Arches National Park Hikes: Your Ultimate Guide to the Top 11 Must-See Hikes

11 Best Hikes in Arches National Park – For All Fitness Levels

Welcome to the ultimate guide for discovering the most spectacular hikes in Arches National Park.

Nestled in the heart of Utah’s red rock country, this park offers an array of trails that lead you through a landscape brimming with natural arches and unique geological formations.

As an experienced hiker who’s traversed these paths numerous times, I’m excited to share insights and tips on navigating the top hikes in Arches National Park.

Whether you’re seeking breathtaking views, serene nature walks, or the thrill of exploration, join me on a journey through some of the most awe-inspiring trails this park has to offer.

Arches National Park, a treasure trove of natural arches and red rock formations, invites you to explore its unique landscape. As a seasoned hiker and nature enthusiast, I’ve wandered through the sun-drenched trails of Arches, uncovering the secrets and stories of its majestic hikes.

In this comprehensive guide, I share my personal experiences and practical insights to help you navigate the top 11 must-see hikes in the park. Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or a family seeking adventure, join me in discovering the breathtaking beauty of Arches National Park – where every trail unveils a masterpiece of the natural world.

After several visits to the Southwest, hiking Arches National Park was my favorite thing I did in Utah.  There is so much to explore and the best thing is that all of the hikes on this list are to the famous arches of the park!

TLDR: The BEST Delicate Arch – A Must-See Marvel in Arches

Delicate Arch, the most iconic hike in Arches National Park, stands out as my favorite for its stunning natural arch and the awe-inspiring views it offers. This 3-mile hike, ideal for witnessing a spectacular sunset, embodies the breathtaking beauty and spirit of the park.

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To visit any of the National Parks in the USA, I recommend buying a National Park Pass. The America the Beautiful Pass is valid for one year and costs $80. Plus 10% of sale proceeds go to the National Park Foundation.

The best arches in Arches National Park Hikes

This guide to hiking Arches National Park covers all different types of hikes. All of the hikes I have included are rated easy to moderate.  We did not do any difficult hikes while we were there.

As an avid hiker and travel blogger with over three decades of experience exploring national parks across the United States, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the unique landscapes each park offers.

My educational background and interests in Environmental Science, coupled with years of hiking and outdoor photography, has equipped me with a keen eye for nature’s marvels, particularly in places like Arches National Park.

Arches National Park is not just a haven for hikers; it’s a geological wonder that showcases the relentless artistry of natural forces. Each arch in the park tells a story of millennia, sculpted by wind and water, standing as a testament to the Earth’s dynamic character.

During my multiple expeditions to Arches, I’ve trekked through various trails, each offering a unique perspective of the park’s beauty. Here are my top recommendations for the best arches to visit, based on my personal experiences:

  1. Delicate Arch: This iconic arch is a symbol of Utah’s rugged beauty. I remember my first glimpse of Delicate Arch during a sunset hike; the way the sun painted the arch in hues of orange and red left me in awe. It’s a moderately challenging 3-mile round trip, but the view at the end is worth every step.
  2. Double Arch: The intertwining of two massive arches creates a spectacular sight here. It’s an easy, half-mile walk from the parking lot, making it accessible for most visitors. I recall sitting under the shade of these colossal arches, feeling a sense of humility under their grandeur.
  3. Landscape Arch: Boasting the title of the longest arch in North America, this arch is a must-see. The trail to Landscape Arch is about 1.6 miles round trip and offers a gentle walk suitable for all ages. Witnessing this slender and incredibly long arch up close gave me a real sense of its fragility and the impermanent nature of even the most formidable structures.
  4. Windows Loop: This trail offers a great view of the North and South Windows. It’s a short hike, around 0.7 miles, but provides a comprehensive experience of the park’s diversity. The early morning light casting shadows through the arches is a photographer’s delight, a scene I’ve captured numerous times in my lens.
  5. Turret Arch: Smaller yet strikingly picturesque, the Turret Arch resembles a medieval tower. It’s part of the Windows Loop and adds a distinctive shape to the park’s skyline. I always recommend this spot for its unique formation, which provides a stark contrast to the other arches.

Each of these hikes presents not just a physical journey but also a journey through time, offering a glimpse into the natural history that has shaped these formations. Remember, while exploring, it’s crucial to practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve these natural wonders for future generations.

Remember to bring plenty of water as temperatures reached over 100 degrees when we visited. There are no drinking fountains in the park but there were plenty of restrooms (with long drop toilets).

Tips for Hiking in Arches National Park

Arches is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.  There is a hike for everyone on this list and for different fitness levels.  Also, note that it is dry and hot (in the summer) and make sure you know what you are getting into before you start.  Here are a few tips for Arches hiking:

  • Bring a reusable water bottle and lots of water! Remember you are in the sun and you will need to drink lots of water. I love my LifeStraw Filtered Water Bottle.  I can refill this bottle anywhere and it comes with a carabiner to connect it to my daypack.
  • Check the Weather – days over 100 degrees are very common.  On top of that there is quite a bit of air pollution in Phoenix which can make it suffocating.  Make sure to check.
  • Hiking boots or sandals that will protect your feet! I love good shoes.  I need all the support and help I can get.  I actually love these sandals for hiking and have a whole post on Merrell vs Keen shoes for hiking.  I also love these hiking boots which I used for Hiking in the Grand Canyon.
  • Bring hiking poles for balance and to protect your knees.  I know many experienced hikers (and even amateur ones) think that hiking poles are for old people who lose their balance.  Actually, hiking poles can help when going down steep inclines or when scrambling over rocks.  They are great to hike with even for the most experienced hiker. 
  • Wear a sunhat. I feel like this whole post is about how high you are in the mountains and how much closer you are to the sun but it is so true. At elevation, you are closer to the sun and more likely to burn. Wear sun protection such as a sun hat and sunscreen.
  • Start Early – If you want to avoid the traffic and the heat you will need to start your hike early.  That way it will be nice and cool and the smog will not affect you either.
  • Leave no trace. If you are new to the concept of Leave No Trace it is all about preserving the environment to ensure it is in the same or better condition when you leave it.  This means that you should stick to the trails and carry out everything that you carried in.  This is a great explanation of the Leave No Trace principles!
  • Water shoes are great for water hikes– If you don’t have a pair, I highly suggest it as they are affordable.  I have an article on the pros and cons of several pairs of water shoes.
  • Bring Bug Spray and a snack: Be sure to bring everything you need including a snack like a protein bar plus BUG SPRAY.

Arches National Park Hikes

Delicate Arch: A Journey to Utah’s Icon

Delicate Arch is the symbol of Utah and you can see it on the Utah State license plates.  This is the most popular hike in Arches and the arch is free-standing arch at 46 feet high and 32 feet wide.

As a seasoned hiker with extensive experience in exploring national parks, Delicate Arch has always been a personal favorite. The first time I hiked this trail, the 3-mile journey felt like stepping into a world of extraordinary natural architecture. The arch, standing at 46 feet, is not just a geological wonder but a symbol of endurance.

The hike itself, which I’ve embarked upon several times, can be challenging, especially under the Utah sun. But the reward at the end is unparalleled. I remember reaching the arch as the sun dipped below the horizon, casting an otherworldly glow on the sandstone. The experience was a profound reminder of nature’s ability to create art.

For those planning this hike, start early to avoid the crowds and the heat. Wear sturdy boots, as the terrain can be uneven, and bring plenty of water. The trail offers little shade, and the heat can be intense, even for an experienced hiker like myself. Remember, this isn’t just a hike; it’s a pilgrimage to one of nature’s most stunning creations.

Distance: 3 miles round trip

Length of Time: 1.5 to 3 hours

Landscape Arch: A Glimpse into Geological History

Landscape arch is the longest arch in the Arches National Park at 306 feet long and one of the largest arches in the world.

Landscape Arch, with its impressive 306-foot span, offers a glimpse into the dynamic geological history of Arches National Park. I was captivated by this natural wonder during my visit. The hike to Landscape Arch is a manageable 1.6-mile round trip, suitable for all skill levels.

Walking towards the arch, I was amazed at its delicate appearance. It’s hard to believe something so large could appear so fragile. The trail itself is a journey through time, showcasing the erosional forces that have shaped the park over millions of years.

In 1995, a significant portion of the arch fell, forever changing its landscape. It was a stark reminder of the ever-changing nature of our planet. The hike to Landscape Arch is not just a physical journey; it’s an opportunity to reflect on the power and persistence of natural forces.

Round trip to Landscape Arch: 1.6 miles

Length of Time: 1 hour

Double Arch my favorite hike and arch in the park

This is my favorite spot in the whole park.  Double Arch is just that, two arches in the same spot.  To get to the arch it is only a half a mile hike round trip from the parking lot.

Double Arch holds a special place in my heart. As someone who has spent years studying environmental science and exploring the great outdoors, I find the coexistence of two massive arches in one spot both fascinating and awe-inspiring. The hike to Double Arch is an easy 0.5-mile round trip, perfect for families and those looking for a less strenuous experience.

On my visit, I was struck by the sheer size of the arches. The way they loom overhead, intertwined yet distinct, is a testament to the unique geological processes that shaped them. It’s a gentle walk from the parking lot, but the transformation of the landscape as you approach the arches is remarkable.

Sitting under the shade of Double Arch, I felt a connection to the ancient landscapes that once dominated this land. The hike is ideal for those hot summer days when a longer trek might be overwhelming. Remember to bring your camera; the arches are not just a spectacle to behold but a photographer’s dream.

Round trip to Landscape Arch: 0.5 miles roundtrip

Length of Time: 10 minutes

Windows Loop: A Panoramic Adventure

The parking lot for the Windows Loop is shared with Double Arch.  When we pulled into the parking lot there were not any spaces to do the Windows Loop so we parked down by Double Arch.  That should tell you just how popular this hike is to do.

The Windows Loop, comprising both the North and South Windows, offers a panoramic experience that’s both accessible and deeply rewarding. I found this trail to be a perfect blend of ease and scenic beauty. The loop is less than a mile, making it a great choice for a quick yet fulfilling hike.

As I walked the trail, the changing perspectives of the Windows were striking. Each step seemed to reveal a new angle, a new way to appreciate the colossal formations. Early morning hikes here are magical, with the soft light accentuating the curves and edges of the rock. It’s a photographer’s haven and a nature lover’s delight.

For those who prefer a gentle hike, I recommend going clockwise. This route spreads the incline over a larger area, making the ascent more gradual. The Windows Loop is an excellent example of how accessible and rewarding national park hikes can be, regardless of your hiking experience.

Distance: 0.7 miles round trip

Length of Time: 30 to 45 minutes

Turret Arch: A Hidden Gem Among Giants

Turret Arch may be smaller compared to its famous neighbors, but it stands out with its unique formation. I was drawn to this arch for its distinctive, castle-like appearance. The arch is part of the Windows Loop but deserves special mention for its individual character.

Best Hikes IN Arches National Park

My visit to Turret Arch was timed for early morning, and I recommend this to others. The way the early light plays on the rock formations here is breathtaking. The trail is relatively short (0.7 miles round trip), but the experience is enriched by the arch’s unique shape and the serene environment.

This arch is a testament to the diversity of geological formations in Arches National Park. It’s a reminder that beauty often lies in the smaller, less noticed details of the landscape. For a moment of peace and a chance to appreciate the subtler aspects of nature, Turret Arch is a must-visit.

Distance: 0.7 miles round trip

Length of Time: 30 to 45 minutes

Devil’s Garden Loop a great way to see several arches

The Devil’s Garden Loop is a trail that encapsulates the essence of Arches National Park. I found this trail to be an exhilarating journey through diverse landscapes, leading to multiple stunning arches.

The natural beauty of Arches National Park in Utah along the Devils Garden hiking trail.

The 7.2-mile trek is more challenging but immensely rewarding.

This hike is a true adventure, with each section presenting a different aspect of the park’s beauty. From the famous Landscape Arch to the secluded Double O Arch, the trail offers a variety of terrains and views. I recommend this hike for those who are looking for a more challenging and immersive experience in the park.

The Devil’s Garden Loop is near the park’s end, so starting early is key to enjoying a quieter and cooler hike. The trail’s varying difficulty levels and length make it suitable for those who are looking for a full-day hiking experience. Remember to carry plenty of water, wear sun protection, and be prepared for a journey that will take you through some of the park’s most spectacular landscapes.

Distance: 7.2 miles round trip

Length of Time: 2 hours

Skyline Arch

Skyline Arch, with its impressive 71-foot span, offers a unique perspective that feels like a window to the sky. My journey here was a reminder of nature’s incredible ability to sculpt the landscape. This hike is an easy 0.2-mile round trip, suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

As I approached the arch, the trail’s gentle rocky incline gradually revealed the grandeur of Skyline Arch. The sight of the arch, set against the backdrop of the expansive sky, was breathtaking.

In 1940, a large boulder fell from the arch, dramatically enlarging its opening. The remnants of this event are still visible at the base, offering a tangible connection to the arch’s evolving history.

This hike is ideal for those looking for a quick yet rewarding experience. It’s also a perfect spot for contemplation and photography, especially during the early morning or late afternoon when the light casts dramatic shadows through the arch.

Distance: 0.2 miles round trip

Length of Time: 20 minutes

Balanced Rock

It is a short hike around the base of Balanced Rock.  It gets its name from the fact that it looks like it is a rock being balanced up high but it is all one rock.

The Balanced Rock trail presents a unique geological feature that exemplifies the park’s extraordinary landscape.

I was captivated by the precarious appearance of this massive rock formation. The short hike, just 0.3 miles round trip, encircles the base of Balanced Rock, offering various perspectives of this natural sculpture.

Standing at 128 feet, Balanced Rock seems to defy gravity. This formation is a stark reminder of the impermanence and constant evolution of natural landscapes. The surrounding scenery also provides a beautiful contrast, with the red rock formations set against the blue sky.

The trail is accessible and easy, making it a great option for families and those looking for a leisurely walk. The nearby picnic area is a perfect spot to relax and enjoy the views after the hike. As Balanced Rock continues to erode, it’s a timely reminder to appreciate these fleeting natural wonders.

Distance: 0.3 miles round trip

Length of Time: 20 minutes

Park Avenue

The first time I hiked Park Avenue, I was immediately struck by the grandeur of the towering rock formations, reminiscent of skyscrapers in a bustling city. This 2-mile round-trip trail is not just a hike; it’s an immersive experience into the heart of Arches National Park’s majesty.

The trail starts off with an awe-inspiring view that feels like stepping into another world. The path between these towering monoliths is relatively easy, but the summer heat can be intense, so starting early in the morning is advisable. On my hike, I remember the play of light and shadow in the early hours, creating a dramatic and ever-changing landscape.

Despite its beauty, Park Avenue is surprisingly less crowded than some other areas in the park, offering a sense of solitude amidst the vast formations. The hike is suitable for most fitness levels, and the journey between these colossal rock walls is something I often recommend to first-time visitors for its easy access and impressive views.

Remember to carry water, as the trail offers little shade. If you’re a photography enthusiast, like I am, you’ll find countless opportunities to capture the unique angles and contrasts of this natural avenue. For those seeking a moderately easy hike with some of the most iconic views in Arches National Park, Park Avenue is a must-visit.

Distance: 2.0 miles round trip

Length of Time: 45 minutes

Sand Dune Arch

This is the perfect arch to take the kids to. It is only a. 3-mile hike which is easy for anyone to walk. The kids will love this arch because of the bottom of the sandstone which looks like a sandy beach.

My visit to Sand Dune Arch was a delightful surprise, offering a stark contrast to the park’s rugged landscape.

This short 0.3-mile round trip trail leads to a sandy oasis, ideal for families and those looking for a less strenuous hike. The arch, nestled among sandstone fins, creates a secluded spot where the sand underfoot feels almost beach-like.

I remember the coolness of the sand, a welcome respite from the desert heat. The arch itself is impressive, but it’s the playful atmosphere that makes this hike special.

It’s a perfect spot for kids to explore and play hide-and-seek among the rock formations. For parents, it offers a moment of relaxation while the children are entertained.

The trail to Sand Dune Arch is easy and well-marked, making it accessible even for young hikers. On my visit, I noticed families enjoying picnics and the unique opportunity to play in the sand while surrounded by the stunning red rock formations.

This hike is a charming escape from the more crowded areas of the park and a chance to experience a softer side of Arches National Park.

Distance: 0.3 miles round trip

Length of Time: 20 minutes

Info About Arches National Park: The Gateway to Adventure

As you approach Arches National Park, the steep entrance road provides a dramatic introduction to this extraordinary landscape. On my first drive up, the elevation change was both thrilling and a bit intimidating, offering a glimpse of the park’s expansive views.

Best Hikes IN Arches National Park

One key thing to remember, especially during peak season, is the popularity of the park. On several of my visits, I’ve encountered traffic backups at the turn-off from Moab, underscoring the importance of planning ahead and perhaps visiting during off-peak hours if possible.

The entrance fee of $30 per vehicle is valid for seven days, making it a great deal for those planning multiple days of exploration. For avid national park enthusiasts, the $55 Southeast Utah parks pass is an excellent value, providing access not only to Arches but also to nearby Canyonlands National Park and others in the region.

In terms of accommodation, staying in Moab offers the closest and most convenient access to the park. From cozy cabins to luxurious hotels, there’s something for every preference and budget. During my stays, I’ve found that booking accommodations well in advance is crucial, especially during the busy season, to ensure the best selection and rates.

To visit any of the National Parks in the USA, I recommend buying a National Park Pass. The America the Beautiful Pass is valid for one year and costs $80. Plus 10% of sale proceeds go to the National Park Foundation.

Where to stay near Arches National Park

Arches National Park makes for a great weekend escape. Fresh air, beautiful scenery and being in nature does a world of good for the soul. I recommend staying in Moab as it is as close to the park as possible. You can even treat yourself with a cabin with a spa pool to relax at night.

  • There are lots of fantastic Airbnbs in Moab. There are many beautiful places to stay near the park and this allows you to spend most of your time experiencing the park instead of driving to the park.
  • I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. This is one of the best Moab Hotels and it has amazing amenities and is close to everything. I have an entire post on the Best Hotels in Moab, Utah for more options.

If you are taking a road trip remember to reserve a car in advance using Discover Cars .

Which Arches National Park Hike would you choose?

If you are short on time please do check out Landscape Arch, Double Arch and Delicate Arch.  Even doing the 19 mile scenic drive through the park is a great activity.

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Nicole LaBarge

Nicole is a travel expert who has been traveling to the American Southwest since 1992. There is so much to see and do in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. I spend part of the year in Phoenix and travel around the area visiting all the best places and going on the best hikes. Check out my detailed destination guides, the best hiking in each state guides, and the travel gear you need for your next trip.

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