With over 2,000 natural arches and more beautiful blue sky and orange rock formations that one can imagine, it’s no wonder that Arches National Park is a must go-to stop when exploring southern Utah. During your tour of south Utah carve out a day or half day to visit and explore Arches National Park.
With only a half-day planned to explore the park, we were able to see everything we wanted and get some of the most stunning photos of our entire trip.
Arriving to the park just after lunch, we breezed through the welcome gate, traffic-free. From what I’ve read this line can get long and discouraging. Check out this cool live webcam at the park entrance to get a better idea of traffic conditions before you head to the park. In mid-August, we spent about 4-5 hours exploring the park which was about all we could stomach given the extremely high temperature. Be sure to stay hydrated in the summer. It’s so warm that the sweat evaporates off your skin before you even know you’re sweating. It can be deceiving just how dehydrated you are getting.
Arches National Park is extremely easy to navigate and is done best by automobile. It’a essentially a one street in, one street out situation and is best suited for driving through, jumping out of the car for short hikes and site seeing along the way, then back in the shade and A/C. This helps braving the 100+ degree summer temperatures and helps keep everyone’s spirits high throughout the day.
VISITING THE SITES – ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Check out this park map to help better plan your day. During high season it can be challenging to find parking at each of the stop, just be patient – people are coming and going constantly and you can snag a parking spot to explore.
Defying gravity, this giant rock seems to balance effortlessly on the rock below. Best see this site sooner rather than later. After all, who knows how long this balancing game with continue?!? We spent about 20 minutes viewing it’s defiance.
Park in the lot between Double Arch and the Windows and walk between the two. This double arch was one my favorites due to it’s breathtaking presence. I’d seen them before in photographs, but nothing does these massive formations justice like seeing them with the naked eye! We spent the most amount of time in awe of this particular arch, walking up the steep rocks and taking beautiful photographs. This was probably the most crowded of the arches as well.
The Windows (North & South)
Just across the street from Double Arch are the North & South Windows Arches. These are just so fun to explore with lots of room to climb and see them from several different angles and vantage points. These were also very crowded and LOTS of Instagrammers.
Delicate Arch Viewpoint
From this lookout viewpoint area you can see the Delicate Arch about 1.5 miles in the distance. You can hike from here to the arch for the 3 mile round trip hike, about a 2-3 hour excursion. It was simply too hot for us and we did not prepare with enough water, so just a quick look-see and off we went.
Sand Dune Arch
This actually turned out to be my favorite area of the park that we visited and also our turn around point. This may not have been the biggest arch but it was the most fun to explore. The crowds were less, there was a ton of sand and the slots and landscape were a kids playground! If you have time, don’t skip this underrated adventure.
After leaving Arches National Park, we heading to check in at Under Canvas Moab where we had an amazing view of the Arches from afar. Check out my blog post on Glamping Under the Stars, Moab to see out amazing experience.
Make your trip more comfortable with these couple key things:
- COVID friendly mask
- Chill Pal – keep this wet cool towel around your neck to keep you cool in high temperatures.
- Lip protection – I can’t tell you how many burned lips we had in our group!
- Hat – they just make all the difference even if you hate hats.
Planning a trip around south Utah? Check out my 10 Tips When Hiking The Narrows, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon!