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18 Best Hikes in Arches National Park

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Last Updated on May 27, 2024 by Sarah Puckett

Discovering the best hikes in Arches National Park can be a thrilling yet daunting endeavor. With over 2,000 natural stone arches scattered across its expansive desert terrain, choosing the right trails becomes a crucial decision for any adventurer.

How do you navigate this vast wonderland and select the hikes that promise the most awe-inspiring experiences? As an avid hiker who has explored the nuances of Arches National Park extensively, I’m here to guide you through the selection process. With firsthand knowledge of the trails, hidden gems, and iconic landmarks, I’ll share insights to help you on your hiking journey into Arches National Park!

This blog post will guide you through 18 of the best hikes in Arches National Park, plus need-to-know Utah hiking tips for when to hike and what to wear.

Sarah sits in Twisted Donut Arch looking at Delicate Arch

Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles: plan your hike in advance, stick to designated trails, carry out all your belongings, dispose of waste properly, leave natural areas untouched, minimize the impact of campfires, show consideration for fellow hikers, and avoid approaching or feeding wildlife.

Best Hikes in Arches National Park

1. Delicate Arch

No visit to Arches is complete without witnessing the iconic Delicate Arch. The Delicate Arch Trail is a 3-mile round trip that leads you through awe-inspiring scenery and culminates in a surreal view of this freestanding arch. Sunset at Delicate Arch is a photographer’s dream, with the glowing red rocks providing a magical backdrop.

  • Delicate Arch Trail
  • Distance: 3.2 miles round trip
  • Elevation gain: 95 feet
  • Time: About 2.5 hours with photos

2. Devil’s Garden

For those seeking a longer and more diverse hike, Devil’s Garden Trail offers a 7.2-mile loop that showcases multiple arches, including Landscape Arch, Partition Arch, Navajo Arch, and the impressive Double O Arch. The trail weaves through towering sandstone fins, providing an adventurous journey for hikers of all levels.

  • Devil’s Garden Trail
  • Distance: 7.9-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1,030 feet
  • Time: 3-4 hours
Sarah in Devils Garden at Arches National Park

3. Landscape Arch

If you aren’t up for the full Devil’s Garden loop, there are several shorter hikes you can do to various destinations in the Devil’s Garden area.

One of these is the hike to Landscape Arch, the longest natural arch in the park with an impressive span of 306 feet.

  • Landscape Arch Trail
  • Distance: 1.9-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 252 feet
  • Time: 1 hour

4. Double O Arch

The Double O Arch is a distinctive hiking destination in Arches National Park, showcasing two arches stacked atop each other, providing a unique and visually intriguing natural feature along the trail.

  • Double O Arch Trail
  • Distance: 4.1-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 672 feet
  • Time: 2.5 hours

5. Dark Angel Trail

For the more adventurous hiker, the Dark Angel Trail offers a rugged and challenging extension to the Devil’s Garden Loop Primitive Trail. This hike requires scrambling and a steep climb on rocky terrain, so make sure you’re prepared for a difficult hike!

  • Dark Angel Trail
  • Distance: 4.7-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 721 feet
  • Time: 3 hours

6. Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches

Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches are great hiking destinations in the Devil’s Garden area of Arches National if you want to see beautiful arches without a long hike!

  • Pine Tree and Tunnel Arches Trail
  • Distance: 1-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 196 feet
  • Time: Less than 1 hour

7. Partition and Navajo Arches

Partition and Navajo Arches are each worth the short but scrambly detour off the main Devil’s Garden loop, as well as a worthy destination in their own right! This is a difficult hike, and you should be prepared for steep rock scrambles.

  • Partition and Navajo Arches Trail
  • Distance: 3.1-miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 492 feet
  • Time: 2 hours
Devil’s Garden Trail DestinationDistance (Round Trip)Elevation GainEstimated Time
Landscape Arch1.9 miles252 feet1 hour
Double O Arch4.1 miles672 feet2 – 2.5 hours
Dark Angel 4.7 miles721 feet3 hours
Pinetree and Tunnel Arches1 mile196 feet1 hour
Partition and Navajo Arches3.1 miles492 feet2 hours
Total Distance (all trails, all arches)7.9 miles1,030 feet3 – 4 hours

Note: The times are approximate and can vary based on individual hiking speeds and trail conditions.

8. Double Arch

Located in the Windows Section of the park, Double Arch is a stunning pair of giant arches formed by parallel fins. A short, easy trail takes you to the base of these colossal arches, providing a unique perspective and great photo opportunities.

  • Double Arch Trail
  • Distance: 0.6-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 95 feet
  • Time: 30 minutes
Double Arch in Arches National park

9. Turret and Windows Arches

The Turret Arch and Windows Arches can be explored through a relatively easy trail that offers fantastic views of these iconic formations. The Turret Arch frames the distant La Sal Mountains, creating a picturesque scene.

  • Turret and Windows Arches Loop
  • Distance: 0.6-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 95 feet
  • Time: 30 minutes

>>> Read more about Turret and Window Arches (and why they are the best spot for sunrise!) here

Turret Arch as seen from Window Arch

10. Park Avenue Trail

Named after the towering skyscraper-like formations reminiscent of a cityscape, Park Avenue Trail is a 2-mile round trip that immerses you in the stunning beauty of red rock canyons. The trail is perfect for those looking for a shorter yet rewarding hike.

  • Park Avenue Trail
  • Distance: 1.8-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 298 feet
  • Time: 1 hour
Tim and Sarah at Park Avenue in Arches National Park

11. Sand Dune Arch

Tucked away in a narrow slot between sandstone fins, Sand Dune Arch provides a unique and intimate setting. A short hike through a sandy path takes you to this hidden gem, surrounded by smooth rock walls.

  • Sand Dune Arch Trail
  • Distance: 0.3-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 124 feet
  • Time: 15 minutes

12. Broken Arch

Combine a hike to Broken Arch with the walk to Sand Dune Arch for an easy hike suitable for families with kids or anyone who wants to see epic arches easily!

  • Broken Arch and Sand Dune Arch Trail
  • Distance: 1.5-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 164 feet
  • Time: 1.5 hours

13. Tower Arch

Accessible via a 3-mile round-trip trail, Tower Arch rewards hikers with its massive and solitary structure. The journey takes you through the remote and captivating Klondike Bluffs.

  • Tower Arch Trail
  • Distance: 3 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 290 feet
  • Time: 1.5 hours

>>> Click here to read more about the Tower Arch trail

Tower Arch From Inside

14. Delicate Arch Viewpoint

For those seeking a different perspective of Delicate Arch, the Delicate Arch Viewpoint provides a unique angle. A short, easy hike leads to a viewpoint that allows you to appreciate the arch from below.

  • Delicate Arch Viewpoint Trail
  • Distance: 1-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 177 feet
  • Time: 30 minutes

15. Balanced Rock

A true marvel of balance, Balanced Rock is a must-see formation in Arches National Park. A short loop trail takes you around the base, allowing you to marvel at the improbable equilibrium of this colossal rock.

  • Balanced Rock Trail
  • Distance: 0.3-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 55 feet
  • Time: 30 minutes

16. Fiery Furnace and Surprise Arch Trail

For those with a sense of adventure, the Fiery Furnace offers a thrilling exploration of the maze-like rock formations. Note that a permit is required to hike in Fiery Furnace.

  • Fiery Furnace and Surprise Arch Trail
  • Distance: 2.1-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 492 feet
  • Time: 2 hours

17. Ribbon Arch Trail

A lesser-known gem, Ribbon Arch offers a tranquil escape. The2-mile trail takes you to this elegant arch, where you can enjoy the serenity of the red rock surroundings.

  • Ribbon Arch Trail
  • Distance: 2 miles round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 393 feet
  • Time: 1 hour

18. Elephant Butte

For a different perspective of the park, the Elephant Butte Trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. This moderate trail is a great way to cap off your hiking adventures in Arches National Park.

