With some careful planning, it’s possible to see the best of Arches National Park in one day! But with so many unique arches to see, where do you even begin?! With such a diverse assortment of arches in every shape and size, exploring Arches feels somewhat like embarking on a treasure hunt. To help you plan your perfect day in the park, we’ve compiled the ideal one-day Arches National Park itinerary!
ARCHES NATIONAL PARK IN ONE DAY
As far as Utah National Parks go, Arches National Park is fairly small. With many short hikes and walks to viewpoints, you can see a solid portion of Arches National Park in one day.
In this article, we’ve compiled the perfect one day Arches National Park itinerary, complete with a detailed map highlighting the route and all the details you need to know to plan your visit.
In this Arches National Park itinerary, we recommend a total of 6 hikes, each with optional add-ons. While this may sound like a lot of hiking, don’t be discouraged even if you aren’t a hiker!
Most of the hikes are very easy and short (as short as 0.3 miles), making this one day Arches itinerary quite manageable for most visitors.
OTHER UTAH RESOURCES
Looking for more to do in Utah? We’ve explored the state high and low, and have tons of useful guides to help you plan an epic trip!
ABOUT ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Did you know that there are over 2,000 natural arches in Arches National Park?! Home to sandstone arches of every shape and size, the park is aptly, if un-creatively, named!
Of those 2,000 arches, easily the most famous is Delicate Arch, the largest free-standing arch in the park at 46 feet tall. If you’ve ever visited Utah, you’ve likely seen at least a picture of Delicate Arch as it is plastered everywhere, including on Utah license plates.
However, there are more than just arches in the park, as it is filled with all sorts of weird geological formations juxtaposed against a background of snowy mountain peaks – a truly picturesque sight!
Remember to Leave No Trace. Pack out what you pack in, stay on trail, be well-prepared, leave nothing behind, take only photos and memories with you, treat the area with respect and help preserve this beautiful spot for generations to come.
ENTRANCE TICKETS AND FEES
In 2021, Arches National Park broke it’s all-time visitation record, drawing long lines of cars waiting to get in and even shutting down the entrances and turning away visitors due to exceeded capacity.
As a result, starting in 2022, Arches implemented a timed entrance ticket system during peak season, hoping to alleviate the overcrowding, protect the park’s precious resources, and give visitors a better experience.
This means you will need a reservation to enter the park from April through October.
The majority of reservations are released 3 months in advance, and a small number of additional reservations are released the day before. Reservations sell out in advance so it is highly recommended that you plan to snag a ticket as soon as they are released 3 months ahead.
- Visit the NPS website for more details and to book your reservations.
HOW MANY DAYS IN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK?
One day in Arches National Park is enough to see the area’s highlights. If you want to really take your time and enjoy multiple sunrises and sunsets in the area, two days would be nice.
TWO DAYS IN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
With an additional day in the park, we’d recommend hiking the full Devil’s Garden and Primitive Trail, an 8-mile loop that brings you away from the crowds and shows off many impressive arches.
Alternatively, for a bit of adventure, you could spend an extra day exploring the Fiery Furnace, a unique assortment of narrow passages with no clear trail. To access the Fiery Furnace, you will need to join a ranger-led tour or obtain a self-guided permit.
HALF DAY IN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
If you have less than a full day in Arches National Park, you cannot miss the Delicate Arch hike, ideally at either sunrise or sunset. We’d also recommend visiting the Window Arches and Double Arch, located in the same parking lot and easily accessible with short walks.
one day in arches national park itinerary details
To see Arches National Park in one day, here’s how we would recommend spending your time:
- Sunrise at Delicate Arch
- Hike to Landscape Arch on Devil’s Garden Trail
- Stop by Skyline Arch
- Hike to Sand Dune Arch
- Optional Add-on: Broken Arch Loop & Tapestry Arch
- Explore the Window Arch and Turret Arch
- Visit Double O Arch
- Return to Moab for dinner
ONE DAY IN ARCHES NATIONAL PARK MAP
The map below displays the locations of each of the best things to do with one day in Arches National Park, along with our suggested route through the park.
