Best things to do at Arches National Park, Utah
Arches National Park is perfect for people who like to climb around and live dangerously. There are plenty of opportunities to hike and explore off the beaten path, in fact, you will often find yourself away from the trail on accident and a little lost. Everything at Arches is much bigger and more impressively beautiful than it appears in pictures. Coming from Salt Lake City airport, I walked past hundreds of hanging wall photographs of all the cool places in Utah, many of which were of Arches National Park. I thought I knew what I would see when I arrived at Arches the next day, but none of those photographs came even close to giving it justice. After spending all day and night hiking 20 miles through the national park, I compiled a list of things that you definitely won’t want to miss during visit.
So here are five things you can’t miss when you visit Arches National Park.
1. Landscape Arch
I had seen this arch on google images a few times before while I was planning my trip and thought I may as well see it, though it didn’t seem overly spectacular. On google images, the arch seems rather small and boring. There are also never any people in the photographs to give it any perspective. So when I arrived, I was shockingly surprised to find that this arch is about the size of an NFL football field, and the biggest natural arch on the planet! What makes this sight rather sad is that because it is so large and made of a sandstone-type rock *citation needed, it probably won’t exist for many more years. Your time to see it may be running out… Because of this, you are not allowed to go near it, but I decided to bend the rules a little bit, set up my tripod, and run up there early in the morning when nobody was around so I could give you some perspective. See if you can find me in the photo…
2. Sand Dune Arch
Sand Dune arch is cool because it’s different. It’s inside this island of rocks, and like the name implies, all of the ground on the inside is wind-swept sand. It looks super cool, and it’s a fun little world to explore.
3. Double Arch
This one is awesome. Massive arch, very fun to hang out or climb around inside this thing. That’s me standing underneath to give some perspective.
4. Delicate Arch
The Delicate Arch is probably the coolest thing at Arches National Park. It is not necessarily the coolest or most spectacular arch (maybe top 3) but it’s the trail leading there that made this the coolest part of my trip. The Trail is about 3 miles round-trip, mostly uphill across sandstone. It isn’t an easy trail, and there are some sections that would not be good for those afraid of heights. There are some cool cliff-edged drop-offs, and one you finally get to the delicate arch, it is surrounded by massive beautiful cliff edges. The greatest thing about this spot is perhaps staying past sunset, and watching the stars come out at night. Make sure to bring a headlamp though. I had one, and would have been stranded, lost or fallen off a cliff without it on my super dark decent. (I stayed into the night to take some pictures of the stars, me and two other people were the last ones there at night).
5. Everything else
Arches National Park FAQ
Where can you buy food / How much is food at Arches National Park?
There is no food in the park, literally they don’t sell anything. It is a bare-bones park. Only roads, parking spaces, lightly marked trails, and the open wilderness. I thought this style was really cool, a lot different than other national parks. So all I had to eat during all the climbing and hiking throughout the day was my two bags of Gardettos. Suffice to say, when I got back to Salt Lake City at 3 am, I mashed about 10 dollars worth of Taco Bell…
Can you drink the water at Arches National Park?
Yeah they have water faucets / bubblers at most of the parking lot areas. You can drink the water. The dry desert air dries you out pretty good, so make sure to drink a bunch.
How to navigate Arches National Park?
It’s easy, there is like one main road, and three or four tributary roads. There are free maps at the front gate and they are easy to understand. They also have all the trails and viewpoints / arches listed.
What’s the temperature / weather like at Arches National Park during October or November / Fall?
I went November 3rd and it was absolutely perfect. Beautiful, clear, blue skies, a little wind, about 65 degrees, about 50 or 40 degrees at night. I got hot in a T-shirt and shorts during the day, and cold at night.
What’s the closest city to Arches National Park?
Moab Utah is right near by. Salt Lake City is four hours away.
Where can you sleep at Arches National Park?
I don’t know, I slept in my car in the parking lot. There are camping spots that I think you have to reserve in advance or the city of Moab a few miles away to get a hotel or something. You can use my airbnb code to get $35 off airbnb, though I didn’t check to see if there were any in Moab…
Arches Packing List