  • Elephant Butte Trail
  • Distance: 1.6-mile round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 597 feet
  • Time: 1 hour

Top 10 Tips for Hiking in Arches National Park

  1. Choose Trails Based on Season: Certain trails may be more enjoyable or accessible during specific seasons. Check with the visitor center for seasonal trail recommendations, taking into account factors like weather, temperature, and trail conditions. In general, we’d only recommend the shortest hikes in Arches National Park during summer when temperatures are too hot for safer hiking.
  2. Mind the Cryptobiotic Soil: Arches National Park is home to fragile cryptobiotic soil, vital for desert ecosystems. Stay on designated trails and avoid stepping on biological soil crusts to preserve this essential element of the park’s environment.
  3. Carry Ample Water: Water sources are limited in the desert. Carry at least 3 liters of water per person for each hike, and hydrate regularly. Consider using a hydration pack for convenience, especially on longer trails.
  4. Respect the Wildlife: Observe wildlife from a safe distance and refrain from feeding them. Keep in mind that the park is a habitat for various species, and minimizing human impact helps preserve the natural balance.
  5. Preserve the Dark Skies: Arches National Park is designated as an International Dark Sky Park. Minimize the use of artificial light during night hikes to preserve the natural darkness and enhance stargazing opportunities.
  6. Adhere to Trail Etiquette: Stay on marked trails to protect delicate desert vegetation and prevent soil erosion. Follow trail markers and signs, and be mindful of fellow hikers to ensure a positive hiking experience for everyone.
  7. Check for Trail Closures: Before starting your hike, check for any trail closures or alerts. Weather events, maintenance, or wildlife considerations may lead to temporary closures, and staying informed will help you plan accordingly.
  8. Experience Sunrise and Sunset: Witness the red rocks of Arches come alive during sunrise and sunset. Consider scheduling hikes during these times for a magical play of light and shadows, creating a truly unforgettable experience.

>>> Click here for the best sunrise location in Arches National Park

>>> Click here if you can’t decide whether to visit Delicate Arch at sunrise or sunset

Delicate Arch at sunrise
Delicate Arch at sunrise

Arches National Park Packing List for Hikers

Clothing:

  • Sturdy Hiking Boots: Opt for ankle-supporting boots designed for navigating Arches National Park’s rocky terrain, like these stylish Columbia hikers.
  • Lightweight Clothing: Stay cool with breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics. Protect yourself with long sleeves and pants; I recommend these desert-friendly sun shirts for women and men.
  • Sun Protection: Shield yourself with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses. Ensure safety from the sun’s rays with this high-SPF sunscreen.
  • Layers: Stay comfortable throughout the day by layering up with a lightweight jacket or sweater. Check out these versatile options for women and men.

Hiking Gear:

  • Hydration System: Stay hydrated in the desert with a reliable hydration pack, water reservoir, or water bottle.
  • Daypack: Carry essentials comfortably in a reliable daypack. Check out this affordable option for women and men.
  • Snacks and Meals: Fuel your adventure with energy-boosting snacks like trail mix and granola bars. Pack a nutritious lunch for longer hikes with these snack options.
  • Camera: Capture the stunning landscapes with a camera or smartphone. Document your journey with these photography essentials.

Safety and Essentials:

  • First Aid Kit: Ensure safety with a compact first aid kit. Here’s a recommended kit.
  • Emergency Supplies: Stay prepared with a whistle, flashlight or headlamp, and multi-tool.
  • Trail Toilet Items: Dispose of waste responsibly with zip-lock bags, hand sanitizer, and a trowel. We like this all-in-one-kit for day hikes. For backpacking trips, bring a WAG Bag.
  • Emergency Shelter: Check the forecast and stay prepared with weather-appropriate gear, including an ultra-light emergency shelter.

Optional Extras:

Need more national park packing guidance? >>> Click here to read the ultimate national park packing list!

FAQs

How To Visit Arches National Park

Arches National Park is located 5 miles outside of Moab, Utah. In addition to a park entry fee, visitors must have a timed entry permit during peak season and hours. Reservations are required from 7 am to 4 pm daily April 1 through October 31, 2024.

We recommend buying a National Parks Pass if you plan on visiting 3 or more national parks in 12 months. The pass gets you free entry to all US national park sites for 12 months. Canyonlands National Park is an easy add-on to a trip to Arches National Park, so that’s two right there. Plus, this road trip itinerary tells you exactly how to visit all five Utah National Parks in 10 days!