- To view more details about each location, click on the marker on the map.
- To save this map for future use, click the star next to the title. From your phone, open the Google Maps app and click the “saved” tab, followed by the “Maps” icon. From your Gmail account, navigate to Maps –> “Saved” –> “My Maps” –> “Maps” tab.
- To email this map to yourself, click the three dots in the upper right corner.
SUNRISE AT DELICATE ARCH
Start your day in Arches National Park with an amazing sunrise hike to Delicate Arch, the most iconic and famous arch in the park, if not all of Utah!
You’ve almost surely seen photos of the massive arch, standing ever so precariously atop an orange rock plateau. In fact, Delicate Arch is even featured on the Utah license plate and several “Welcome to Utah” highway signs.
The tip of the free-standing arch is so narrow it appears a strong wind gust could easily knock it over!
Visiting Delicate Arch up close requires a 3.2 mile round trip hike. As you can imagine, this is a very popular hike so come prepared to circle the parking lot looking for a spot and to wait in line for a photo up close with the arch.
If you think you’ll beat the crowds by getting up early and hiking to Delicate Arch for sunrise, think again! Especially on weekends, there is almost always a wall of hikers lined up waiting to watch the sunrise over Delicate Arch.
But don’t let the crowds deter you! Seeing this magnificent arch with your own eyes is an incredible experience, as long as you go into the hike with the right expectations.
ALTERNATIVE: DELICATE ARCH VIEWPOINT
If a 3-mile hike in the dark doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can also catch the sunrise from the Delicate Arch viewpoint, which requires just a short walk.
The Delicate Arch viewpoint gives you a more distant view of the backside of Delicate Arch, so you won’t get up close and personal. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful spot the watch the sunrise over the famous arch.
LANDSCAPE ARCH AND DEVIL’S GARDEN TRAIL
After sunrise at Delicate Arch, continue along the Arches Scenic Drive to the far end of Arches National Park and park at the Devil’s Garden Trailhead. Along the way, you’ll pass by several other arches and trailheads which you will stop at on the way back.
We recommend heading straight to Devil’s Garden because it’s a very popular spot and the parking lot tends to fill up quickly. It’ll still be quite early after your sunrise hike, so it’s best to head straight there.
The Devil’s Garden Trail is an 8-mile loop that features many arches and is the longest hike in the park. If you are visiting Arches National Park in one day, we wouldn’t recommend hiking the full loop unless you are an avid hiker.
Instead, hike out and back to Landscape Arch for a roughly 2-mile hike to one of the best arches on the Devil’s Garden Trail. Landscape Arch is a very long, thin sliver of an arch that will leave you wondering how such a fragile formation can withstand the desert elements!
To extend the hike by about half a mile, you can also tack on the short detour to Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. For an even longer hike, continue past Landscape Arch to Double O Arch, totaling 4-miles out and back.
STOP BY SKYLINE ARCH
After exploring Devil’s Garden Trail as far as you please, get back in the car and continue on Arches National Park Drive heading towards the park entrance. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty left to see before your one day in Arches National Park comes to a close!
The first stop along the way is a brief detour to Skyline Arch. From the parking area, it’s less than a quarter-mile walk to the viewpoint for Skyline Arch. This short, easy stroll is worth a quick stop.
HIKE TO SAND DUNE ARCH
Next make your way to the trailhead for Sand Dune Arch, another quick, easy hike to a popular arch. Sand Dune Arch is nestled between two massive sandstone walls and gets its name from the thick layer of thick sand beneath it.
The arch has become somewhat “Insta-famous” in recent years, and if you’ve spent any time scrolling social media, you’ve likely seen a shot of it.
OPTIONAL ADD-ON: BROKEN ARCH AND TAPESTRY ARCH LOOP
From Sand Dune Arch, it’s possible to continue your hike to see two more lesser-visited arches: Broken Arch and Tapestry Arch. If you aren’t hiked-out by this point, these arches are certainly worth the extra effort to escape the heavy crowds at the easier to access arches, like Sand Dune Arch.
