14 Best Hikes in Arches National Park

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

There are plenty of stunning National Parks all over America and Arches National Park is just one of them. In fact, it’s one of the highlights of Utah. Arches National Park offers great landscapes of arches and incredible rock formations. There are tons of short walks, long hikes, and even a couple of canyoneering routes throughout the park that are just waiting to be explored.

Top Arches National Park Hikes

Top Arches National Park Hikes

The drive along through the park is stunning, but why just drive through it when you can get up close and personal with some of the magnificent sandstone fins, famous arches, and steep canyons? The place itself might remind you of Bryce Canyon due to the sandstone and the amazing red-orange colors.

If you have a day or two to explore the park you’ll want to take a look at our list of the 14 best hikes in Arches National Park so you can decide which one needs to be explored first.

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Delicate Arch Trail

Delicate Arch Trail in Arches National Park

Delicate Arch is a spectacle that many visitors want to see when coming to Arches National Park. It’s Utah’s most famous arch and for good reason. Because of that, the trail up to Delicate Arch is usually really busy. If you want to avoid the crowds, we do suggest getting started before 6:30 am. The trail to see Delicate Arch is a 4.8 km roundtrip and climbs 146m.

The trail is a steady uphill climb, but not too strenuous. On your way down it is worth checking out the wall of Ute Indian petroglyphs. The hike to Delicate Arch is all in the sun, so if you do go later in the day make sure to pack lots of water and sun protection. There is parking at the Wolf Ranch Parking Lot, but be aware it fills up quickly.

The path leading to the Lower Delicate Arch viewpoint is wide and is hard-packed making it perfect for those in wheelchairs. From this viewpoint, you’ll be able to see Delicate Arch as well.

  • Trail length: 4.8 km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 146 m
  • Parking: Wolfe Ranch Parking Lot

Landscape Arch Trail

Landscape Arch Trail in Arches National Park

Landscape Arch is impressive. Spanning an impressive 306ft (93.3m) across, it is one of those “must-see” creations of Mother Nature. We would suggest getting there sooner than later as it seems to just be hanging on. A section of the arch did fall in 1991, but the main attraction is still intact.

This is probably one of the easiest hikes you’ll do when you visit Arches National Park. It is mostly flat, with some rolling ups and downs but no real elevation gain. Most people combine this hike with the Devil’s Garden Trail or the Double o Arch trail for a longer hike. The trail path changes to a sandy surface after the Landscape Arch viewpoint.

Landscape Arch is part of the Devils Garden section of Arches National Park. The trail to Landscape Arch passes through tall sandstone fins, a narrow rock wall that eventually forms the Signature Arches before opening up to reveal Landscape Arch. It’s the perfect trail for families and intrepid adventures looking for a relatively easy hike with a spectacular view at the end of it.

  • Trail Length: 3.1 km
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 77m
  • Parking: Devils Garden Parking Lot

Tower Arch Trail

Tower Arch Hike in Arches National Park

Tower Arch is one of the most secluded arches as it is hidden behind the Klondike Bluffs, in Arches National Park. The Tower Arch trail is a great way to escape the crowds and enjoy the tranquility of nature. This is a relatively short hike and it goes through an impressive landscape. On your way to the Tower Arch, you will pass the interesting monument that is called The Marching Men. They are a series of tall, thin towers atop the fin in rows, and have been likened to a row of soldiers standing to attention.

As this is quite a secluded route you will want to bring plenty of water and make sure you are prepared for the hike. The arch itself is large and spans 92-feet and is well worth a little strenuous hike to view it. This is the perfect hike to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beauty of the park without all the crowds.

  • Trail Length: 4.2 km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 183m
  • Parking: Sandy Parking Area

Park Avenue Trail

Park Avene Trail in Arches National Park

There are no arches on the Park Avenue trail however, it showcases some of the weirdest and most wonderful rock formations Arches National Park has to offer. After passing the visitor center and climbing steeply along switchback roads, the first part of the park you’ll see is Park Avenue and the Courthouse Towers.

The Park Avenue trail can be done as an out and back or as a one-way hike from Park Avenue viewpoint to Courthouse Towers viewpoint. If you decide to do the one-way hike you’ll need to arrange transport to drop you off and pick you up. The hike to Park Avenue viewpoint is relatively flat and paved. After this viewpoint, there is a steep descent into a vast canyon. The sheer walls of the canyon often remind visitors of buildings lining a big city street.

The trail continues through the canyon and on to Courthouse Towers. Along this trail, you will get a 360-degree view of La Sal Mountains in the east and distinctive formations like Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, and The Organ.

  • Trail Length: 3.2 km
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 98 m
  • Parking: Park Avenue Parking Area

Primitive Trail

Part of the Devil’s Garden, the Primitive Loop Trail is an alternative loop to or from Double O Arch. The whole loop will take roughly three to four hours and is one of the longest maintained trails in the Arches National Park.

The hike starts at the Devil’s Garden Trailhead. Along this trail, there are several spurs trails that lead off to different arches. The route along the Primitive Loop trail involves narrow ledges, uneven surfaces, and scrambling up the slick rock. This trail is not advised during the winter months due to rain or snowfall making some parts extremely dangerous.

Bring plenty of water along this trail and food to keep your energy levels up. Rock cairns mark the trail to help you find your way. About halfway along the Primitive Trail, you’ll find a spur that leads to Private Arch, the last arch you will see on this trail.

  • Trail Length: 12.8 km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Hard
  • Elevation Gain: Unknown
  • Parking: Devils Garden Parking Lot

Double O Arch Trail

Double O Arch Hike in Arches National Park

Double O Arch is the second largest arch in the Devil’s Garden area. As its name suggests, there are 2 arches here. The first spans 71 ft and is stacked atop a smaller arch, which spans 21 ft. It’s located at the far end of the Primitive loop trail. The two arches in themselves are pretty spectacular. If you’re afraid of heights this might not be the most ideal hike for you, however, if you can put your fears aside the view will be well worth it.

The beginning of the hike is nice and flat and usually really busy. You will come upon a junction about 400m from Devils Garden trailhead, stay to the left, and continue walking. The right-hand fork takes you on a trail down to Pine Trees and Tunnel Arches. Both are worth a visit.

Another 500m down the trail it splits again, continue staying left. After you pass Landscape Arch the trail becomes a bit rough and will involve a little scrambling over the ends of fins. Don’t worry, the trails are well marked with rock cairns. You will pass the Black Arch Lookout, which has amazing views and definitely worth a picture. Carry on for another kilometer where you’ll find Double O Arches on a fairly rough trail. Be careful on the slick rock, especially in wet and icy weather.

  • Trail Length: 6.6 km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 205 m
  • Parking: Devils Garden Parking Lot

Balanced Rock Loop Trail

Blalance Rock Loop Trail Arches National Park

If you are looking for one of the easiest and shortest hikes in Arches National Park then the Balanced Rock Loop Trail is for you. At 128ft (38m) tall it really stands out and is a marvel of nature. It is actually an optical illusion. It is not balanced on the top of the pedestal but attached by mudstone.

Sadly, Balanced Rock won’t always be there. It will probably suffer the same fate as Chip-off-the-old-block did back in the mid-seventies. Erosion is a big issue in Arches National Park and many other arches and formations have suffered because of it. Just one more reason to see this beauty of nature now. Unlike many of the other arches and rock formations in the national park, Balanced Rock can be seen from the park road.

The rock is located 14.8km from the Arches Visitors Center. If you want to experience this picturesque rock formation in all its glory, the best time to visit is at sunset. It’s also the perfect place for stargazing and night photography as there is no light pollution from the city.

  • Trail Length: 0.5 km
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 17 m
  • Parking: Balanced Rock Parking Lot

Ribbon Arch Trail

North Window arch on Ribbon Trail Arches National Park

IF you are looking for a backcountry hike that avoids the crowds and has some epic views then the Ribbon Arch Trail should be on your list. There is no established trail for this hike but you can access it from the Windows Section by following the Primitive Trail. The hike should then take you behind North Window Arch. En route to Ribbon Arch, you will come across some beautiful views of the Christmas Tree Arch as well as a few other less spectacular arches, which at present remain unnamed.

This hike requires scrambling up and over some rocky shelves and boulders. You’ll also cross several canyons before coming to Ribbon Arch. Parking shouldn’t be an issue as not a lot of people know about Ribbon Arch as it’s not on the map the Park Service hand out.

  • Trail Length: 3.2km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 120m
  • Parking: Windows Section

Devils Garden Trail

Devils Garden Trail Arches National Park

Devils Garden is one of the longest and most challenging hiking trails in Arches National Park. The start of the trail is relatively easy and it will take you through some of the more popular Arches in the park, like Landscape Arch, Dark Angel, Pine Tree, and Tunnel Arch. After that though it gets more remote and difficult. You will have to follow the cairns that mark the trail.

One thing you can be guaranteed of with this hike is that you will be seeing arches and formations that are unnamed and not seen by a whole ton of visitors. Just be aware that there are some steep dropoffs at different sections of the trail so proceed with caution.

The Devil’s Garden Trailhead is located at the end of the park road, about 18 miles north of the Arches Visitor Center. It basically starts at the Devils Garden Campground is available via reservation from March through to October.

Like most trails in the park, parking can be busy and is limited so you’re best to arrive early. Devils Garden is one of the premier locations in the park.

  • Trail Length: 12.7km
  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 331m
  • Parking: Devils Garden Trail Head

Moab Canyon Pathway

Moab Canyon Pathway Arches National Park

The Moab Canyon Pathway is different than many of the hikes in Arches National Park. The Pathway actually follows the Old Highway 91, which they have converted into an off-road trail that is paved. It runs along the southern border of Arches National Park and connects Moab to two national parks and one state park. The pathway isn’t just a favorite among hikers but with bikers, joggers, and runners too.

