, there are other exciting things to do in this park.

  • Camping: If you’re an avid camper, you will find a couple of campgrounds outside the park in Moab town. Most of these campgrounds are suitable for RVs. The other camping sites along the Colorado River, in Canyonlands National Park, and at Sand Flats Recreation Area offer RV and tent-only choices.
  • Biking: You can ride on the paved and unpaved roads inside the park. To avoid traffic, consider arriving at the park early in the morning. In addition, be alert as there will probably be a lot of cars and RVs on the road. Outside the park, there are a couple of mountain biking trails of various difficulty levels as well. So, bring your mountain bike along when visiting!
  • Horseback riding: You can also explore the park on horseback! The park also recognizes donkeys and mules as pack animals. Here are some rules to follow if you plan on entering the park with these animals.

Moab is the nearest town to the park. So if you plan to spend a few days, there are plenty of budget and mid-range hotels in the town. Keep in mind that prices increase during the busy seasons.

Wildlife at Arches National Park

There are many different types of wildlife in Arches National Park, but the most common would have to be lizards! You will see them everywhere, and I mean everywhere. These little guys need some heat, so you will see them on pretty much every rock sunbathing and eating little bugs!

You also might encounter a few mule deer on your trip to Arches National Park. Also, there are various bird species that call Arches National Park home, so be sure to listen for them while you’re there! Other animals you may see at the park include kangaroo rats, desert cottontails, bighorn sheep, skunks, mountain lions, and bobcats.

How to prepare for a trip to Arches national park

  • You should make sure to bring water with you because there are no water stations in the park!
  • If you plan to go on some hikes, wear sunscreen and bring a hat or an umbrella. It can get very sunny here, so it’s vital that you protect yourself!
  • Even though Arches National Park is well known for its unique rock formations, I would recommend not wearing flip flops and sandals while you’re there. This is because some of the more popular trails like Park Avenue and the Windows Trail involve a bit of scrambling on rocks, and it would be easy to lose your footing!
  • In terms of clothing, bring whatever you think is suitable for the time of year and whatever you feel will suit the weather best. I managed to wear a T-shirt during the day and then added a layer when it got cooler, but one thing is for sure: bring layers because it can get pretty windy in some places!

Whether you want to see the incredible rock formations, hike up a trail or camp out for the night in one of their campsites, there is something for every type of visitor. The best time to visit Arches will be different depending on what you want from your trip! Regardless of when you decide to go, we hope our tips help make your experience memorable.

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