Save Money at National Parks

Get a National Parks Pass

Entry to all US national parks at no additional cost for 12 months

America The Beautiful National Parks Pass at REI

 >>> Buy your National Parks Pass from REI here

Save Money at National Parks

Get a National Parks Pass

Entry to all US national parks at no additional cost for 12 months

America The Beautiful National Parks Pass at REI

Where to Stay Near Arches National Park

Camping in Arches National Park


Nestled in the heart of Arches National Park, Devil’s Garden Campground provides a prime camping experience for nature enthusiasts. Surrounded by iconic red rock formations, the campground offers a unique opportunity to wake up amidst the breathtaking landscape of Arches. With convenient proximity to renowned arches and the chance to stargaze under the expansive desert sky, camping at Devil’s Garden adds an extra layer of adventure to your Arches National Park journey.

When is the best time of year to hike in Arches National Park?

Spring and fall are often considered optimal, offering mild temperatures, blooming wildflowers in spring, and vibrant foliage in fall. These seasons provide comfortable hiking conditions, allowing you to explore the iconic arches without the intense heat of summer. However, these popular seasons also mean more visitors.

Winter is another great option, boasting fewer crowds and cooler temperatures, but some trails may be icy or snowy. It’s a good idea to bring microspikes for icy trails.

Summer is the worst time to hike in Arches National Park, with scorching temperatures. If you must hike here in summer, early morning or evening hikes can provide relief from the sun and extreme heat.

Best Hike in Arches National Park

Determining the “best” hike in Arches National Park is subjective and depends on individual preferences, fitness levels, and the experience one seeks. However, one of the most iconic and widely regarded a must-do hike in Arches is the Delicate Arch Trail.

Delicate Arch stands out as the star of Arches National Park, embodying the park’s beauty with its distinctive freestanding form against the red rocks. Even if you don’t know anything about Arches National Park, you’d probably recognize Delicate Arch. Delicate Arch is the unofficial symbol of Utah, adorning the state’s license plates.


While Delicate Arch Trail is highly acclaimed, other hikes in Arches, such as the Devil’s Garden Trail or the Fiery Furnace, offer unique experiences and showcase different aspects of the park’s beauty. The “best” hike ultimately depends on personal preferences, fitness levels, and the desire to explore specific features within Arches National Park.

In our opinion, Tower Arch is the best hike in Arches National Park. The hike is in a less-visited area of the park, so it’s one of the more serene hiking experiences you can have here. Tower Arch itself is large, impressive, and photogenic. Read more here!

Tower Arch From Below

Most Popular Hikes in Arches National Park

In loose order, these are what I would consider the most popular (and therefore the most crowded) hikes in Arches National Park:

  1. Delicate Arch Trail
  2. Devil’s Garden Trail
  3. Double Arch Trail
  4. Balanced Rock Trail
  5. Windows Loop Trail
  6. Park Avenue Trail
  7. Fiery Furnace
  8. Sand Dune Arch Trail
Window Arch in Arches National Park

Less Crowded Hikes in Arches National Park


While Arches National Park is a popular destination, some hikes tend to be less crowded compared to the more iconic and well-known trails. If you’re seeking a quieter and more secluded hiking experience, consider exploring the following lesser-known trails:

  1. Tower Arch
  2. Ribbon Arch Trail
  3. Broken Arch Trail
  4. Partition & Navajo Arches
  5. Elephant Butte
Tim hiking Tower Arch Trail

What is the hardest hike in Arches National Park?

The Fiery Furnace Trail in Arches National Park is a challenging hike, especially without a ranger guide. It’s like a maze with narrow canyons and tall fins, making it tricky to navigate. Here’s why it’s considered a tough hike:

  1. Labyrinthine Terrain: The trail is like a natural maze with rocks and canyons. It’s not clearly marked, so you need agility and good navigation skills.
  2. Permit Required: You must get a permit to explore the Fiery Furnace on your own, adding an extra challenge to your plans.
  3. Difficult Navigation: The trail has lots of twists and turns, and it’s easy to get a bit lost. You’ll need to pay close attention to where you’re going.
  4. Physical Demands: The hike involves climbing over rocks, going through narrow spaces, and dealing with uneven ground. It requires fitness, balance, and a liking for challenging walks.

If you enjoy a tough adventure, Fiery Furnace is a unique experience. But safety is crucial. Be prepared, and if the trail seems too hard, consider a guided ranger tour. It’s safer and helps you understand the geological features better. So, get ready, take it slow, and explore the Fiery Furnace with caution.

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