The pathway snakes through 2 miles of the red rock canyon to the entrance of Arches National Park, where you can enter and explore the many wonders the park has to offer. If you’re not feeling like entering the park you can continue on the trail as it parallels Highway 191 to the trail’s end at Highway 313. As you approach the north end of the pathway, you’ll pass the Gemini Bridges Trailhead. This trailhead sits at the beginning of a 16-mile roundtrip mountain biking and ATV trail.

  • Trail Length: 14.2km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 266m
  • Parking: Lions Park

Elephant Butte

For this trail, you will need rock climbing equipment and knowledge. You will also need a canyoneering permit which can be purchased at the visitor center. Elephant Butte is the highest point in Arches National Park. The route winds through a maze of entrada fins and requires good route-finding abilities. It offers a great outing for canyoners with climbing and rappelling experience.

The trailhead for this route is located inside Arches National Park and can be hiked in all weather conditions. Just make sure you’re confident in your abilities and have the correct equipment for this route.

  • Trail Length: 2.6km
  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Elevation Gain: 182m
  • Parking:

Fiery Furnace and Surprise Arch Trail

Fiery Furnace Trail in Arches National Park

There are only two ways to enter Fiery Furnace – one is with a ranger and the other is with a day-use permit. The reason for this is because the terrain can be challenging. To enjoy this hike best it’s advised to book a ranger tour. This is for your own safety and reduces impacts on the area. Although the route is marked you could still get lost on your own.

The Fiery Furnace is a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons that requires agility to explore. Be prepared for extreme temperatures.  During this physically demanding hike, you will climb on broken sandstone, walk along narrow ledges above drop-offs, and in loose sand. You may also need to squeeze through narrow places and jump over small gaps. Due to the challenging nature of the hike, you must be able to complete the hike once you start, you must wear good hiking boots, and no children under the age of 5 are allowed on the hike.

  • Trail Length: 2.7km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 118m
  • Parking:

Dark Angel

The Dark Angel trail starts at Devils Garden parking area. It’s a 150-foot sandstone tower that sits a half-mile to the northwest of Double O Arch. It’s a unique formation – a great obelisk surrounded by fins, arches, and canyons. Dark Angel is located at the north end of the Arches Entrance Road. It’s a spur trail off the Primitive Loop and a sign marks the junction. You can either retrace your steps or continue on to the primitive trail.

  • Trail Length: 7.6km
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 220m
  • Parking: Devils Garden Parking Area

Windows Arch and Turret Arch Trail

Windows Arch Trail in Arches National Park

The Windows Section is considered the “epicenter” of Arches National Park. There are so many arches here it can be overwhelming. with so many arches concentrated in one spot, it is easy to see why this is one of the most iconic places in the park. A gentle climb up a gravel path leads to North and South Windows and Turret Arch. You can either take a short route and walk back the way you came or take the Primitive Loop from the South Window viewpoint.

The best time to visit is early morning or late afternoon as you will avoid the crowds and the heat of the sun. There are some stairs along this trail. Turret Arch is a beautiful free-standing arch and offers a great hike for the whole family. If you are into stargazing and photography this is a beautiful location for it.

  • Trail Length: 1.9km
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 47m
  • Parking: Windows Parking Lot

Frequently Asked Questions

Best hikes in Arches National Park

What is the best hike in Arches National Park?

All the hikes in Arches National Park are worth a visit but if you only have a limited amount of time you might want to start with Delicate Arch. However, everyone who hikes Arches National Park will tell you their opinion of the best hikes. But you’ll need to visit Arches National Park yourself to decide which one is your favorite.

How long do you need to hike Arches National Park?

The length of time you spend in the Arches National Park will depend on the trail you are looking to hike. Some trails will only take you half an hour whereas other may take up to 5 hours to hike. It’s advised that you should spend at least a day in the national park if you want to explore and experience some of the natural and awe-inspiring wonders this place has to offer.

Is the hike to Arches hard?

The Arches National Park contains several hikes. All of which vary in difficulty. All the trails provide outstanding views and several arches that are not visible from the road. Depending on the hike you take will depend on how challenging and hard the hike is.

What do I need to hike in Arches National Park?

If you are looking to hike in Arches National Park you’ll want to make sure you are prepared for every eventuality. You’ll want to make sure you are wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and hiking boots to make sure that you are comfortable when exploring the trails. Some other key items to take with you in a backpack are:

  • Sun protection
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Additional clothing in case you need to layer up
  • Bug and bear spray
  • First aid kit
  • Quick-drying towel
  • A head torch
  • Food (Energy gels and bars, electrolyte tablets, snacks)
  • Plenty of water
  • Binoculars
  • Hand sanitizer

This list is not extensive and there are plenty more items you could bring along with you. It just depends on the length of the hike as to what else you might need.

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About ThePlanetD Team

Guest writers for The Planet D offer insider tips and information on destinations that they are experts in. We can't be everywhere at once, and it is important to have the highest level of travel information from local writers and experienced travelers.

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