For those who enjoy the great outdoors, Utah is tough to beat. With 22.8 million acres of public lands, Utah is a prime destination for adventure. Among Utah’s five national parks, 43 state parks, five national forests, and seven national monuments is Arches National Park.
Most noted for its gigantic sandstone arches, Arches National Park is located in Moab, UT. Containing over 2,000 natural arches, the park is a spectacular natural wonder. The park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including camping, hiking, biking, stargazing, scenic photography and guided tours. There is an entrance fee of $30 per vehicle which is good for upto seven days.
The only designated campground in Arches National Park is Devils Garden Campground . The campground consists of 51 campsites that can be reserved including one accessibility site and two group sites. It is important to note that sites are often reserved months in advance and the campground is generally filled during peak season. This is a primitive campground that does not have showers, electricity, or water and sewer hookups for RVs. It does, however, have drinking water, picnic areas, and flushing toilets. The campground is open year round and advance reservations are required from March through October.
Visitors may bike on all paved and unpaved roads throughout the park, but are not permitted on any of the trails.
Once the sun goes down in the park, the night sky lights up. Due to the lack of light pollution, you can see the night sky in all its glory.
Arches National Park has numerous hiking trails of varying duration and ability level. Though the majority of hiking trails found in the park are considered easy terrain and are relatively short, in the desert heat they can become strenuous. It is best to go early or late in the day and bring along plenty of water. Here are a few of the best, not-to-be-missed trails in the park.
- Double Arch – a 15 to 30 minute hike that is only half a mile in length which leads to the base of two giant arch spans that join together on one end.
- Broken Arch – this trail is a little over three miles in length and can take approximately 30 minutes to an hour to complete. It crosses a meadow to the broken arch and continues through fin canyons featuring slickrock and sand dunes.
- Landscape Arch – this is a two mile trail with a mostly flat gravel surface. It features the world’s second-longest span and measures over 300 feet.
For those looking for more of a challenge there are a few moderate to difficult trails within the park.
- Delicate Arch – this trail is three miles round-trip alongside rock cairns. It takes approximately two to three hours to complete and it is vital that you take at least a quart of water for each person in your group to prevent dehydration. The trail has no shade and parts of the trail are open slickrock; there is also a rock ledge you must walk along to get to the Delicate Arch.
- Devil’s Garden Hiking Trail – this trail is approximately 7 miles in length and takes you past eight of the park’s arches. The Devil’s Garden Trail is considered an intermediate trail with narrow ledges and slickrock. It is best to avoid the trail in inclimate weather.
While hiking here, please keep in mind that the cryptobiological soil (the blackened crusty soil) found here is the basis for all desert plant life and the key to preventing erosion. As such, it is extremely fragile and can take decades to grow. Even one step on it can have a lasting impact for decades. Please remain on the trails, designated roads, and routes and where trails are not established, hike only on bare rock or in sandy washes.
However you choose to spend your time in Arches National Park, you’re sure to come away with memories and pictures to last a lifetime.