Visiting Broken Arch out and back from Sand Dune Arch adds about 1-mile round trip. The full loop with a detour to Tapestry Arch will set you back an additional 2.3 miles.
WINDOW ARCH AND TURRET ARCH LOOP
Next up on this Arches National Park itinerary is one of the park’s most photographed assortment of arches. North Window Arch and South Window Arch, collectively referred to as the “Window Arches” can be seen from the parking lot and are easily accessible via a short 1.2 mile loop.
From the loop, a quick detour brings you to Turret Arch. Climb up through Turret Arch for a magnificent view looking through the arch to the Window Arches.
VISIT DOUBLE ARCH
The trailhead for Double O Arch is located just across the parking lot from the Window Arch trailhead, so you don’t even need to get back in the car. Double Arch is another incredibly photogenic arch, or rather, set of two massive arches carved out of the towering sandstone cliff.
Similar to the Window Arches, Double Arch can be seen from the parking lot, but to walk underneath it involves an easy 0.6-mile round trip hike.
RETURN TO MOAB
After a busy day exploring Arches National Park, head back to Moab for the evening to grab dinner and a beer! Some of our favorite spots in Moab include Singha Thai Cuisine for takeout, Moab Brewery for a cold beer, and Spitfire Smokehouse & Tap for delicious barbeque.
One Day in Arches National Park with a guided tour
If you’d rather leave the logistics to someone else, you may enjoy joining a guided tour of Arches National Park. Below are a few great options for guided one day tours of Arches National Park.
WHERE TO STAY NEAR ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
The most convenient place to stay for this one day in Arches National Park itinerary is in the nearby town of Moab. Moab is a bustling small town with many lodging options, restaurants and other things to do.
BUDGET | Moab Rustic Inn is a budget friendly option conveniently located in the heart of Moab.
MID-RANGE | The Wingate by Wyndham Moab is clean and convenient with mid-range priced rooms located in Moab.
GLAMPING | Moab Under Canvas is a unique upscale glamping resort with stunning desert views.
CAMPING NEAR ARCHES
If you are looking to camp before or after spending one day in Arches National Park, Devils Garden Campground is the only campground in the park and fills up well in advance.
There are also many great dispersed camping options around Moab, several campgrounds in Canyonlands National Park, and one campground in Dead Horse Point State Park.
If you are planning to stay at any campground near Moab, make sure to plan well in advance because these campgrounds book up quickly.
TIPS FOR A GREAT VISIT
- Start your day early. Even if you aren’t up for a sunrise hike, it’s best to get an early start. Despite the new reservation system, parking is quite limited and you’ll spend more time circling the parking lot looking for a spot in the afternoon.
- Plan in advance and be prepared to make an entry reservation 3 months out. Hotels and campsites also fill up quickly so it’s best to book well in advance.
- Don’t miss out on Canyonlands! Arches is certainly the most popular national park near Moab, but its neighbor, Canyonlands, is definitely worth a visit. Our favorite hike in Canyonlands National Park is Druid Arch in the Needles District.
- Spring (March through May) and Fall (September through November) are the best times to visit Arches National Park for mild weather conditions. Summers in Arches are extremely hot and winter brings snow and sometimes icy conditions.
- Pack lots of extra water and sun protection, especially if visiting during the summer months. It gets hot in Arches, and shade is minimal!
Other Utah Resources
Looking for more to do in Utah near Arches National Park? You may also be interested in the resources below!
- 51 Incredible Things to do in Southern Utah
- How to Plan an Epic Utah National Parks Road Trip
- 18 Best Hikes in Southern Utah
- How to Spend One Day in Zion National Park: 3 Awesome Ideas
- The Ultimate Arizona to Utah Road Trip
- 16 Best Things to do near Kanab, Utah
Questions about how to see the best of Arches National Park in one day?! We want to hear from you! Drop us a comment below and we’ll be happy to help.